Longevity investment bulletin: Five Alarm Bio, Capsida, MyMD and more

The latest longevity updates from our investment news desk.  

Five Alarm Bio secures seed funding

Longevity drug discovery company Five Alarm Bio (FAB) has raised more than £500,000 in seed funding. Investors participating in the round include Cambridge Angels, Meltwind, o2h Ventures and SyndicateRoom, as well as other Angel investors, with support from KPMG Acceleris. Based on breakthrough advances in understanding of how age-associated chemical damage accumulates in cells and tissues, FAB is developing an innovative small molecule approach aimed at boosting our defences as we age, to ultimately extend the healthy lifespan of our bodies.

The investment will drive further research into FAB’s proprietary approach, testing new compounds for their ability to extend the healthy lifespan of cells in vitro and improve their function in disease relevant models.

“Whilst life expectancy has increased over recent years, our healthy lifespan has not kept up,” Dr Janette Thomas, CEO, Five Alarm Bio. “Anti-aging science therefore has huge value. Here at FAB our proprietary approach aims to overcome this fundamental challenge to human health as we work to discover and develop new drugs for age-associated diseases.”

Capsida signs $674 million collaboration deal

Gene therapy company Capsida Biotherapeutics announced an expanded strategic collaboration with AbbVie to develop genetic medicines for eye diseases with high unmet need. AbbVie’s extensive capabilities will be paired with Capsida’s novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) engineering platform and manufacturing capability to identify and advance three programs.

Under the terms of the expanded agreement, Capsida will receive $70 million, consisting of upfront payments and a potential equity investment. For the three programs, Capsida may be eligible to receive up to $595 million in option fees and research and development milestones, with potential for further commercial milestones.

“AbbVie has been an excellent partner, and we are excited to expand our collaboration into ophthalmology with the world leader in this therapeutic area,” said Peter Anastasiou, CEO of Capsida. “Combining AbbVie’s expertise in eye disease drug development and commercialization with Capsida’s fully integrated next-generation AAV engineering platform and manufacturing capabilities offers the potential to provide novel therapies enabling unprecedented benefit to patients with serious eye diseases.”

MyMD announces $15 Million offering

Clinical stage biopharma MyMD Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: MYMD) announced it has executed a securities purchase agreement to raise approximately $15 million in a registered direct offering of convertible preferred stock and warrants with existing investors.

“This successful financing will support the continued development of MYMD-1 for sarcopenia, an aging indication for which there is currently no FDA-approved products, and we look forward to completing our Phase 2 trial and sharing data in the near future,” said Christopher Chapman, Chief Medical Officer at MyMD. “We are also excited to continue developing MYMD-1 as a next generation oral TNF-alpha inhibitor for rheumatoid arthritis and look forward to sharing upcoming guidance on the timing of our rheumatoid arthritis program.”

Lineage Cell enters licensing agreement with Eterna

Cell therapy company Lineage Cell Therapeutics (NYSE American: LCTX) announced it has entered into an exclusive option and license agreement with Eterna Therapeutics for the development of novel pluripotent stem cell lines, which Lineage will evaluate for development into differentiated cell transplant therapies. The new cell lines to be developed by Eterna will support the potential creation of additional product candidates at Lineage, specifically for the treatment of certain central nervous system disorders and other neurology indications.

“This agreement provides the opportunity to combine insights obtained from our dry age-related macular degeneration program with new tools, to broaden the scope of our technology and may help deliver solutions for a wider range of diseases,” said Brian M Culley, Lineage’s CEO. “The engineering of desirable properties into cell lines can also lead to treatments that are highly differentiated from our competitors.”

Chromadex granted new patent

Longevity bioscience company ChromaDex (Nasdaq: CDXC), announced a newly granted US Patent for purity compositions of dihydronicotinamide riboside (NRH) and dihydronicotinic acid riboside (NARH). ChromaDex is continuously evaluating and investigating potential next generation NAD+ precursors, which are molecules at the forefront of the burgeoning healthy aging category, and currently owns and licenses a robust and secure portfolio of over 60 patents relating to Niagen and other NAD+ precursors. Niagen is the sole active ingredient in ChromaDex’s flagship consumer product, Tru Niagen.

The newly granted composition claims cover the commercially viable form of NRH and NARH, allowing ChromaDex to launch future innovations, and further strengthens ChromaDex’s position as the leading NAD+ company.

Relation Therapeutics opens London lab

Drug discovery company Relation Therapeutics opened its flagship integrated wet–dry laboratory in London. The lab and offices are located at the heart of London’s Knowledge Quarter and combine the most sophisticated functional genomic techniques with extraordinary computational power and machine learning.

With the acquisition of genomic data from human cells, Relation obtains direct insights into critical biological relationships, which are then fed directly into the dry laboratory’s machine learning engine. The engine then automatically requests new experiments to improve its predictive ability, cutting through an otherwise undecipherable combinatorial space. By uniting these two technologies Relation aims to radically improve the probability of success of drug discovery and development.

Relation also announced the appointment of Dr Edith M Hessel, a former GSK R&D executive, as Chief Scientific Officer, who will lead the drug discovery direction of the company and the progression of its pipeline to the clinic.

Gameto licenses Harvard ovaroid technology

Female reproductive longevity company Gameto has collaborated with researchers at Harvard’s Wyss Institute, Harvard Medical School and Duke University to create a living, fully human ovarian organoid that supports egg cell maturation, develops follicles and secretes sex hormones.

The “ovaroid” model enables the study of human ovarian biology without the need to take tissue from patients, and could enable the development of new treatments for conditions like infertility, ovarian cancer and more. The technology has been licensed to Gameto, which is using it to develop therapeutics for diseases of the female reproductive system.

“Our new method of fully human ovaroid production is several times faster than existing human/mouse hybrid methods, and replicates many of the critical functions of these organs, marking a significant step forward in our ability to study female reproductive health in the lab,” said co-first author Merrick Pierson Smela, a graduate student in the lab of Harvard Professor George Church. “In the future, similar technology could also treat infertility by growing egg cells from people whose own eggs aren’t viable.”

Causeway lands $10 million for Phase 2

University of Glasgow spin-out Causeway Therapeutics raised £8.75 million ($10.6 million) to conduct a Phase 2 clinical trial in lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow). The company, which specializes in tendon disease secured the funding from investors including Prof Declan Doogan, an experienced pharmaceutical executive, biotech entrepreneur and an alumnus of the University of Glasgow Medical School, as well as existing investors Mediqventures, Scottish Enterprise and Glasgow University Holdings Ltd.

“One in ten people will suffer from tendinopathy during their lifetime. There is no approved therapy for tendinopathy – this is a neglected area with a high degree of unmet medical need,” said Doogan, who also becomes Causeway’s Executive Chair. “These Phase I results were truly impressive and gave me the confidence to lead this financing round personally and to take an active role in the company’s operations.”

Tally Health launches

Last but not least, the long-awaited launch of Dr David Sinclair’s consumer longevity company Tally Health finally happened last week. Leveraging proprietary, science-backed technology aimed at improving healthspan and extending longevity at the cellular level, Tally’s stated goal is to “change the way we age.”  Check out our story on the launch and our in-depth chat with Tally’s CEO.

Photograph: Pressmaster/Envato