Life science company Longevica said Wednesday it is launching an open research tool so scientists and research institutions can access a data set that tracks the effects of more than 1,000 pharmacological compounds for testing drugs.
This is the latest effort from the biotechnology company, which is researching mechanisms of healthy aging and life extension. To do this, the company took in $2.5 million in funding led by Xploration Capital.
In April, Longevica announced the launch of a line of supplements based on its research. The company got its start more than 11 years ago and has now raised over $15.5 million in funding from investors, including Alexander Chikunov, a longevity investor, who is also president of the company.
When the company emerged from stealth, it was primarily focused on finding the best ways to leverage the results of its research as soon as possible and bringing some consumer-ready products to market, Longevica co-founder and CEO Ainar Abdrakhmanov told TechCrunch via email.
“We still move along this path, which includes screening and trials; however, through a series of deep interviews, we found that most scientists in the longevity space lack infrastructure, and we decided to share our internal engine to leverage more research through partnerships and by giving researchers a data platform for their work,” he added.
Living longer is an area that other companies are working in as well, for both humans and pets. The global anti-aging drugs market was valued at nearly $8 billion in 2020 and is projected to double by 2027.
Meanwhile, Crunchbase News took a look at the status of longevity startups in July and found over 30 operating in the space that collectively raised billions of dollars. A more recent example is Loyal, which raised $27 million to examine longer lives in animals with a long-term vision of translating that into human longevity.
Longevica itself started fundraising when it came up with the idea of the end-to-end open research platform. The new funding will go toward supporting the platform’s development and integration of the company’s research data set.
The goal is to validate the pipeline of turning scientific research into consumer-ready products, Abdrakhmanov said.
“There’s a lot of hypotheses around ageing and lifespan, but there’s a clear bottleneck in actually testing those ideas to figure out who might be right,” he added. “Our platform should help the scientific community get a bit closer to the answers.”
Its original study, led by Chikunov and Longevica co-founder Dr. Alexey Ryazanov, tested 1,033 compounds and showed significant life extension properties. The company is close to publishing a peer-reviewed paper on that study. Abdrakhmanov called it “more of a moonshot project,” but also that this direction could bring results much sooner and be beneficial for the entire industry, something its investors were able to see, he added.
Armed with the new research capabilities, Longevica will now go deeper into testing 300 of those compounds with a new research study at Jackson Laboratory. In January, the company will also begin collecting applications from researchers interested in testing their drugs in a full-scale pharmacological screening experiment that will begin in June 2022.
“Also in January, we will start a public database including marked up data on most longevity-related experiments on mice, both public and some which haven’t been published yet,” Abdrakhmanov said. “The entire platform will be free and open source, even its program code will be publicly available on GitHub.”