Fountain’s $15m to “restore youthful resilience to cells”

Longevity funding: Eli Lilly and R42 Group join the party as Khosla-backed biopharma brings total Series A financing to $26 million.

Longevity biopharma Fountain Therapeutics has secured a $15 million Series A-2 funding round, bringing its total Series A funding to $26 million. The company, which is building a pipeline of disease-modifying therapeutics for chronic degenerative diseases, welcomes new investors Eli Lilly, Alexandria Venture Investments and Ronjon Nag’s R42 Group, joining existing investors Khosla Ventures and Nan Fung Life Sciences.

Longevity.Technology: The science behind Fountain originates from the labs of Stanford professor Thomas Rando – an iconic name in the aging research field. While the company is still playing its cards close to its chest, this significant new funding injection is an indication that positive progress is being made. It’s safe to say we’re watching Fountain’s developments closely.

“Fountain is an example of a biotech company emerging as a direct result of basic research, in this case the biology of aging,” said Dr Rando, founder and chairman of Fountain. “The company’s screening and discovery platform is built upon foundational research showing that the age of a cell can be modulated by factors in the cell’s environment. By identifying compounds that work through these pathways, we seek to restore youthful resilience to cells and tissues, leading to therapies that treat or even prevent chronic diseases of aging.”

New insights generated

Proceeds from the financing will be used to expand Fountain’s cell-based AI-driven technology platform, which is designed to enable precise mapping of cellular biologic age, a marker of resilience and health. The platform enables extraction of cellular features that provide extensive insight into the aging process of cells, which may lead to identification of novel targets and disease biomarkers.

Dr William Greene, who took on the role of CEO at Fountain earlier this year, told us “Fountain is focused on exploring the potential of its AI platform that uses imaging data and machine learning in pre-clinical studies to accurately screen and discover potential therapeutic targets. We have already generated new insights into known targets and potential new disease biology. We will have more updates on this in the future.”

“The scientific framework for our drug discovery technology is based on research showing that the age of a cell can be modulated by factors in the cell’s environment. Therefore, Fountain is exploring a range of potential indications in chronic degenerative diseases with high unmet medical need.”

Hard at work in Fountain’s San Francisco lab.

Funding to drive expansion

So how far will this new funding take Fountain, and when can we expect to see the company moving towards clinical trials?

“The funding will be used to support Fountain in its next stage of growth,” Greene tells us. “This includes expansion of our team, continued R&D activities and pre-clinical research. It is too soon to predict when a compound may enter the clinic, but our goal in the next two to three years is to discover potential therapeutics for several chronic degenerative diseases. We are also exploring opportunities to potentially partner with other companies to develop additional promising candidates.”

Greene tells us that he is encouraged by the support Fountain has received from both its existing and new investors, including Eli Lilly, which runs the Gateway Lab space in South San Francisco where Fountain is based.

“The investment from these distinguished institutions supports our mission to increase human health span and provides additional validation for our drug discovery platform,” he says.

“We are excited about Fountain’s AI driven approach to drug discovery and are confident in the team’s ability to build its platform and pipeline,” said Alex Morgan, partner at Khosla Ventures. “Fountain has an opportunity to address several large chronic degenerative diseases associated with aging for multiple indications with high unmet medical need.”

Image courtesy of Dr Thomas Rando