AgeX keeps defying time, coming through another quarter despite multiyear cash crunch

If Juvenescence is as adept at extending the life spans of humans as it appears to be for biotechs, we might all live forever. AgeX Therapeutics, a biotech backed by the longevity specialist, continues to defy Father Time, ending yet another quarter with less than $1 million in the bank and repeating its well-worn going concern warning. 

California-based AgeX lists two cell therapies, designed to treat cardiac ischemia and age-related metabolic disorders such as Type 2 diabetes, and a drug formulation in its preclinical pipeline, as it has done for years. Other than dropping a reformulation project, the biotech has made no changes to its publicly disclosed pipeline since at least May 2019.

The pipeline stasis covers a period in which the ax has permanently hung over AgeX. In November 2019, the biotech warned investors its cash “may not be sufficient” to meet its requirements for the next 12 months. One year later, AgeX’s cash reserves fell below $1 million. 

Almost three years after seeing its cash drop below $1 million, and almost four years after warning it might not last another 12 months, AgeX has published another set of quarterly results that report cash is running low and time could be running out. The biotech ended June with the same amount as it had three months earlier, just $300,000. 

A series of loans from Juvenescence has enabled AgeX to keep going. The sum owed to Juvenescence stood at $33 million at the end of June. The next month, the two sides struck a deal that allowed AgeX to issue shares in exchange for $36 million of indebtedness. AgeX owed Juvenescence $1.2 million as of the end of last week and could borrow another $2 million by the end of October. 

The cash could support AgeX through a period in which it restructures the business. AgeX is considering merging with Serina Therapeutics in a deal that would see the longevity biotech emerge as the surviving company. Spinning off the Reverse Bio subsidiary is also on the cards. Michael West, Ph.D., recently stepped down as AgeX CEO but agreed to lead Reverse Bio until the end of October.