New Series C investors include EcoR1 Capital Fund, 6 Dimensions Capital and Altitude Life Science Ventures. Also participating are existing investors Fidelity Management & Research Company, Baillie Gifford, Partner Fund Management, Pivotal Alpha Limited, Invus Opportunities, ARCH Venture Partners, Venrock, Founders Fund and the Longevity Fund. Proceeds from this financing will be used to advance the company's lead senolytic drug candidates into human clinical trials.
"With a focus on extending human healthspan, UNITY has developed a portfolio of programs targeting specific biological mechanisms implicated in diseases of aging," said Keith Leonard, chairman and chief executive officer of UNITY Biotechnology. "With this latest round of financial support, UNITY is on track to file its first Investigational New Drug application and initiate a clinical study during the first half of this year for the potential treatment of osteoarthritis."
About Cellular Senescence and Senolytic Medicines
Cellular senescence is a natural biological state in which a cell permanently halts division. As senescent cells accumulate with age, they begin secreting large quantities of more than 100 proteins, including inflammatory factors, proteases, fibrotic factors and growth factors that disturb the tissue microenvironment. This collection of secreted proteins is referred to as the Senescence Associated Secretory Phenotype, or SASP. In addition to its effects on tissue function, the SASP contains factors that induce senescence in neighboring cells, setting off a cascade of events that culminates in the formation of the functionally aged and/or diseased tissue that underlies a variety of age-associated diseases. UNITY believes the elimination of senescent cells will remove SASP factors—addressing a root cause of diseases of aging. By stopping SASP production at its source, medicines that remove senescent cells, known as senolytic medicines, may have a more durable impact on disease and could slow, halt or reverse particular diseases of aging.
About UNITY Biotechnology
UNITY Biotechnology is developing therapeutics to extend healthspan by slowing, halting or reversing diseases of aging. UNITY's initial focus is on creating senolytic medicines to selectively eliminate senescent cells and thereby treat age-related diseases, such as osteoarthritis, eye diseases and pulmonary diseases.