Human longevity has been a rapidly growing field for years now, with pet longevity also gaining more attention. After all, who wants to live longer if they can’t share their life with their beloved animal companions? A new company is looking to capitalize on both of these trends by developing effective therapies for everyone (https://longevity.technology/news/swiss-longevity-company-epiterna-exits-stealth-to-tackle-aging/).
The company in question is Epiterna, which was launched in 2022 and is only just emerging from stealth mode. Its ethos is simple. New drugs should be safe, effective and affordable. To achieve this, it’s focusing on what are known as small molecule drugs, those that already have approval for treating humans or indeed animals. Their existing approval and less complex production enable quicker, cheaper and easier manufacturing and distribution.
Alejando Ocampo, one of the cofounders and current CEO of Epiterna, started studying aging during his PhD. He demonstrated the ability of epigenetic programming to improve longevity in mice while working at the Salk Institute, then founded a laboratory of his own at the University of Lausanne. That’s 15 years of experience.
His cofounder is Kevin Perez, holder of a PhD in computational biology. His experience also includes work at the University of Lausanne and time at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. Now he’s Epiterna’s head of research.
With the help of a team of experts, they’re focusing not just on trying to cure one or two age-related diseases but on addressing the impact of the aging process as a whole, treating it as the underlying cause of many health problems. Epiterna is already able to test thousands of medicines every year at the cellular and molecular level on yeast, worms, flies, fish and mice, all using gold standard animal models.
Modern technology, including automation, will allow Epiterna to evaluate even more potential therapies. Then it will scale up to larger animals, with plans for its first clinical trial on dogs. Clinical trials for human treatments are also not far into the future. Regulatory authorities like the European Medicines Agency will be involved to ensure safe and responsible development.
Rigorous clinical trials will be vital to Epiterna’s success, but the plan is to ensure they can be run efficiently in terms of time and cost. The $10 million investment that allows Epiterna to do this work will soon be put to use.