AI, Startups, Venture

Billionaire-backed Juvenescence spins out anti-aging, AI startup Napa Therapeutics

The billionaire-backed startup Juvenescence — best known for its big plans to tackle aging — is spinning out a new company to develop research out of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.

Eric Verdin

The newly formed venture, called Napa Therapeutics, is developing tech from the labs of Eric Verdin, the Buck Institute’s president and CEO. The work is in nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) metabolism, with Napa holding rights to the tech and IP from the institute.

The duo is working with Insilico, an AI company and portfolio partner of Juvenescence’s, to identify molecular targets and find novel compounds for Napa to develop and commercialize.

“This is a unique opportunity to use cutting-edge AI to accelerate drug discovery,” Verdin said in a statement.

Insilico stands to earn $100 million in milestones should the program be successful.

Greg Bailey

When Juvenescene got started a year ago, the anti-aging biotech laid out goals to develop several programs in the field. The company is guided by some big names in biotech, including Declan Doogan and Greg Bailey. You might know Bailey as 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. And Doogan, a former top Pfizer exec, came in as a principal at Juvenescence alongside billionaire Jim Mellon.

Declan Doogan

So far, the company has raised at least $63 million to develop up its pipeline and spinouts, but Bailey told Endpoints last year that he expects to raise hundreds of millions to achieve his goals. The company has funded Napa’s launch, but they aren’t saying how much capital was infused.

Bailey had this to say of their latest venture:

To me this is another big step in the evolving process of using AI with HI (human intelligence) to extract the best of both systems. Napa Therapeutics lets Juvenescence deepen our collaboration with the Buck Institute and with Insilico Medicine. We hope to shorten the time required to identify molecules that can be brought to the clinic and most importantly help patients.

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