NewLimit, a biotechnology company focused on combatting aging, has completed a $40 million Series A funding round led by Dimension, Founders Fund, and Kleiner Perkins. Several prominent tech entrepreneurs including Eric Schmidt, Elad Gil, Garry Tan, and Fred Ehrsam also participated in the capital raise.
This fresh funding will support NewLimit’s efforts to develop products that can epigenetically reprogram cells to treat the effects of aging. The company believes this approach could treat or prevent age-related diseases such as fibrosis, infectious diseases, and neurodegenerative conditions. This $40 million check comes on top of the founders’ initial $110 million commitment that demonstrated their confidence in NewLimit’s approach.
Many investors shy away from funding high-risk projects focused on transforming fields like aging biology. However, aging is the primary driver of human disease. NewLimit hopes its epigenetic reprogramming platform can spur other groups to further advance the field of aging research and drug development.
NewLimit has raised $150 million thus far. The company is backed by Brian Armstrong, the co-founder of the successful cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, and Blake Byers, a former general partner at GV and the head of Byers Capital, a venture capital firm specializing in tech and biotech.
Turning Old Cells into Young Ones – That’s What NewLimit Aims to Achieve
In an interview with TechCrunch, Armstrong and Byers emphasized that the company is still at an early research stage. They are currently focused on understanding how epigenetics drive aging and how they can reprogram cells to reverse the effects of aging.
Byers explained that, while many factors contribute to aging, they believe epigenetics plays a major role. Experiments in mice have shown that reprogramming old cells can reverse biological aging and extend humans’ lifespans. NewLimit aims to replicate this in humans by reprogramming immune cells and other cell types like liver and brain cells.
The roadmap initially involves basic research to identify transcription factors that can turn old cells young again. They are beginning with immune T cells to make the immune systems of older people more functional. However, the specific cell types and products they will develop remain to be seen.
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NewLimit is generating its own data by performing experiments that insert human transcription factors into cells and measuring how the cells change. There are potentially 10^10 different combinations of transcription factors to test, providing a large search space for their research. They source donor cells like T cells from blood donations with consent from donors.
While Armstrong acknowledged criticisms that anti-aging research mainly benefits the rich, he argued that funding biotech research to address major diseases and improve human health is important. Byers added that increased lifespans have been largely positive so far and give people more time with loved ones.
What is the Scientific Basis and Approach that NewLimit Plans to Adopt?
NewLimit aims to develop therapies for age-related diseases by reprogramming the epigenome of aged cells to restore their youthful state and function. They plan to leverage the latest technologies in epigenetics, single-cell analysis, and artificial intelligence to gain insights into the molecular changes that occur with cellular aging.
The startup will use biohacking tools to reprogram the epigenome of cells, which contains the instructions that determine cell function and regenerative potential. As cells age, their epigenome changes, leading to a loss of function. NewLimit plans to make aged cells young to reverse the effects of aging.
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Meanwhile, single-cell genomics profiling will provide molecular-level data on the epigenetic changes that occur as cells age and how reprogramming affects those changes. Combined with epigenetic editing and CRISPR technology, single-cell analysis will enable NewLimit to test thousands of reprogramming hypotheses through large-scale experiments.
Finally, machine learning models based on single-cell data will help NewLimit interpret cellular aging at a molecular level. The models will also prioritize the most informative experiments to advance NewLimit’s understanding of aging biology and improve their reprogramming interventions. This applied machine learning technology aims to maximize the value of NewLimit’s experimental efforts.
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