Longevity investment bulletin: NewLimit, ORA, Insilico Medicine and more

The latest longevity updates from our investment news desk.

NewLimit secures $40m Series A

Epigenetic reprogramming startup NewLimit announced $40 million in Series A funding from prominent investors including Dimension, Founders Fund, and Kleiner Perkins. The investment further bolsters the company’s belief that therapies to delay, halt or even reverse aging can be found through the exploration of epigenetic reprogramming.

NewLimit, which was cofounded by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, already demonstrated its commitment to curing aging through its founders’ original $110 million investment in the company. While its products are designed to treat aging itself, the company also believes “these products could treat or prevent many diseases associated with aging, including fibrosis, infectious disease, and neurodegenerative disease.”

“Even though aging is the dominant driver of human disease, aging biology has been underfunded and under-explored,” said NewLimit in a news release. “We believe epigenetic reprogramming is a watershed moment for aging research and we hope to spur many more groups to participate in moving this field forward.”

Telehealth company ORA raises $10m

Singaporean telehealth platform ORA raised $10 million in Series A funding. The round was co-led by TNB Aura and Antler with participation from Gobi Partners, Kairous Capital and GMA Ventures, bringing total investment in the company to more than $17 million.

ORA is the fastest-growing telehealth platform in South East Asia, delivering over 250,000 consultations and has experienced uninterrupted monthly growth since launching in 2021. 90% of ORA’s patients are first to condition, under 38 years old and have never been treated before. The disconnect between this younger patient population and the traditional healthcare model is ORA’s biggest opportunity.

“ORA is on a mission to deliver high touch, high-quality care to millions of patients and with our continued growth story throughout SEA, we are thrilled with today’s announcement,” said Elias Pour, CEO of ORA. “ORA has had over 6 million patient touch points provide us with valuable health data through extensive health evaluations and consultation online. This has brought unique insights into these patient’s healthcare expectations that has and will inform future innovations with our key partners.”

Insilico successfully combines quantum computing and generative AI

Generative AI-driven drug discovery company Insilico Medicine announced that it has combined two rapidly developing technologies, quantum computing and generative AI, to explore lead candidate discovery in the drug development process and successfully demonstrated the potential advantages of quantum generative adversarial networks in generative chemistry.

The study published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling, a leading journal in computational modeling, is led by Insilico’s Taiwan and UAE centers. The centers focus on pioneering and constructing breakthrough methods and engines with rapidly developing technologies including generative AI and quantum computing to accelerate drug discovery and development.

“Quantum computing is recognized as the next technology breakthrough which will make great impact to all communities, and the pharmaceutical industry is believed to be among the first wave of industries benefiting from the advancement,” said Jimmy Yen-Chu Lin, PhD, GM of Insilico Medicine Taiwan, and corresponding author of the paper. “The paper demonstrates Insilico’s first footprint in quantum computing with AI in molecular generation underlining our vision in the field.”

Lento Bio teams up with FSU researcher

Degenerative aging disease biotech Lento Bio is working with a Florida State University researcher to develop new treatments for an eye condition that afflicts individuals as they age and causes far sightedness. The company is collaborating with Prof James Frederich to develop drug compounds to potentially reverse the effects of presbyopia.

Presbyopia is a common age-related condition that often begins to develop around the age of 40 and affects more than 1.4 billion people worldwide. Essentially, the lens of the eye begins to lose elasticity, which makes it difficult for the eye to focus on objects that are close-up.

“There are many age-related conditions like presbyopia that are ripe for exploration and potential solutions through medicinal chemistry,” said Frederich. “My lab is excited to be tackling this problem through this collaboration with Lento Bio and are looking forward to designing novel drug-like small molecules that could help address some of these issues.”

SENISCA boosts management team

Senescence-targeted biotech SENISCA announced the expansion of its leadership team with the appointment of Dr Sarah Cole as Chief Operating Officer, Dr Tim Schmidt as Chief Development Officer and Dr Adam Clauss as VP Dermatology.

