We only fight with death, and you? Or companies that develop fantastic medicine.


    Hi, Habr!

    I want to talk about companies engaged in development and research in the field of age-related and aging diseases. It seems to me that it is necessary to draw people's attention to the problems of medicine, health care and aging in general, since these problems bring enormous harm to humanity in all its spheres. Aging and death are those things that unite humanity, no matter what your world view, material condition, status, race, age or health. Immediately I warn you that many new and incomprehensible terms may come up ahead, even though I tried to decipher all these terms.

    1. Human longevity. Country: USA | Funding: $ 300M


    Human Longevity is a company founded in 2013 in San Diego. The company aims to create the largest and most complete database of human genotypes, phenotypes and clinical data. HLI develops and applies large-scale computing and machine learning in order to improve medical practice. On the basis of this organization, there is Health Nucleus, a clinical research center that positions itself as the leading platform for collecting health information. Anyone can write to this center, and in a moment you will be answered and told about everything that they can do with you. So, for only $ 5500 and in 3-4 hours you will be fully tested. Data collection includes:

    - Complete sequencing of your genome;
    - MRI of the whole body;
    - MRI of the brain (for some reason, separately, perhaps this is a special type of MRI);
    - CT of the coronary artery;
    - Laboratory blood test;
    - Analysis of body composition.

    In addition, for a surcharge of $ 800, you can still get something from this:

    - MRI of the heart;
    - Multipurpose DNA analysis for predisposition to colon cancer;
    - Wireless heart rate monitoring.

    After this analysis, you will be advised on the next steps to control your health. All this, of course, only for residents of the United States.

    2. Celularity. Country: USA | Funding: $ 290M


    Biotechnology company, which develops and introduces cellular medicine (cell therapy) in order to use new methods for the treatment of autoimmune and degenerative diseases, immuno-oncology and functional regeneration. The methods are based on the use of stem cells derived from the placenta. Currently, there are already products on the market: BIOVANCE - allograft (a common name for drugs and drugs intended for the transplantation of organs and tissues), intended for use as a biological membrane membrane that preserves the extracellular matrix (tissue substances that are outside the cell) and supports the restoration of damaged tissue, consists of amniotic (placental) cells; Interfyl is also an allotransplant, which is also based on placenta cells, and is also used for tissue regeneration.

    3. BlueRock Therapeutics. Country: Canada | Funding: $ 225M


    The company was founded in 2016. The main goal is the development of regenerative drugs for intractable diseases. The company is developing the Cell + Gene platform, which is designed for the production and supply of native cellular and engineering cellular therapies. They use pluripotent stem cells for development (i.e., cells that can eventually differentiate into all types of cells except the placenta and yolk sac).

    4. Unity Biotechnology. Country: USA | Funding: $ 208.3M


    The main objective of the company - the elimination of accumulated senescent cells (senescent cells (SnCs)). Treatment methods are being developed to selectively eliminate aging cells in order to stop, slow down or reverse age-related disease and restore tissue to a more functional and healthy state. More specifically, the company has a pipeline with the following areas: treatment of the human musculoskeletal system (focus on osteoarthritis), treatment of ophthalmologic diseases (a product codenamed UBX1967, which is an inhibitor of specific members of the Bcl-2 apoptosis regulatory proteins family ) (suppress apoptosis) .

    5. Osiris Therapeutics. Country: USA | Funding: $ 65M


    Osiris Therapeutics is a stem cell company for regenerative medicine aimed at treating inflammatory, cardiovascular, orthopedic diseases and wound healing. The following products already exist:

    Grafix - a cryopreserved placental membrane consisting of extracellular matrix (collagen, fibroblasts, mesenchymal stem cells, epithelial cells);

    Cartiform - allograft of articular cartilage repair;

    BIO4 - is a bone matrix consisting of mesenchymal stem cells, osteoblasts and osteoprogenator cells (cells that form osteoblasts);

    Stravix is ​​a cryopreserved placental tissue.

    6. resTORbio. Country: USA | Funding: $ 65M


    The company was founded in 2016. In the company name you can see the abbreviation TOR. I will not bother too much and take the definition from Wikipedia: "The target of mammalian rapamycin(English target of rapamycin (TOR); mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR); FK506 binding protein 12-rapamycin associated protein 1 (FRAP1)) - serine-threonine specificity kinase, which exists in the cell as a subunit of intracellular multimolecular signal complexes TORC1 and TORC2. As part of these complexes, TOR regulates cell growth and survival. The TORC1 complex is the target of the immunosuppressant rapamycin (this explains the name of the protein "rapamycin target"). "Studies have been carried out that proved the effect of mTOR on aging. That is, aging is not only cellular wear, but also complex specific intracellular processes, one of which is mTOR. In addition, TORC1 presumably affects various body systems regarding the aging of these systems. However, TORC2 works the other way around, that is, it reduces life expectancy. This company has developed a method in which mTOR “tunes to the mode” of TORC1 inhibition without inhibiting TORC2.

