Juvenescence raises $100M to fund longevity assets to early readouts

Juvenescence has raised $100 million (€90 million) to advance multiple anti-aging programs. The U.K. company, which was co-founded by Jim Mellon, has reeled in $165 million over 18 months to establish itself at the forefront of the nascent longevity sector.

After setting up shop in the fall of 2017, Juvenescence set out to establish a network of companies working in areas related to longevity, leading it to form alliances with artificial intelligence startups, invest in biotechs and license assets. The deals and investments have given Juvenescence a stake in programs targeting a range of disease pathways linked to aging and age-related diseases.

Having put that platform in place, Juvenescence has raised its biggest round yet to support assets as they move into the clinic and toward the data that could provide early validation of their potential.

Juvenescence CEO Greg Bailey, who co-founded the company with Mellon and Declan Doogan, said the series B provides the company “with sufficient working capital to progress many of our programs to their initial inflection points.” Juvenescence was founded with the intent to provide funding up to value inflection points and then return capital to shareholders by selling or outlicensing assets. 

LyGenesis, an organ regeneration startup, is among the more advanced of the companies supported by Juvenescence. When LyGenesis secured $3 million in series A funding from Juvenescence in May 2018, it said the cash would support final preclinical work ahead of planned clinical trials in patients with end-stage liver disease. Other companies in Juvenescence’s portfolio are also nearing inflection points.

Those inflection points will be important moments for Juvenescence and the wider longevity field. While Juvenescence has raised significant sums of money, the likelihood of longevity R&D living up to the life extension claims of its advocates continues to provoke a degree of skepticism in parts of the biopharma industry. 

Juvenescence has looked beyond traditional biotech venture capitalists for sizable chunks of its money. The series B was built on $10 million commitments from each of Juvenescence’s four cornerstone investors. The cornerstone backers include the investment companies of entrepreneurs who made their money in software and electronic financial markets. Juvenescence’s founders collectively invested $10 million.

To execute its plans to develop 12 healthy aging candidates, Juvenescence will likely need to raise more money from a larger number of backers at some point. Juvenescence has previously expressed an interest in raising money via an IPO in 2019, although in the series B Mellon said the current plan is to go public “at some point.”