SENISCA has identified a novel and druggable component of the cellular aging (senescence) response, which can be specifically targeted in the context of multiple pharmacological and skin health indications. The company is developing a portfolio of proprietary senotherapeutics, including oligonucleotides and small molecules, that target cell senescence for cellular rejuvenation in the treatment of age-related disease. SENISCA’s senotherapeutics specifically target the novel cellular pathway which causes cell rejuvenation and positively impacts markers of disease modification in patient-derived models.

“We are thrilled to have Sarah, Tim and Adam join the leadership team at such a critical growth stage for SENISCA,” said Kirsty Semple, CEO of SENISCA. “The extensive preclinical expertise that they bring will prove invaluable as we progress our work to develop novel therapeutics capable of reversing senescence to target the causes of age-related disease, not just the symptoms.”

Recursion appoints CMO

TechBio drug discovery company Recursion (NASDAQ: RXRX) announced it has appointed David Mauro as its Chief Medical Officer. Dr Mauro will lead Recursion’s pipeline into and through clinical development, including its five programs currently in the clinic.

Mauro has over 20 years in oncology drug development, including guiding the translational, preliminary, and later stages of development for more than 25 Investigational New Drug candidates over the past decade.

“We are incredibly excited to have Dr Mauro join our team at Recursion at such an important time in the development of our clinical pipeline,” said Chris Gibson, CEO of Recursion. “With his extensive background in oncology drug development and a proven track record of advancing numerous Investigational New Drug candidates, Dr Mauro’s expertise will be a strong addition to our executive leadership team.”

Celmatix bolsters advisory board

Ovarian biology biotech Celmatix announced that Dr Susan Herbert has joined the company’s board of advisors. Herbert joins as the company announces the launch of a novel drug development program supporting ovarian health throughout a women’s lifespan adding to its next generation of interventions and advancements in women’s health.

Herbert brings more than 30 years’ biopharma industry experience in R&D, business development and corporate strategy along with unique insights gained heading the investment committee of MVentures.

We are honored to have someone with Dr Herbert’s experience and success in biopharma join our Strategic Advisory Board,” said Dr Piraye Yurttas Beim, CEO of Celmatix. “Not only does Dr Herbert have an incredible wealth of knowledge in R&D and pre-clinical work, but her accomplishments in licensing are also known throughout the industry and speak to her drive and understanding of biopharma. We now are elated she will be able to apply these same insights to our work at Celmatix.”

Aviceda makes board appointment

Developer of next-generation immunomodulators Aviceda Therapeutics announced the appointment of Patrick Johnson to its board of directors. The company is harnessing the power of glycobiology to modulate the innate immune system and alleviate chronic inflammation. Its lead ophthalmic asset, AVD-104, is in late-stage clinical development for treatment of patients with geographic atrophy (GA).

Johnson is an accomplished business leader and entrepreneur with a proven track record of enabling pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to maximize the value of their brands and realize the potential of their innovations.

“We are thrilled to welcome Patrick to Aviceda’s board of directors as we advance our pipeline through key milestones in 2023 and beyond,” said Mohamed A Genead, CEO of Aviceda. “Patrick will bring significant industry expertise, and his strategic counsel will be invaluable to Aviceda as we continue to advance our technology platform in late-stage clinical development for patients with GA due to age-related macular degeneration and broader therapeutic applications.”

SomaLogic expands into China with Biostar Technology partnership

Proteomics tech company SomaLogic announced that Biostar Technology Limited will be the company’s first authorized site in China to offer the 7,000-plex SomaScan® Assay and provide SomaScan data to its customers. Biostar joins Molecular Genomics in Singapore and FonesLife in Japan as SomaLogic authorized sites in the APAC region.

SomaLogic is catalyzing drug research and development and biomarker identification via proteomics technology. With a single 55 microliter plasma or serum sample, SomaLogic can run 7,000 protein measurements, covering more than a third of the approximately 20,000 proteins in the human body.

“We are delighted to be partnering with SomaLogic to expand the company’s global reach in Asia by providing their next-generation proteomics offering and establishing the first SomaLogic authorized site in Shanghai,” said founding Chief Executive Officer of Biostar and AccuraMed Steven Qiu. “We believe this partnership with SomaLogic will enable customers in China to make use of the SomaScan Assay as a powerful tool to study the mechanisms underlying the physiological and pathological processes in disease areas like cardiovascular and liver diseases, cancer and diabetes.”