Longevity investment bulletin: Buck Institute, NeuroSense, Form Bio and more

The latest longevity updates from our investment news desk.

Buck postdoc training program secures funding

The Buck Institute for Research on Aging announced that funding for its T32 program has been renewed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The Buck’s long-established San Francisco Bay area postdoctoral training program has helped establish the Bay area as a nexus for research on aging.

The $3.9 million grant renewal brings accumulated funding for the program to $11.5 million. The Buck Institute says that 32% of trainees in the T32 program have gone on to faculty positions in academia, others have taken jobs in biotech including at powerhouses such as Genentech, Amgen, Bayer Pharmaceuticals and Denali Therapeutics.

“Our goal of increasing the human healthspan by focusing on the connection between aging mechanisms and disease-specific research can best be met by training young scientists in integrated, interdisciplinary research on aging,” said Buck professor Judith Campisi. “The T32 training program has been a stalwart at the Buck for many years and we’re thrilled that it’s going to be going on for another five years.”

NeuroSense completes enrollment in ALS trial

Neurodegenerative disease-targeting company NeuroSense Therapeutics (Nasdaq: NRSN) announced the completion of enrollment its Phase 2b clinical trial of PrimeC in people living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A novel combination therapy of two FDA-approved drugs, celecoxib and ciprofloxacin, PrimeC is designed to synergistically target several key ALS mechanisms that contribute to motor neuron degeneration, inflammation, iron accumulation, and impaired RNA regulation to potentially inhibit the progression of ALS.

The primary efficacy endpoint of the trial is the assessment of ALS-biomarkers to evaluate PrimeC and its biological activity. Secondary endpoints include the clinical outcome measures Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Functional Rating Scale-Revised (ALSFRS-R), Slow Vital Capacity (SVC), and overall survival, as well as safety and tolerability, in addition to a robust battery of additional biomarkers including neurofilaments.

“It is highly encouraging that nearly all participants who completed the study have elected to continue in the OLE phase with the treatment of PrimeC,” said Prof Vivian Drory, Principal Investigator of the trial at Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center. “We look forward to seeing the topline data from this study which uses an optimized formulation of PrimeC. Based on the new formulation, we are aiming for efficacy and safety results that will meet and exceed the results achieved in the Phase 2a study which was conducted here at Sourasky Medical Center.”

Form Bio launches AI tool for cell and gene therapy

Computational life sciences technology company Form Bio announced the launch of FORMsightAI – a new, AI-based solution set for predicting and optimizing manufacturing outputs of cell and gene therapy constructs.

FORMsightAI addresses common issues faced by cell and gene therapy developers of construct truncations and manufacturing contaminations, which are key contributors to unsustainably low manufacturing yields, delayed times-to-market and therapeutic safety issues. Using patent-pending large language models, in conjunction with the Form Bio platform, cell and gene therapy developers can predictively analyze and avoid key manufacturing risk factors before scaling up manufacturing.

“Nearly every cell and gene therapy company we talk to faces the extremely challenging issues of capital burn, time-to-market and cost per dose. But few of them, until now, have been able to fully recognize the staggering costs of under addressing manufacturing issues at the earliest stages of therapy development,” said Andrew Busey, co-CEO of Form Bio. “Now, with our FORMsightAI solution, cell and gene therapy companies can not only measure this multi-billion-dollar problem, but also minimize it.”

Insilico appoints business development head

Generative AI-driven drug discovery company Insilico Medicine has appointed Dr Michael Bayewitch as VP of Business Development and Strategy. US-based Bayewitch will work closely with the company’s leadership team to drive business development activities and develop attainable operation strategies to support Insilico’s continued growth.

Bayewitch brings more than 22 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including in due diligence and in/out-licensing transactions, focusing on oncology, autoimmune diseases, and respiratory diseases. Prior to Insilico Medicine, he worked for international mid- and large-size pharmaceutical companies including ITI Life Sciences, Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc, and EOC Pharma.

“As we witness the rapid development of the pharmaceutical industry and the dramatic innovation of AI technology, Insilico sees increasing demand for internal staff as more pipelines are entering the clinical stage,” said Dr Alex Zhavoronkov, founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine. “In this promising and challenging year for Insilico, we look forward to accelerated growth supported by Dr Bayewitch’s combined expertise.”

Sheba Hospital previews longevity center

Israel’s largest hospital Sheba Medical Center has given attendees at the Sheba Longevity Conference a preview of the world’s first dedicated longevity clinic in a public hospital. Set to open on the Ramat Gan campus in September, the center will provide advanced, research-based medicine to maintain and improve the physiological and mental functions of individuals.

The Sheba Longevity Center will initially focus on treating patients aged 40 and over in the fields of cognition, sleep, frailty and menopause before branching out to other areas. The center is expected to open in September with an initial pilot study of 2,000 patients. Using technology and knowledge from across the fields of medicine, it aims to pioneer a new type of patient care.

“Longevity is an international issue that requires global cooperation,” said Professor Tzipi Strauss, Head of the Sheba Longevity Center. “Today, Sheba has brought together players from across the globe to share knowledge, collaborate and raise awareness of the possibilities this field brings. Through this new annual conference and our clinic, we hope to continue our mission of democratizing the field of longevity, making it accessible to all.”