Young blood rising: new plasma therapy moves closer to the clinic

Yuvan Research secures funding to advance plasma therapy derived from pigs into canine trials.

Earlier this year, Yuvan Research made headlines around the world by announcing it had broken a world record by extending the lifespan of a lab rat called Sima using an experimental “young blood” plasma therapy called E5. An enriched fraction of young plasma, E5 is designed to be injected regularly to reverse the age of the recipient’s biological systems, bringing them closer to that of the younger donor.

Longevity.Technology has learned that Yuvan, co-founded by Akshay Sanghavi and Dr Harold Katcher, has secured early-stage funding from Longevitytech.fund as it seeks to demonstrate that its technology can translate to humans.

Longevity.Technology: Yuvan recently published a new preprint paper revealing that its mysterious E5 therapy is actually derived from pig plasma and claiming that it “markedly reverses aging in rats according to epigenetic clocks, IgG glycans, and other biomarkers of aging.” The company suggests that the experiment demonstrates that regulatory molecules in our secretome are highly conserved across mammalian species, offering hope for human applications of the technology in future.

Could plasma derived from the meat industry’s waste blood one day deliver longevity benefits in humans? Only time will tell, but the next logical step for the company is to test its E5 therapy in larger mammals before moving into human trials. We caught up with Yuvan’s CEO Sanghavi to find out how the company plans to move forward.

Talking about the recent revelation that E5 is derived from pig plasma, Sanghavi says that mammals share most of their genes with other mammals, and only a small percentage are responsible for the vast differences between species. Although E5 is yet to be tested in humans, Sanghavi says Yuvan’s recent work opens up “a lot of possibilities.”

Young blood rising: new plasma therapy moves closer to the clinic
Yuvan co-founders Akshay Sanghavi (L) and Harold Katcher (R)

“It seems mammals also share many common regulatory molecules – the diversity and yet the universality of biology is fascinating,” he says. “The other important finding in this paper is that biological aging is plastic: not only can it be slowed down or stopped, but it can also be systematically, safely, and significantly reversed. Our aspiration no longer needs to be solely focused on prolonging healthspan but should also extending youthful lifespan.”

50% reduction in biological age

Yuvan has also added Stanford professor Michael Snyder to its scientific advisory board, which already boasts leading longevity scientists including renowned cryobiologist Greg Fahy and UCLA professor Steve Horvath, known for his work to develop biological “clocks” of aging.

Yuvan previously reported that Horvath’s clock, which measures DNA methylation changes, found that the rats treated with E5 showed a significant reversal their biological age. The company has since added a new clock into the mix – GlycanAge, developed by University of Zagreb professor Gordon Lauc, which measures inflammation levels.

“We already measure around 30 longevity biomarkers in our lab, so the data from the clocks was really the cherry on top of the results we were already seeing,” says Sanghavi. “Both Steve and Gordan have a tremendous reputation for their work in longevity, so we wanted to take that litmus test and make sure that whatever we are doing in the lab is reflected in established measures of biological age. These two clocks measure very different things, but they both showed a similar reversal of biological aging in the E5-treated rats – 54% with Horvath’s clock and around 50% using GlycanAge.”

Of course, what works at a preclinical stage in rats or mice doesn’t always translate to humans, so Yuvan is keen to take the next step.

“We have already done more preclinical work than is typically seen – four preclinical trials, one of which was the lifespan trial,” says Sanghavi. “But that was intentional, we want to create a strong foundation, based on repeatable results, dose titration, and so on. Now we are ready for the next stage.”

Next up: making dogs younger?

Having demonstrated its lifespan-improving effects in rats, the next stage for Yuvan is to see if E5 also works in larger mammals. The company’s next trial, expected to begin imminently, will be in 10-year-old dogs.

Young blood rising: new plasma therapy moves closer to the clinic
Scientists at work in Yuvan’s labs.

“Unlike others in longevity, we don’t like to use artificially aged animal models – we use natural models,” says Sanghavi. “It was difficult for us to find a colony of naturally aged dogs, but we have finally found one.”

While safety and toxicology will be the primary endpoints of the dog trial, Yuvan is of course interested in much more than that.

“Our secondary endpoints will include a lot of those biomarkers that we tested in the rats, because we want to see how they compare in a much larger mammal,” says Sanghavi. “This should give us a very big hint about what might happen in humans. If we see 50% of the effect that we saw in rats, then we know that there may be a diluted effect.”

“But if we see the same effect in dogs that we saw in the rats, then then we can be optimistic that that may translate in humans. The potential to reverse human aging by 50% on a systemic basis may sound hard to believe, but it also makes what we’re doing very exciting.”

Funding a ‘promising rejuvenation approach’

The new funding acquired from LongevityTech.fund is part of a pre-Series A funding round, which will be used to finance the dog trial. The company expects to raise a larger Series A round next year, in anticipation of moving into its first in-human trials.

Petr Sramek, founding partner of LongevityTech.fund.

“We are excited to fund this advanced and promising rejuvenation approach,” LongevityTech.fund founding partner Petr Sramek told us. “The Yuvan team and its scientific advisory board have all the necessary qualities and experience to move this into human clinical trials.”

“We are honored to have Petr Sramek and his amazing colleagues at LongevityTech.fund as investors and partners,” says Sanghavi. “A specialist longevity fund brings domain expertise and that extra support that can accelerate our efforts towards translating our research into prescription therapies that can potentially benefit millions of patients suffering from chronic diseases associated with aging.”