Race for longevity is a biotech business opportunity

30 January 2019 (Last Updated January 30th, 2019 15:39)

Researchers believe that by solving ageing, scientists could create a universal cure for a number of diseases that accompany ageing, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and heart disease.

Race for longevity is a biotech business opportunity

With researchers coming under pressure to develop therapeutics that enable people to live longer and in good health, any success will depend on how attractive proposals are to investors in the longevity space.

Recently, a number of biotech start-ups have joined the race to promote longevity and be the first to develop treatments. As such, funding in this space has reached a record high.

Investment is being fueled by a clearer understanding of the biological ageing process and researchers believe that by solving ageing, scientists could create a universal cure for a number of diseases that accompany ageing, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and heart disease.

This presents a huge market and a great opportunity for investments in innovative ideas and solutions.

Last year, there was a huge uptick in investments in longevity start-ups. In particular, Samumed, a San Diego-based biotech company founded in 2008, raised a large equity funding of $438 million, despite the company currently having no approved drugs.

More recently there have been two venture financing deals in this field.

Juvenescence and Life Biosciences

Juvenescence UK, a UK-based biotech company focused on developing and investing in longevity therapies, completed the first tranche of its $46 million Series B financing, and is intending to raise a total of $100 million. The investment will be used to advance the multi-asset pipeline the company has developed through clinical trials. Juvenescence was created in 2017 by billionaire investor Jim Mellon.

With rapid investments and a strong team of investors, scientists and developers, Juvenescence has been able to grow the company with over $100 million in investments. The company has gathered several therapeutics in its pipeline, many of which are planned to enter clinical trials soon.

Similar to Juvenescence, Life Biosciences, a US longevity startup founded by Harvard researcher David Sinclair, recently raised $50 million in Series B financing to continue enhancing its portfolio of startups’ research and development programmes, and to work to develop therapeutics to fight age-related decline and diseases.

Life Biosciences’ research efforts are focused on developing therapeutics in the commonly cited areas of mitochondrial dysfunction, chromosomal instability, metabolism, epigenetic alterations, loss of proteostasis, altered communication and inflammation, and stem cell exhaustion.

Each of Life Biosciences’ eight start-ups, or daughter companies, are focused on analysing at least one of the eight commonly cited areas that account for ageing and age-related diseases. Life Biosciences is planning to have at least three clinical trials this year from its various daughter companies.

Clearly, investors are finding the innovative longevity research efforts increasingly attractive. A number of big pharma companies are involved in this space – including Novartis, Celgene, and Johnson & Johnson – despite big pharma’s mixed success in this market.

With increased funding for research and continuing technological enhancements, developing therapeutics to extend patients’ lifespans may not be too far away.