Longevity investment bulletin: Cerevance, Frequency, Heartseed, Life Biosciences and more

The latest longevity updates from our investment news desk.  

Cerevance adds $51 million to Series B

CNS-targeting drug discovery company Cerevance announced the expansion of its Series B funding round, adding another $51 million to its coffers. This brings the total Series B financing to $116 million, which will support the company’s upcoming clinical trials in Parkinson’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), and schizophrenia.

Cerevance has a growing pipeline of clinical and preclinical programs developed using its NETSseq platform to discover and validate novel therapeutic targets in some of the most challenging neurological diseases.

“We are thrilled to secure additional funding from world-class investors who strongly support the need for novel therapies to treat neurological diseases,” said Craig Thompson, CEO of Cerevance. “We are well positioned to continue to advance our clinical and pre-clinical programs and proprietary NETSseq platform. With this financing, we expect to reach several key clinical milestones across multiple disease areas with unmet needs.”

Frequency announces clinical trial failure

Regenerative medicine company Frequency Therapeutics (Nasdaq: FREQ) announced clinical results from its Phase 2b study in acquired Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL). The company, which focused on developing therapeutics to activate a person’s innate potential to restore function, said the trial failed to achieve its primary efficacy endpoint of an improvement in speech perception.

The company plans to lay off more than half of its employees and will now focus its resources to advance its remyelination in MS program into the clinic.

“This was a rigorous and well-designed study that provided us a clear outcome, though not the outcome we wanted,” said Dr Chris Loose, CSO of Frequency. “Given these disappointing results, we will cease further development of the company’s drug candidates for hearing loss. We are thankful to the patients, clinicians and their staffs, and the experts from our clinical advisory board who helped us to design and run a conclusive study in SNHL. We hope the learnings from our studies will benefit the field and ultimately support the successful development of future treatments for hearing loss.”

Heart failure cell therapy doses first patient

Cell therapy company Heartseed and Novo Nordisk announced that the first patient has been dosed in a clinical study of a cell therapy designed to restore heart function in people with advanced heart failure. HS-001 is an investigational cell therapy consisting of clusters of purified heart muscle cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells that are designed to restore heart muscle and function in patients with advanced heart failure. In several preclinical studies, iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes have been shown to improve heart function.

“As a cardiologist, I have been working for many years to realise cardiac regeneration medicine in order to treat patients with heart failure whose heart function has deteriorated to the point where they are unable to live their daily lives,” said Keiichi Fukuda, CEO of Heartseed. “We are very pleased to announce that the first transplant of HS-001 has been successfully performed, which is a major first step in establishing a completely new treatment that I have long envisioned.”

Life Biosciences appoints CSO

Pioneering longevity biotech Life Biosciences announced the appointment of Dr Sharon Rosenzweig-Lipson as Chief Scientific Officer. At Life Biosciences, she will be responsible for leading the company’s scientific research and development efforts built on the epigenetic reprogramming science of Dr David Sinclair and the chaperone-mediated autophagy discoveries of Dr Ana Maria Cuervo.

“Dr Rosenzweig-Lipson brings great scientific and strategic leadership to Life Biosciences,” said Jerry McLaughlin, CEO of Life Biosciences. “Sharon has been serving as a consultant to Life since early 2021 and has helped to create strong processes to accelerate our drug discovery and development. Her impressive background and accomplishments in both preclinical and clinical development will continue to be invaluable to us as we progress our therapies toward the clinic. It is a pleasure to officially welcome her to the team.”

NeuroSense partners on neurodegeneration

Clinical-stage drug development company NeuroSense Therapeutics (NASDAQ: NRSN) has partnered with QuantalX Neuroscience to improve early diagnosis and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. QuantaIX is the developer of Delphi-MD, a clinically objective neurodiagnostic medical device.

“We believe the use of cutting-edge innovations like Delphi-MD is the future of early detection and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases,” said NeuroSense CEO Alon Ben-Noon. “We are enthusiastic to work with QuantalX, whose technology complements our extensive evaluation of our platform combination drug therapy via clinical measurements and a large panel of biomarkers. We envision a long-term collaboration beginning with our upcoming Phase 2 double-blind clinical study in Alzheimer’s disease, which we plan to commence in the first half of this year.”

Photograph: Freepik