Five longevity companies to watch in 2023… and Altos

With Christmas Day behind us, it’s the time of year when thoughts make a bend towards the future. And for the longevity space, 2023 is set to be a very exciting year – 2022 certainly kept Longevity.Technology busy news-wise and we suspect the coming year will turn it up to 11.

Longevity.Technology: We spend a significant amount of time analysing the longevity market and the companies therein; to assist us in the mammoth task (there are over 560 longevity companies in our database, and the number is climbing!), we have categorised these companies by domain, and we have 25 domains of longevity.

Here, in no particular order, are five companies (plus Altos, natch) that we expect to be making headlines in 2023; we’ve categorised these by longevity domain for your reading pleasure.

Retro Biosciences

Domain: Young Blood, Reprogramming, Rejuvenation

Retro is a developer of cellular reprogramming, autophagy and plasma-inspired therapeutics which it intends to increase healthy human lifespan by 10 years. The company focuses on the research and development of antiaging therapeutics using cell transcriptomics which targets multiple mechanisms of aging, enabling patients to prevent age-related diseases, and thereby enhancing their life span.

Financing

06-Apr-2022 – $180.00 million

Retro raised $180 million of venture funding from undisclosed investors on 6 April of this year; the funds will be used to take the company through the first proof-of-concept and secure operation over the next 10 years.

What else do I need to know?

Retro is focused on multiple cellular drivers of aging and will have three programmes: cellular reprogramming, autophagy and plasma-inspired therapeutics.

“By focusing on the cellular driver of aging, Retro will produce therapeutics eventually capable of multi-disease prevention,” the company tweeted in April [1]

In its announcement, Retro stated: “We have a molecule in our autophagy program that will enter the clinic in the next year. In our plasma program, we’re characterizing and optimizing plasma interventions in both preclinical and clinical settings, with the first development candidate expected in two years.

“Our cellular reprogramming effort is closest to fundamental research and farthest upstream in the mechanisms of aging. We will work towards a clinical proof-of-concept over the next four years. To support these three programs, we are investing heavily in single-cell multi-omics, machine-learning-based computational biology, and lab automation [2].”


Turn Biotechnologies

Domain: Reprogramming

Developer of longevity drugs designed to reverse aging and age-related diseases, Turn Bio uses mRNA medicines induce the body to heal itself by instructing specific cells to fight disease or repair damaged tissue; these platforms will help doctors to reprogram cells and combat disease, hopefully curing as-yet-untreatable age-related conditions.

Financing

11-Apr-2022 – $2.50 million

These funds will be used to accelerate Turn Bio’s preclinical advances in multiple therapeutic areas.

What else do I need to know?

Turn Bio has released preliminary data that show its therapies rejuvenate skin cells more effectively and safely than existing treatments. The company’s ERA (Epigenetic Reprogramming of Aging) treatment reversed the hallmarks of aging in human skin – something never before achieved.


Gameto

Domain: Reproductive Longevity

Biotech Gameto is intending to solve diseases of the female reproductive system. The company’s platform uses proprietary combinations of transcription factors to generate engineered ovarian cell lines that mimic the functions of endogenous cells, producing and responding to all hormones, enabling women to solve the problem of accelerated ovarian aging.

Financing

07-Sep-2022 – $36.56 million

Gameto raised $36.56 million of Series A venture funding in a deal led by Future Ventures on 7 September 7 2022. Prime Access and 20 other investors also participated in the round.

What else do I need to know?

In October, Inception and Gameto launched a study to validate its biologic Fertilo for improvement of IVF and egg freezing. Fertilo can mature and improve the quality of immature oocytes outside the body and increase the number of mature oocytes for IVF/egg freezing while facilitating a lower hormonal burden and/or duration of the process.

Also in Gameto’s future plans are Deovo, an organoid of the female reproductive system, and Ameno, a cell-based therapeutic that will ameliorate the health consequences of primary ovarian insufficiency and menopause.

