Rejuvinate Bio is a gene therapy startup that seeks to reverse aging. In response to emailed questions, CEO and Co-founder Daniel Oliver talked about how he and his co-founders started the company and their vision for treating age-related conditions.
Why did you start this company?
The idea was formed in the George Church lab at Harvard Medical School. Our Co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer Noah Davidsohn was doing his postdoc in George’s lab where he got his dog Bear, his best friend. He immediately decided that he needed to make him live a longer healthier life because 10-12 years just isn’t long enough.
Noah realized that these treatments were applicable across both animal and human health. As the science progressed, it was clear that the only way to properly advance this technology and create novel therapeutics to help both pets and human patients was to form a company to move it from the bench to the bedside — and into the real world. I joined from another startup to help commercialize Rejuvenate Bio’s current technology.
How did you meet your co-founder?
We are friends from college at Caltech. We met at a point in life where the most important thing on our minds was making sure we got our applied mathematics class problem sets done before Thursday so we could hang out with our friends! We have been friends ever since, and we luckily took complimentary paths where Noah went the traditional science route and I went to business school.
What need/problem are you seeking to address in healthcare?
Aging costs our healthcare system in the U.S. $1.3 trillion dollars annually. Aging is driven by a dysregulation in gene expression. You have the same DNA the day you are born as you do the day you die, but what genes are turned on or off change dramatically through time. These changes can be beneficial. They drive one through development and leave people in early adulthood, but there is no evolutionary mechanism to keep these systems regulated long term. That is why we see very similar changes in gene regulation patterns across humans and subsequently see similar prevalence of age-related conditions.
What does your technology do?
At Rejuvenate Bio, we are using combination gene therapy to reverse aging in people, increasing their quality of life while treating multiple age-related conditions. Rejuvenate Bio is creating gene therapies to address issues of gene expression. By utilizing gene therapy Rejuvenate Bio can precisely deliver genetic material to patients to re-regulate certain genes whose expression levels change through age.
Rejuvenate Bio’s technology originated in the lab of co-founder George Church, Ph.D., as part of co-founder Noah’s postdoctoral research into the genetics of aging. Our initial pipeline products are based on three longevity genes with proven efficacy and unprecedented safety profiles validated by big pharma: FGF21, sTGFβR2, and αKlotho are the cornerstone of Rejuvenate Bio’s approach. They have previously been shown to increase health and lifespan in mice that were bred to overexpress them. By delivering combinations of these three genes we have treated multiple models of age-related disease, heart failure, kidney failure, diabetes and obesity in mice and heart failure and obesity in large animals.
We have also created key tools for the delivery and control of epigenetic modifying factors that hold the promise of re-regulating the entire gene expression profile.
What is your lead therapeutic?
RJB-01 is a combination liver directed AAV gene therapy that expresses the secreted factors FGF21 and TgfBr2. RJB-01 has shown the ability to increase heart function and decrease damage against three types of heart failure in animals. RJB-01 has also been shown to have positive metabolic effects across both mice and dogs. RJB-01 will initially go into cynical trials for Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy(ARVC) and Familial Partial Lipodystrophy (FPL). As RJB-01 enters clinical trials for humans, a canine version will become available for the treatment of Mitral Valve Disease in dogs through a partnership with Phibro Animal Health.
Do you have any clinical validation of your product?
We’ve conducted extensive preclinical studies in mice and dogs. We now have more than two years of safety data in dogs as well as multiple experiments demonstrating the efficacy of the treatment in both cardiac and metabolic conditions.
What are your upcoming milestones?
We are driving towards initial clinical trials with RJB-01 and commercialization of the canine version of RJB-01.