Posted on Dec 23, 2019, 1 p.m.
The San Diego based biotech Epirium has raised $85 million to pursue anti-aging approaches to slow down, delay, or reverse the process of aging, led by Longitude Capital and ARCH Venture Partners to advance clinical trial of their drug candidate which will be initially tested in Becker muscular dystrophy.
Aging is similar to muscular dystrophy in slowing down the mitochondrial replacement process; Epirium claims to have developed technology that can reverse the decline of the ever important mitochondrial function in aging and disease.
In an interview with Endpoints the company CEO, Russell Cox said, “They made the investment not just because they think we can do something meaningful in Becker’s muscular dystrophy, but primarily because some of these larger diseases could benefit as well. There’s no question we will evolve.”
Epirium claims to have developed a novel pharmacological approach to treat diseases caused by mitochondrial depletion and dysfunction, and the company has carried out proof of concept human studies with plans to move to clinical trials in 2020.
If the possibility of finding a cure for some rare genetic diseases is not promising enough on its own, the promise of anti-aging and longevity benefits has piqued the attention of private investor interest as PitchBook has identified at least 25 companies that are working on developing anti-aging and longevity technologies that are mostly staying comfortably private.
Only one company went public this year as compared to three in 2018; the California based Alameda, AgeX Therapeutic recently filed its IPO for New York Stock exchange, the 2 years old company is focusing on tissue regeneration.
It appears as if venture capital has spent around $183 million on 5 deals in 2019 which is a 49% increase from 2018. Epirium surpassed the $50 million series B of Life Biosciences drawing in the largest funding of the year to date. Private equity is also investing in anti-aging and longevity R&D as Samumed has acquired $438 million in private equity funding in August from an undisclosed investor, this comes after amassing $326 million in venture capital investments since 2013.
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