The new financing brings the total capital raised since inception to $40 million.
Dr Dina Radenkovic

Dina Radenkovic, Cofounder & CEO of Gameto, has been included in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Class of 2023.


Neurotrack

Domain: Neurotech

Developer of digital health tools and technology designed to help people to build, change and track healthy behaviours, Neurotrack‘s platform offers cognitive health programs to assess, preserve and strengthen memory health. Its platform enables businesses, researchers and health organisations to manage brain health, reducing the risk of cognitive decline in the future.

Financing

11-Mar-2022 – $10.00 million

Neurotrack raised $10 million of Series D & D-1 venture funding from Hayes Drumwright on 11 March 2022, putting the company’s pre-money valuation at $12 million. The funds will be used to accelerate its push to market for its cognitive testing products.

What else do I need to know?

Last month, Neurotrack launched a three-minute digital assessment tool to screen for cognitive impairment, an early indicator of neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s. This time-efficient tool can be used during a primary care annual wellness visit or independently by patients, who can then share results with their providers.


Viome Life Sciences

Domain: Longevity Diagnostics

Biotech and healthcare company Viome intends to prevent and reverse chronic diseases. The company digitises the human body and its microbiomes on a molecular level using at-home clinical-grade tests, analysed through proprietary RNA sequencing technology. By decoding precise health insights and biomarkers of various chronic diseases using AI and systems biology expertise, Viome enables healthcare providers to give personalised nutrition recommendations and precision supplements to their patients.

Financing

11-Oct-2022 – $67.00 million

Viome raised $67.00 million through a combination of Series C and Series C1 venture funding from Physician Partners, Ezaki Glico Company and Bulletproof Media on 11 October 2022, putting the company’s pre-money valuation at $272 million.

Nomad Capital Partners, Eastward Capital Partners, Ocgrow Ventures and six other investors also participated in the round and Viome will use the funds to accelerate the development of its mRNA platform for prevention, diagnosis and therapeutics for chronic disorders, cancers and aging. A part of the funding was raised in the form of convertible note which was subsequently converted into equity.

What else do I need to know?

Viome received FDA Breakthrough Device Designation last year for its mRNA analysis tech and AI platform that aims to detect early signs of oral and throat cancers. The early diagnostic tool can detect not just stage 1, but early biomarkers associated with oral and throat cancer with 95% specificity and 90% sensitivity.


Altos Labs

Domain: Reprogramming, Rejuvenation

Altos is on a mission to restore cell health and resilience with the goal of reversing disease, injury and disabilities. The company focuses on cellular rejuvenation programming to create a completely new approach to medicine, one based on the emerging concepts of cellular health.

Financing

20-Jan-2022 – $3.00 billion

The company raised $3 billion of venture funding from Foresite Capital Management, ARCH Venture Partners, General Catalyst, and other undisclosed investors on January 20, 2022. Altitude Life Science Ventures also participated in this round.

What else do I need to know?

The elephant in the longevity room, Altos has two US bases – the Bay Area and San Diego – and one in Cambridge in the UK and FOUR Nobel laureates (2018 Chemistry winner Frances Arnold, 1975 Medicine winner David Baltimore, 2020 Chemistry winner Jennifer Doudna and 2012 Medicine winner Shinya Yamanaka). Funders are rumoured to include Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner.

Although it has seemed to want to distance itself from longevity per se, (company president said Altos was working on increasing human healthspan, and that lifespan extension would only be “an accidental consequence [3]”, we would disagree, as using cellular rejuvenation programming to restore cell health and resilience sits firmly under the longevity umbrella.

Unusually for a biotech, Altos has said its initial focus will be on basic research, rather than work that might fairly quickly produce commercially viable products [4].

[1] https://twitter.com/RetroBio_/status/1511482432574222339
[2] https://retro.bio/announcement/
[3] https://www.ft.com/content/f3bceaf2-0d2f-4ec7-b767-693bf01f9630
[4] https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/a-3bn-bet-on-finding-the-fountain-of-youth/21807244