Juvenescence has raised the first $46 million (€40 million) tranche of series B financing en route to an anticipated $100 million round. The investment, which values Juvenescence at $400 million, tees the anti-aging startup to advance the multiasset pipeline it has built over the past 18 months toward readouts.
Jim Mellon, a British billionaire biotech investor, created Juvenescence with early Medivation backer Greg Bailey and three others in 2017. Since then, the founders have used their cash and contacts to turbocharge the growth of Juvenescence with $115 million in investment. Juvenescence expects that figure to rise in the coming months when it closes the next tranche of a forecast $100 million round.
The rapid fundraising, and mooted 2019 IPO, reflect Juvenescence’s belief that it is in the early stages of a longevity land grab. By pulling in handfuls of money, Juvenescence has been able to pen a string of deals and position itself to support the programs through to important readouts.
“Our series B financing positions Juvenescence to see all of its existing programmes through a major inflection point, to execute on all our new projects currently in diligence or early discussions and to add more world-class scientists and drug developers to our team,” Bailey, who serves as CEO of the startup, said in a statement.
Juvenescence already has its fingers in lots of pies. Using its early funding, the startup licensed assets from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, bought controlling stakes in AgeX Therapeutics and LyGenesis—a pair of regenerative medicine players—formed artificial intelligence joint ventures with Insilico Medicine and Netramark and invested $10 million in a small molecule senolytics program.
Now, Mellon said Juvenescence plans to “round out” its portfolio over the rest of 2019 and then “move quickly toward commercialization.” Many of the candidates Juvenescence has at stake in are in preclinical stages.