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Anti-ageing gets another boost with Napa Therapeutics launch

Juvenescence teams up with Insilico Medicines and Buck Institute

A new biotech company, Napa Therapeutics, focused on developing anti-ageing treatments has been set up through a three-way partnership.

Based in Novato, California, The Buck Institute calls itself the first ever research institute solely focused on research for ageing and the elimination of age-related disease. It is now teaming up with anti-ageing focused company Juvenescence and AI-based drug discovery firm Insilico Medicine.

The new alliance will pursue research pioneered by the Buck Institute’s CEO and research chief, Dr Eric Verdin.

His early research has focused on Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), a coenzyme found in all living cells which in its oxidised form, (NAD+) plays a crucial role in regulating cellular ageing and the maintenance of proper function in the body.

Levels of NAD+ in people and animals diminish significantly over a lifetime, and research in animal models shows that increasing levels of NAD+ in older mice causes them to look and act younger, and extend their lifespan.

Juvenescence is backed by British billionaire Jim Mellon and recently raised $50m in a series A funding round.

The final partner in the triumvirate is Insilico Medicine, a venture using AI to accelerate drug discovery, and is already part of Juvenescence’s investment portfolio.

Eric Verdin

The Buck Institute's Dr Eric Verdin

The Verdin lab will collaborate with Napa Therapeutics, using Insilico’s drug development engine to speed the discovery of new compounds. “This is a unique opportunity to use cutting-edge AI to accelerate drug discovery,” said Dr Verdin. “The Buck is excited to join forces with Insilico and Juvenescence as we work to eliminate the threat of age-related disease for this and future generations.”

Greg Bailey

Juvenescence CEO Greg Bailey

“I am most excited by this model and the ability to combine the quality science of the Buck Institute with the remarkable deep learning engine at Insilico Medicine. To me this is another big step in the evolving process of using AI with HI (human intelligence) to extract the best of both systems,” said Gregory Bailey, MD, CEO of Juvenescence.

“Napa Therapeutics lets Juvenescence deepen our collaboration with the Buck Institute and with Insilico Medicine. We hope to shorten the time required to identify molecules that can be brought to the clinic and most importantly help patients.”

If successful in reaching drug development milestones, Insilico Medicine will be in line to earn more than $100 million in payments from the deal.

15th August 2018

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