Serina completes AgeX merger, targets neurological diseases and pain

IND-enabling studies of Parkinson’s drug candidate expected to conclude by the end of the year, aiming for clinical trials in 2025.

Clinical stage biotech Serina Therapeutics has finalized its merger with longevity biotech AgeX Therapeutics. With a focus on developing therapies for neurological diseases, the combined entity starts trading today on the NYSE American market under the ticker symbol “SER”.

The company’s primary focus is on progressing its lead candidate, SER-252 (POZ-apomorphine), intended for the treatment of advanced Parkinson’s Disease. Designed to offer continuous dopaminergic stimulation, SER-252 aims to address limitations seen in current Parkinson’s treatments, such as levodopa-induced dyskinesias. IND-enabling preclinical studies for SER-252 are expected to conclude by the end of the year and anticipates entering Phase 1 clinical trials in 2025.

Headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama, Serina is based at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, where it leverages its “POZ platform” technology to address unmet medical needs in neurological diseases and pain management. The POZ platform is based on a synthetic polymer called poly(2-oxazoline), which the company says allows the rate of release of attached drugs to be more precisely controlled, enabling continuous drug delivery over an extended period. For conditions like Parkinson’s, this could potentially enable continuous dopaminergic stimulation, meaning that patients would only require a single injection once a week, rather than the daily jabs currently required.

Beyond Parkinson’s, Serina aims to develop a range of therapies targeting pain management and various central nervous system diseases, with potential applications extending beyond its internal pipeline. The company has also struck a non-exclusive license agreement with Pfizer to use its POZ technology in lipid nanoparticle drug (LNP) delivery formulations.

Following the merger and a reverse stock split, the combined entity will have approximately 10.1 million shares outstanding on a fully diluted basis, with Serina shareholders holding roughly 75% and AgeX shareholders holding approximately 25%. Serina’s CFO Steven Ledger assumes the role of interim CEO for the combined company.

“This merger is the culmination of years of work on the part of the Serina team and enables us to move our lead polyoxazoline-drug conjugate into clinical trials,” said Dr J Milton Harris, Serina’s Board Chair. “We will endeavor to advance additional clinical candidates, further develop our LNP and ADC platforms, and look forward to presenting the Serina opportunity to a new investor audience.”

Based on previous communications from the company, Longevity.Technology understands that the merger also includes the issuance of Post-Merger Warrants to AgeX stockholders, including its majority shareholder Juvenescence, which will inject an additional $15 million into the combined company.

“We could not be more excited about the incoming company and its opportunity in the world of vaccines and in Parkinson’s disease,” Gregory Bailey, Chairman of Juvenescence told us previously. “We believe it is a very good fit with Richard Marshall and his team of drug developers, and represents a great opportunity for AgeX and Serina shareholders to unlock significant value.”