Longevity.Technology’s second round-up of the new biotech longevity companies that emerged from stealth in 2021.
We have spent the last few weeks on the state of longevity, spotlighting the research and investment highlights of 2021; today we finish with a look at some of the new biotech companies that emerged from stealth last year. Don’t forget to catch up with our earlier picks HERE.
Altos labs – Bezos billions fund new rejuvenation biotech start-up
The key technology that Altos Labs aims to leverage is biological reprogramming. Biological reprogramming technology starts by rejuvenating cells in the lab and then builds on that technology to revitalise tissues, organs and, hopefully, bodies. There is a hope that previous success in rejuvenating mice could be scaled up to be available to turn back the clock on human aging. According to reports, Altos incorporated in the US and the UK earlier this year; it plans to establish a number of institutes in places including the Bay Area and San Diego in the US, Cambridge in the UK and Japan.
Whether Altos has an altruistic or business focus still remains to be seen, but either way, it’s going to stir things up. Spectators will draw the obvious comparisons to Calico, Google’s research and development biotech company, which is still remarkably cagey about its work, but given the names involved, one would hope that Altos will be more forthcoming about any news.
Technology Review indicated that Altos investors include Jeff Bezos and billionaire Yuri Milner, who along with his wife Julia, has invested in Altos through a foundation. What began as a rumoured $270m worth of funding already in the bag, was confirmed to be $3 billion in investment capital committed by global backers.
Arda Therapeutics – targeting cells to tackle disease
Arda Therapeutics was founded in 2021 in the San Francisco Bay Area by Dr Adam Freund (ex-Calico). The biotech uses single-cell data from patients to identify target cells to be removed to tackle a variety of diseases associated with aging. Many diseases are caused by an excess of pathological cell types. Currently, the majority of existing pharmacology modulates individual pathways, however cell states are complex networks that are difficult to change via single nodes. Arda has identified that it is more effective to eliminate the entire pathological network, meaning the entire cell, and so has set a goal to do exactly that. Arda Therapeutics has created an approach that respects the systems nature of biology, utilises the full value of single-cell data and increases therapeutic options by selecting targets from the cell surface proteome.
As of January 2022, Arda closed a $7.5m seed round led by Andreessen Horowitz with participation from GV, Village Global, The Longevity Fund amongst others.
We’ll be catching up with Adam Freund in a couple of weeks – stay tuned!
Oviva Therapeutics – targeting ovarian physiology
Oviva’s mission is to address the vast unmet need in women’s health by driving research and clinical development targeting ovarian physiology, and by expanding funding and awareness in this space. Oviva Therapeutics, backed by Cambrian Biopharma and co-founded by Dr Daisy Robinton, targets age-related decline in ovarian function, which leads to adverse health outcomes in women. The company aims to extend healthspan in women through developing novel therapeutics that target ovarian function and longevity.
Modern Age – taking control of the aging journey
Modern Age was launched earlier this year by founder Melissa Eamer, a former vice president at Amazon and COO at Glossier. The company aims to combine digital tools and solutions, such as telehealth, along with in-person treatments, including at its flagship studio location in New York City’s Flatiron district. Users will start by taking a digital assessment across the different aspects that impact how old they feel, and then they will be offered a set of personalised recommendations including products, prescriptions and treatments. The company plans to initially focus on the areas of skin, hair, bones and hormone health, which Eamer says are some of the first places people start to notice the signs of aging.
Modern Age has recently completed a $27 million Series A round of funding.