Longevity investment bulletin: Vaxxinity, Aviceda, MyMD and more

The latest longevity updates from our investment news desk. 

Vaxxinity doses first subjects in LDL trial

Immunotherapeutic vaccine company Vaxxinity (Nasdaq: VAXX) announced first subjects have been dosed in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase 1 clinical trial of its investigational vaccine designed to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by targeting proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 serine protease (PCSK9). Heart disease remains the leading cause of death globally, claiming over 18 million lives per year, despite the existence of approved treatments that lower LDL.

“This is an exciting milestone for VXX-401 and Vaxxinity in our pursuit to vaccinate the world against heart disease with a preventative option that is convenient and accessible, addressing an unmet need to combat the leading global cause of death,” said Mei Mei Hu, CEO of Vaxxinity. “PCSK9 antibody therapies are well-tolerated and effective, but huge unmet patient need remains. In order to solve the problem of heart disease, the world needs a scalable, accessible technology that can reach the hundreds of millions, if not billions of people at risk. With an LDL-lowering vaccine we can potentially offer an option that’s cost-effective, safe, convenient, long-acting, and deployable.”

Aviceda submits IND for blinding eye disease

Biotech startup Aviceda Therapeutics announced it has submitted an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the US FDA. The IND supports the use of its lead intravitreal ocular asset, a novel glycan-coated nanoparticle, for the treatment of GA secondary to AMD, the most common blinding eye disease in those over 65 years of age.

Aviceda is focused on developing the next generation immuno-modulators by harnessing the power of glycobiology to modulate the innate immune system and alleviate chronic, non-resolving inflammation.

“With only one currently approved therapy for the treatment of GA, there is still a significant unmet medical need for patients with this condition,” said Mohamed Genead, CEO of Aviceda. “This IND application brings us a step closer to bringing a new and differentiated treatment option for disease modification of the key underlying pathobiology of AMD via the modulation of immune and complement dysfunction.”

MyMD presents positive RA study data

Clinical stage biopharmaceutical company MyMD Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: MYMD) presented data from a preclinical study of its oral TNF-α inhibitor MYMD-1. Study results comparing MYMD-1 to placebo were very highly significant and showed MYMD-1 reduced histopathological changes and the severity of standard arthritis clinical trial measures.

The study was designed to investigate the anti-inflammatory effects of MYMD-1 in a rheumatoid arthritis model that mimics features of arthritis in humans and included commonly used clinical arthritis endpoints.

“These results demonstrate the potential of MYMD-1 to inhibit arthritis development as shown in this research model,” said Sonia Edaye, lead investigator at Charles River Laboratories. “Unlike current TNF-α inhibitors, MYMD-1 can be given orally and is a promising investigational new drug for rheumatoid arthritis.”

Histogen granted new US patent

Clinic stage therapeutics company Histogen (NASDAQ: HSTO) announced it has been issued a new US patent titled “Caspase Inhibitors and Methods of Use Thereof.” Histogen says the patent provides broad coverage for the company’s portfolio of highly selective and orally active anti-inflammatory caspase inhibitors.

“We are pleased that this important patent has issued,” said Alfred Spada, Chief Scientific Officer of Histogen. “It builds upon Histogen’s growing proprietary caspase inhibitor portfolio that includes the US patent No. 11,447,497 issued in September of 2022. This previously issued patent discloses a broad class of novel pan-caspase inhibitors with unique chemical properties. In addition to these two important patents to support our expanding pipeline, we are also evaluating the potential use of our clinical stage pan-caspase inhibitor, emricasan, in acute bacterial skin infections, including those related to methicillin resistant staph aureus (MRSA).”

Cambrian appoints head of policy

Clinical stage longevity biotech Cambrian Bio announced the appointment of Adrienne Hallett as Vice President of Global Policy and Strategic Initiatives. Bringing more than 25 years of health policy experience at the highest levels of the US government, Hallett will work with foundations, government institutions and other groups for investment into Cambrian’s pipeline and gaining approval to launch primary prevention trials.

“Preventing and treating diseases of aging is of paramount importance for the economies of the world, but mostly for the daily struggles of the families affected,” said Hallett. “Ensuring government policies keep pace with science gives individuals as well as their families the gift of time. I’m thrilled to be joining the Cambrian Bio team and to help them continue to utilize cutting edge technologies to prove the age-old maxim that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

OA drug may have senotherapeutic effect

New data suggests that AKL Therapeutics’ investigational oral osteoarthritis (OA) drug APPA may have a dual effect on senescence. The study, using a human cartilage-forming cell line, found that APPA appears to both reduce the number of harmful senescent cells, which build up in the cartilage causing inflammation, but could also potentially reverse the senescence process so cells can function normally again.

The study found that APPA significantly reduced the number of senescent cells (p=0.020) and increased the number of cells – indicated by the number of nuclei (p=0.062) – in the chondrocyte cell line in which senescence had been induced.

 “These latest findings raise the tantalizing possibility that APPA could modify the progression of debilitating OA for patients by eliminating or delaying the adverse effects of cellular senescence and the process of aging,” said Alan Reynolds, Chief Scientific Officer at AKL Therapeutics. “Frailty and mobility issues have a significant impact as we age, often leading to people living many years in pain and ill health. If we can reduce senescence, which contributes to joint damage in OA and is involved in many other age-related diseases, we can hopefully help improve people’s healthspan, so they age in better physical and mental health.”