Immune aging and chronic inflammation are linked to various age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegeneration, metabolic syndrome, chronic inflammatory conditions, autoimmunity, and cancer. COVID-19 has further highlighted the importance of immune aging as the factor most determinative of death and disability. Additionally, lung infections from other pathogens remain the fourth leading cause of death globally, while tumors can only spread when the immune system fails to control them. Despite the efficacy of immunotherapy, few companies are targeting the hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) of the bone marrow, which are responsible for producing all blood cells and have the highest replicative capacity of any cell type. Harnessing the immune system is a potent approach in oncology, as evidenced by the immune-oncology (I/O) revolution, which has yielded a Nobel Prize in 2018. However, these methods tend to be "blunt instruments," and few companies are seeking to rejuvenate the entire immune system at the source - the bone marrow and HSCs. HSCs, when rejuvenated in the lab, can extend the healthy lifespan of lab animals up to 30%.
Aims, Hypothesis & Results
ImmuneAGE Bio is a biotech startup aiming to rejuvenate the immune system through its lead compound IA101, which targets HSCs. The company plans to strengthen the IP of IA101 by developing new analogs and identifying the molecular target.
ImmuneAGE's lead program, IA101, is a non-toxic small molecule that can rejuvenate aged HSCs and aged animal immune function with higher efficacy than any molecule previously published. A less potent natural product analog of IA101 has shown efficacy and safety in multiple human clinical trials, which has de-risked clinical development.
The company plans to develop new IA101 analogs to enhance potency and drug-likeness and to identify the molecular target to move towards IND. With ImmuneAGE's unique screening platform, they aim to quickly iterate new candidates to select a final pre-clinical candidate. The company will file intellectual property around the optimized IA101 derivatives discovered from the funding of this project.
ImmuneAge Bio is currently in the pre-clinical stage to develop new IA101 analogs to enhance potency and drug-likeness and to identify the molecular target to move towards IND.
Required Funding: $500k-1M
Duration: 13 months
VitaDAO Board Evaluation Writeup
The proposal for ImmuneAGE Bio has been evaluated by a team of experts, receiving an average score of 4/5. The proposal highlights that ImmuneAGE is the first LongBio company focusing solely on immune aging drug discovery. The lead asset, IA101, has already demonstrated promising in-vivo proof of concept data and outperformed all other HSC immune compounds in the literature. The founder is a prominent entrepreneur in the longevity space, and the team has considerable experience in drug development, immunology, venture capital, and pharma/biotech. The company also has a prestigious investor base at an early stage.
However, there are some risks associated with the proposal. Immune rejuvenation is uncharted territory, and the company needs to prioritize its clinical strategy to focus on the right indication. The target of IA101 is unknown, although the company has plans to identify it. Additionally, life extension in mice may not necessarily translate to humans, as with any other candidate longevity intervention. Finally, the company is still in the early stages and faces financing risks if market conditions weaken, although their pre-seed round was heavily oversubscribed and raised quickly in less than a month.