When Juvenescence got started a year ago, the anti-aging biotech had some big names attached but not big cash. Today, they’re starting to seriously make up for the gap.
The company, guided by Declan Doogan, Greg Bailey, Annalisa Jenkins, Jim Mellon and others, says it has rounded up $50 million from an unspecified set of “founders, insiders, institutional investors and family offices.” That brings the total raise now to $63 million.
Juvenescence has been building a set of portfolio collaborators that includes Insilico Medicine, Alex Zhavoronkov’s AI group that just raised some millions of its own. They have also struck up a partnership with the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, and plan to add to some additional pacts later in the year.
Bailey, the CEO of Juvenescence, was one of the early backers of Medivation, where he was a board director for 7 years — before Pfizer stepped in to buy the biotech for $14 billion. Declan Doogan, a former top Pfizer research exec, came in as a principal to the new venture alongside billionaire Mellon and Bailey.
They’ve brought on Annalisa Jenkins as the COO. Jenkins played a major role at Bristol-Myers, later jumping to head of R&D at Merck KGaA and then on to run her own biotech, which ran into trouble with the lead program and was bought out by Ultragenyx.
And they’ve all been thinking big.
Like a number of up-and-coming biotechs, Juvenescence is focused on a medley of therapeutics, diagnostics and devices that can start to bat back the effects of aging, offering better living to a longer life. It’s not going to be easy or fast. But the partners definitely want it to be impactful.
“I think this is going to be the biggest deal I’ve ever done,” Bailey told me back in July. “It will need repetitive financing. Five to $600 million was raised for Medivation. As we hit inflection points, we will need to raise a dramatic amount of money.”
In an interview with the Financial Times, Mellon noted that the biotech plans to raise another $100 million this year and then add on fresh funds from an IPO in 2019.
“We aim to have about 20 shots on this goal — longevity science — and if we get two or three of them right, there will be a very good return to shareholders,” Mellon told the FT.
This isn’t a dramatic money story yet, but it’s pretty good for the first act.
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