Rejuveron Life Sciences AG (‘Rejuveron’), a Zürich-based biotechnology company developing therapies to promote healthy aging, today announced that it will ultimately acquire a majority shareholding in Rejuvenate Biomed NV (‘Rejuvenate’), a Belgium-based biomedical company developing novel combination drugs for age-related diseases.
The EUR 15.7 million Series B funding, led by Rejuveron and Luxembourg-based Vesalius Biocapital, is being used to accelerate the clinical development of Rejuvenate’s lead candidate RJx-01 in both acute and chronic sarcopenia (disuse-induced and age-related muscle failure).
Rejuvenate aims to increase people’s healthy years of life by translating the science behind what keeps cells vital and resilient into human therapeutics. The company has developed a proprietary in silico screening platform that uses an approach based on artificial intelligence and network biology to investigate dysregulated pathways in aging. With this platform, Rejuvenate is able to evaluate if safe, marketed treatments can be used as synergistic drug combinations to impact upon these pathways, maintaining our natural cellular resilience and postponing the onset of certain age-related diseases.
Rejuvenate’s lead drug candidate RJx-01 is a novel, small molecule, combination product identified using the company’s in silico platform. RJx-01 is being developed for the treatment of acute and chronic sarcopenia, a muscle disease defined by the loss of muscle strength, quality, and mass. There is a huge unmet medical need in sarcopenia: the disease affects 50% of elderly and rehabilitation patients, and there is no approved therapy on the market.
In vivo studies with RJx-01 have demonstrated the treatment’s ability to improve muscle mass and strength, as well as beneficial effects in the prevention and treatment of other age-related diseases. Rejuvenate’s Series B will now be used to advance RJx-01 through a Belgian Phase Ib clinical trial and an international multicenter Phase IIb trial. The funds will also go towards exploring the treatment’s potential in other diseases, as well as further developing the company’s in silico screening platform and pipeline of other drug candidates.
Dr. Matthias Steger, PhD, MBA, CEO of Rejuveron said: “Over the past four years, the Rejuvenate team has demonstrated that its approach can be used to develop new patent-protected combination drugs based on known prescription medicines. This platform has resulted in a promising first drug candidate, with the wider application being to deliver therapeutics with a meaningful impact on the treatment and prevention of multiple age-related diseases by tackling their root causes. This strikes right at the heart of Rejuveron’s purpose: making therapies happen for people to stay healthier for longer.”
Dr. Ann Beliën, PhD, Founder and CEO of Rejuvenate said: “This investment is more to us than a financial deal: it is the result of Vesalius Biocapital’s unrelenting belief in what we do, and the backing of Rejuveron, a company with which we share a fully aligned vision and complementary expertise. This investment will result in an intense collaboration between the Rejuveron and Rejuvenate teams, lifting us all to the next level. Becoming a clinical-stage company is a key milestone for us, and we could not have reached this point without the dedication of our excellent team and the continued support of our investors. We look forward to a future where products from our platform help people live healthier lives.”
Mr. Stéphane Verdood, MBA, MSc, Managing Partner at Vesalius Biocapital III said: “Vesalius Biocapital III has supported Rejuvenate since the company’s inception. Its excellent scientific basis, sound clinical approach and strong management team convinced us to invest at an early stage of development. The current round will allow Rejuvenate to reach proof of concept in an underserved medical area, and we are pleased that Rejuveron shares this drive.”