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New technology promises ‘eternal youth’ by cheating death, reversing ageing


Ageing gracefully… PHOTO CREDIT:

The fountain of eternal youth could come in technological form thanks to $100 million investment in a life sciences company.

Juvenescence is working with drug developers and AI experts to create treatments and technologies to treat age-related diseases and to increase human longevity.

The firm has announced the successful closure of its $100 million Series B round, including a total of $10 million from its founders.

It has also announced a further $10 million each from four cornerstone investors, including Grok Ventures, Mike Cannon-Brookes, and IPGL.

This brings the total to $165 Million that Juvenescence has raised in 18 months.


The firm’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr. Greg Bailey, said: “This has been such an exciting six months for Juvenescence. We have been able to add extraordinary people to the Juvenescence team who will bring our age modifying therapeutics to market.

“We have also augmented our team working on using machine learning for drug discovery and for drug development: culminating with closing on this $100 Million Series B financing which provides us with sufficient working capital to progress many of our programs to their initial inflection points.”

Jim Mellon, Dr. Greg Bailey and Dr. Declan Doogan founded Juvenescence.

The Juvenescence team is highly experienced drug developers, entrepreneurs and investors with a significant history of success in the life sciences sector.

Juvenescence will create, partner with or invest in new companies with longevity-related therapeutics, by in-licensing compounds from academia and industry, or forming joint ventures to develop therapeutics for longevity.

Juvenescence believes that recent advances in science have greatly improved our understanding of the biology of ageing and seeks to develop therapeutics with the possibility of slowing, halting or potentially reversing elements of ageing.

Jim Mellon, chair of Juvenescence, added: “We have recruited a group of sophisticated shareholders from around the world to further our common mission of improving human healthy lifespan.

“Juvenescence has now raised more money that any comparable company, which is testament to the depth of our team and the range of opportunities that we have assembled, in partnership with scientist/entrepreneurs and research institutions.

“As the science of longevity becomes mainstream, we expect significant investor interest and at some point, we anticipate taking Juvenescence public to further accelerate our development.”

How might scientists use telomerase to reverse the process of ageing? Scientists decoded an enzyme thought to halt ageing in plants, animals and humans as part of a recent breakthrough study.

Unravelling the structure of the complex enzyme, called telomerase, could lead to drugs that slow or block the ageing process, along with new treatments for cancer, researchers reported in the journal Nature in April.

Elated scientists announced the completion of a 20-year quest to map the enzyme thought to forestall ageing by repairing the tips of chromosomes.

“It has been a long time coming,” lead investigator Kathleen Collins, a molecular biologist at the University of California in Berkeley, said in a statement.

“Our findings provide a structural framework for understanding human telomerase disease mutations, and represent an important step towards telomerase-related clinical therapeutics.”

Part protein and part RNA (genetic material that relays instructions for building proteins) telomerase acts on microscopic sheaths, known as telomeres, that cover the tips of the chromosomes found inside all cells.

In humans, each cell contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, including one pair of sex chromosomes – the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ – that differ between males and females.

Australian-American biologist Elizabeth Blackburn, who shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering telomeres and their protective function in the 1970s, likened them to the tiny plastic caps that keep shoelaces from fraying.

Eventually, however, shoelace tips and telomeres do break down: every time a cell divides the telomeres get worn a little bit more, until the cell stops dividing and dies. This, biologists agree, is probably central to the natural ageing process.


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