Hevolution announces $20 million impact investment to advance promising aging therapies

Foundation leads a $50 million Series A Extension in Aeovian Pharmaceuticals to advance therapies that target mTORC1 biological pathway.

Hevolution Foundation today announced an investment of $20 million as the lead investor for a $50 million Series A financing extension in Aeovian Pharmaceuticals.

Hevolution‘s first life science impact investment is set to help Berkeley, CA-based Aeovian Pharmaceuticals advance its innovative platform of selective mTORC1 inhibitors, and hopefully foster several promising therapies for diseases of aging. This investment – the leading contribution in a $50 million Series A financing extension for Aeovian – has the potential to address major unmet medical needs including tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) refractory epilepsy, neurological diseases and prevalent diseases of aging.

Longevity.Technology: mTORC1 inhibitors, or mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 inhibitors, represent a promising avenue in geroscience for promoting longevity and extending healthspan. This class of compounds targets the mTORC1 signaling pathway, which plays a central role in cellular growth, metabolism, and aging. By inhibiting mTORC1 activity, these compounds modulate cellular processes, ultimately exerting beneficial effects on aging-related pathways. Research suggests that mTOR is linked to myriad biological processes related to aging, including nutrient sensing, maintenance of proteostasis, autophagy, mitochondrial dysfunction, cellular senescence and decline in stem cell function [1]. mTORC1 inhibition can confer neuroprotection [2], and neurodegeneration is an area of high unmet need globally.

The new financing will support the completion of a Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy volunteers and prepare for the start of a subsequent Phase 2 clinical trial in adult and pediatric patients with TSC refractory epilepsy.

“TSC is a genetic disorder of mTORC1 hyperactivation. We believe that our first-in-class CNS penetrant selective mTORC1 inhibitor, AV078, has the potential to be transformative for patients with TSC refractory epilepsy, a patient population in need of therapeutic options with better efficacy and tolerability. Beyond AV078, we believe that there is vast potential for our library of proprietary compounds in treating mTORC1-mediated rare and age-related diseases,” said Allison Hulme, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Aeovian Pharmaceuticals [3].

“Hevolution stands out as a global nonprofit, having allocated over $250m towards healthspan research grants and partnerships since 2021,” said the company’s CEO, Dr Mehmood Khan.

Mehmood Khan says funding scientific research on aging is a key strategy but investments in longevity companies will also be announced soon.
Dr Mehmood Khan is CEO of Hevolution Foundation.

“Our inaugural impact investment in Aeovian is another landmark moment for us, furthering our mission by laying the groundwork to encourage more companies and investors to engage with the healthspan field through promising early-stage biotech companies like Aeovian. We remain unwavering in our commitment to drive growth, innovation, and cooperation in this scientific field, with the ultimate goal of enhancing healthy human healthspan.”

According to the Foundation, Hevolution evaluated over 200 opportunities, before selecting Aeovian based on its success in drug discovery, expertise in development, the potential for commercialization, and its platform for the discovery of selective mTORC1 inhibitors, which Hevolution describes as “compelling”. This is no surprise, as Aeovian was founded with technology licensed from The Buck Institute for Research on Aging, and the Buck, which has played an instrumental role in much of the research into mTOR, remains a founding shareholder of the company it incubated over a decade ago.

As the lead investor, Hevolution is joined in this investment by Apollo Health Ventures, Sofinnova Investments, venBio, Evotec, and b2venture. Hevolution’s Chief Investment Officer William Greene, MD will also join Aeovian’s Board of Directors, bringing over 25 years of leadership experience as a founder, biotechnology executive, investor and clinician.

“The entire Aeovian team welcomes Hevolution and Dr Greene as we transition to a clinical-stage company,” said Hulme. “We are delighted to partner with Hevolution to develop therapeutics with the potential to precisely target the underlying biology of both rare and age-related diseases, thereby addressing significant unmet medical needs and serving broad patient populations.”

Hevolution says this investment underscores its commitment to increase the number of safe and effective treatments entering the market, compress the timeline of drug development, using the latest tools and technologies and increase accessibility to therapeutics that extend healthy lifespan.

Today’s announcement follows Hevolution’s launch of the Breakthrough Innovation Alliance at the Global Healthspan Summit in November 2023, and to date, Hevolution has committed more than $250 million in scientific funding to catalyze the healthspan ecosystem.

[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6611156/
[2] https://www.nature.com/articles/s42003-019-0582-4
[3] https://prn.to/4as6I9A