    7. Alkahest. Country: USA | Funding: $ 50M


    The company is developing a therapy aimed at working with human blood components. The company has identified specific proteins (chronokines) that increase with aging, as well as those that decrease with aging. Chronokines, which reduce the likelihood of developing age-related diseases, are candidates for replacement or supplement, while “bad” chronokines are supposed to be inhibited or deleted. Currently, the company is developing two drugs, code-named AKST / GRF6019 and AKST4290.

    8. Calico. Country: USA | Funding: $ 1.5B


    Calico (California life company) is a company owned by Alphabet, whose mission is to use advanced technology to improve the understanding of biology that controls longevity. The company is suitable with an interdisciplinary and long-term focus on research. Founded in 2013. Probably it would be worth talking about more.

    9. Alzheon. Country: USA | Funding: $ 37M


    Alzheon is developing a drug codenamed ALZ-801, which, according to current research, is well tolerated and can slow the course of the disease in Alzheimer's patients.

    10. Neuraly. Country: USA | Funding: $ 36M

    Neuraly is a subsidiary of the biotech company at Johns Hopkins Medical School and is committed to providing the first disease modifying agent for neurodegenerative disorders and aging.

    11. Elysium. Country: USA | Funding: $ 28M

    The main goal of the company is to solve problems in the field of healthcare with the help of science. At the moment, there are various studies that are related to the physiology of the skin, microbiome, muscles, cognitive functions and circadian rhythm.

    12. Nuritas. Country: Ireland | Funding: € 23.9M

    Nuritasuses artificial intelligence and genomics for research on so-called bioactive peptides. Bioactive peptides (BP) are organic substances formed by amino acids linked by covalent bonds, known as amide or peptide bonds. Although some BPs exist for free in their natural source, the vast majority of known BPs are encoded in the structure of the parent proteins and are released mainly by enzymatic processes. Some BP were obtained by chemical synthesis. PD plays an important role in human health by acting on the digestive, endocrine, cardiovascular, immune and nervous systems. BP is considered to be the biologically active regulators of the new generation; they can prevent oxidation and microbial degradation in food,

    13. Samumed. Country: USA.

    The work of the company directions on the fight against cancer and research in regenerative medicine. There is a so-called Wnt signaling pathway, which is one of the intracellular signaling pathways that regulates cell embryogenesis and the development of malignant tumors. Samumed develops treatments for diseases based on the management of this signaling pathway. The company has already discovered many new biological processes related to the Wnt pathway, identified new biological targets and developed low molecular weight drugs that affect Wnt activity.

    14. Bioquark. Country: USA


    Bioquark is a very ambitious research company. They directly state that they are fighting death, fatal diseases and aging in general. The most interesting is that the company conducts research on the regeneration of the body, even after death. That is, you can say that they want to start raising people from the dead. It sounds fantastic, but however someone is already trying to do it (or at least trying to talk about it on a serious level). Of course, it is possible that all this is just a marketing ploy, but even if this is the case, then attention to the problems highlighted by them can only increase, which will definitely affect the awareness of a large number of people of these problems in the field of medicine and society.

    15. Insilico Medicine. Country: USA / Russia


    A company that deals with the processes of research and development of drugs (drug development), as well as aging research, with the help of state-of-art machine learning achievements. Its founder, Alexander Zhavoronkov, is a scientist working in the field of biotechnology, regenerative medicine and the economics of aging.

    16. Telomere Diagnostics. Country: USA


    Telomere Diagnostics, Inc. Is a privately held molecular testing company founded in 2010 by a group of four scientists, including Dr. Elizabeth Blackburn, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2009 for her groundbreaking work in the field of telomere biology. The company recently launched TeloYears, a simple genetic test that detects the cell age encoded in your DNA so you can know how old you are. With age, telomeres shorten. To measure the length of telomeres, the company has developed its own method for quantitative analysis of polymerase chain reaction.


    Why precisely telomeres? DNA is the building block of life and is found in almost every cell of all living things “packed” into chromosomes. As is known, in humans, each of the cells (except germ cells) contains 46 chromosomes. In order for the organism to grow and function, the cells must divide and produce new cells in order to replace the old ones. During cell division, it is important that the chromosomes remain intact and evenly distributed between the cells. Telomeres are the end sections of chromosomes that perform a protective function in the same way that the tips of the laces protect them from disentangling. With each cell division, telomeres lose most of their telomeric DNA, the cell does not multiply and dies. Thus, the loss of telomeric DNA during each cell division acts as hours of aging throughout the life of the cell.

