Anti-aging therapeutics have long been a topic for fiction writers rather than pharmacologists. The situation has radically changed today, with aging treatment turning into a more and more realistic opportunity being explored by several recently launched companies ( read our white paper CONFRONTING THE LAW OF NATURE ). Everon’s approach is unique and comprehensive. Its major conceptual and technological cornerstones are summarized below:
Aging is a physiologically programmed process that is pre-determined at the DNA level. Because of that, the onset of systemic physiological decline (frailty) occurs at a genetically defined age that varies across mammalian species.
The accumulation of aging-associated frailty can occur independently of the acquisition of age-related diseases; however, the risk of the latter is increased in a frail organism and can accelerate aging.
Molecular genetic mechanism identified by Everon researchers in partnership with Roswell Park Cancer Institute scientists serves as a program underlying aging. This mechanism explains the gradual accumulation of cellular and extracellular waste products that poison the microenvironment of aging tissues.
The gradual accumulation of waste products with age exhausts the “waste removal” branches of the immune system; this in turn leads to its malfunction and to the development of sterile chronic inflammation.
Aging can be quantitatively measured. Everon has implemented three robust diagnostic tools for detecting changes in physiological age; these tools are essential for assessing the efficacy of anti-aging drugs:
- Frailty Index (FI) as a measure of age-related malfunction of all body components;
- A proprietary bioinformatics tool for the detection of aging biomarkers in DNA samples from somatic cells of human and mouse;
- An optical device combined with subcutaneous diagnostic assay for the functional assessment of objective biological age.
Based on the above, Everon has launched an R&D program aimed at (i) developing pharmacological agents (small molecules and immunotherapeutics) that can block or slow down the generation of age-related waste products, (ii) restoring or facilitating the efficacy of natural mechanisms removing accumulated waste and (iii) creating a diagnostic platform to accurately estimate the severity of aging-related frailty and efficacy of antiaging drugs.
Recently, Everon scientists discovered and patented a new cellular target likely to be the dominant root cause of systemic poisoning and inflammation. This sets the company apart from its main competitors who only pursue senolytics (agents eliminating senescent cells) as potential anti-aging drugs.
Currently, Everon is optimizing several lead compounds: small molecules and biologics that have already demonstrated a rejuvenation effect in aging animals, as measured by a lowered mouse FI (similar FI has recently been accepted by FDA as a measure of aging in the ongoing Metformin human trial). In preliminary experiments, rejuvenated animals live on average 25-30% longer, and this number is expected to increase as optimization continues.
Understanding the molecular genetic mechanisms underlying aging has put the Everon-RPCI alliance into a unique position, enabling them, for the first time, to target the basic foundation of the endogenous aging program and to extend their R&D efforts – from treating or preventing aging-associated health decline – to the treatment and prevention of the aging program itself.