    17. Oisin Biotechnologies. Country: USA


    As mentioned above, aging of an organism is a consequence of cell aging. Oisin Biotechnologies is developing methods for the purification of aging cells. In 2016, two goals of the organization were achieved: the creation of such a DNA that would recognize and destroy aging cells; safe and efficient delivery of this structure to cells throughout the body. At the moment, the company is engaged in experiments with their developed technology.

    18. Elevian. Country: USA | Funding: $ 5.5M


    Studies have shown that older animals with blood transfusions of young animals experience regeneration in many tissues and organs. The reverse is also true: young animals experience accelerated aging during blood transfusions of older animals. Researchers from Elevianidentified specific circulating factors that may be responsible for these effects. One example, the natural molecule, known as "growth differentiation factor 11" ("GDF11"), when injected into older mice, reproduces the regenerative effects of young blood. GDF11 supplements reduce the age-related hypertrophy of the heart, accelerate the recovery of skeletal muscles, improve physical activity, improve brain function and cerebral blood flow, and also improve metabolism. Elevian develops a range of therapeutic agents that curse GDF11 and other circulating factors in order to restore the body’s natural regenerative capacity, which, we believe, eliminates the underlying cause of age-related diseases.

    19. BioViva. Country: USA


    For me, this is one of the most interesting companies. Their CEO is quite famous woman Elizabeth Parrish, and she is known for becoming the first woman to accept gene therapy. In 2015, Elizabeth conducted two gene therapies. The first was designed to suppress age-related muscle loss caused by a protein called myostatin, which was injected into the muscles of the legs. The average person loses 50% of his muscle mass by the age of 80. This age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia, is associated with many age-related disorders and leads to poor quality and longevity. The second therapy was aimed at preventing telomere shortening. In September 2015, it was revealed that Elizabeth has extremely short telomeres, like a man who is 60 years old. In March 2016, another telomere was measured. It became known that telomeres increased by 10%. This meant that that in just six months, Elizabeth’s cells have become 20 years younger. Gene therapy has restored telomere size to normal. In 2018, the last measurement of telomeres was made, which, as it turned out, increased by another 10% percent of the result of 2016, which is equivalent to the rejuvenation of cells for another 10 years. This result exceeded expectations. First, because so far there have been no negative effects of therapy. That is, cancer did not develop due to the perceived danger of activating the enzyme telomerase. Second, the telomeres continued to grow longer without any additional treatment. The consequence of such changes was the achievement of treatment of muscle degradation: muscle mass has increased and remains stable at a normal level for 3 years. At the moment, it is not completely known whether telomeres increase in all cells of the body.

    The company already has some ready-made products:

    MapMyFitness ($ 299) is a DNA analysis aimed at providing information on diet personalization and training.

    Whole Genome Sequencing ($ 2,199) - complete DNA analysis.

    MapMyHealth ($ 379) is also part of a DNA analysis that focuses on correcting and optimizing lifestyle.

    Research and development continues in the field of gene therapy.

    20. GERO. Country: Russia


    Biotech is a startup and community consisting of people from interdisciplinary areas. At the moment, the company has developed the application Gero Healthspan .

    21. Youthereum Genetics. Country: Russia


    The company was founded by Yuri Deygin . This is probably the most unusual startup at the moment. The company's website contains a pdf file with goals, strategies and explanations about their activities. After reading, it seems to me, there are no questions left. The main goal is to find ways to safely epigenetic rollback (epigenetic reset). I will try to explain what it is. There is a special kind of pluripotent stem cells - Induced pluripotent stem cells.or iPS). Their main property is that they can be induced from an adult cell. The iPSC technology was developed by Sinya Yamanak's laboratory in 2006, which showed that the introduction of four specific genes (Oct-3/4, Sox family, Klf family, Myc family - OSKM) that encodes transcription factors, can turn adult cells into pluripotent cells. For this discovery, Yamanaka was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for 2012. It is assumed that due to this technology it is possible to use the so-called epigenetic reprogramming. What is epigenetic, epigenetic clocks and more, is described in the article by Yuri himself.

    So, I analyzed 21 organizations that deal with age-related diseases and the study of the aging process of the body. Perhaps I have not fully revealed the purpose, research and current state of some of them in more detail. For this, it would be necessary to thoroughly study the history of news and articles released by each company, which could require an enormous amount of time, since at the moment I have no education in medicine, biochemistry, cell biology, and so on. If you are aware of any organizations dealing with such things, I would be glad to know about them. In addition, I will not give up advice on my further path in this area from people who are engaged in similar things (bioinformatics, bioengineers, ML-receivers in medicine and biology, etc).

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