Astellas-backed Turn Bio is Advancing Epigenetics for Long, Healthy Life Span

Pictured: A corporate building overlooking a freew

Pictured: A corporate building overlooking a freew

Turn Bio’s platform is based on using mRNA technology to develop novel medicines to combat age-related diseases.

Turn Biotechnologies announced Monday morning that it has closed an “oversubscribed” fundraising round primed to usher the company into its next stage of development. Turn Bio’s platform is based on using mRNA technology to develop novel medicines to combat age-related diseases.

Turn Bio made news in January 2021 when it licensed epigenetic reprogramming of age (ERATM) technology from Stanford University. Utilizing mRNA, ERATM restores optimal gene expression, combatting the effects of aging in the epigenome which restores the cells’ ability to prevent or treat disease and heal or regenerate tissue which will help to fight incurable, chronic diseases.

Like many companies, Turn Bio is turning toward mRNA technology to drive its drug development and discovery. Development driven by ERATM proprietary technology has a multitude of benefits.

“Technology based on mRNA is superior to competing technologies for several reasons. It is non-integrative, which means that the genome of the receiving cells is not permanently altered – so we avoid the risk of harmful mutations,” said Vittorio Sebastiano, Ph.D., co-founder of Turn Bio and chair of the Scientific Advisory Board in an interview with BioSpace.

Sebastiano highlighted other benefits including that finely tuned dosing and duration of the therapy are possible using mRNA technology, delivering greater safety and efficacy, and that therapies can be easily produced on a large scale at a low cost, broadening the customer base to which the drug will be available.

Utilizing the ERATM platform also opens the doors to endless opportunities and innovation in the drug development space.

“Our technology is based on a platform and can be used with virtually every tissue in the body. We are currently pursuing target indications in multiple therapeutic areas including dermatology, immunology, ophthalmology, osteo and musculoskeletal,” said Anja Krammer, CEO of Turn Bio, noting that the cell rejuvenation candidates closest to clinical research are indications in dermatology and immunology.

Pipeline candidates are still in the preclinical stage but Krammer is hopeful that the drugs will advance toward to clinic in 2023. The new round of funding, led by Astellas Venture Management, Daewoong Pharmaceuticals and HanAll Biopharma, will support Turn Bio’s advancement toward one of its major milestones, achieving in vivo data results and will allow the company to advance additional indications more rapidly in the pipeline.

Short-term, Turn Bio wants the public to understand the success of its technology in a preclinical setting. Scientists from the company, including Sebastiano, published a paper in Nature Communications in 2019 that provided evidence of the company’s ability to reverse the physiological manifestations of aging and the risk for the development of age-related disease through reprogramming of the epigenome.

“Our long-term goal is to revolutionize medicine for the diseases of aging, to democratize it, making it affordable and impactful for the life quality of elderly individuals. Our goal is not to extend the lifespan of people and reach immortality – we are leaving that to some of our competitors. Our goal is to impact the health span of people, ameliorate their quality of life, allowing them to enjoy their life with family, grandchildren and friends feeling healthy, strong and able to continue to enjoy the things they love, not frail and sick,” Krammer emphasized.

Turn Bio is unique, and not just because it is the first company to demonstrate that epigenetic resetting of aging is possible in human cells. The company champions affordable and personalized precision medicine for each patient. Sebastiano stated that Turn Bio controls the entire process from the development of therapy to enabling the technology that delivers it all the way through to best route of administration. Turn Bio believes in controlling the product from bench to the bedside, making sure patients receive the safest and most effective product possible.

“We believe that we are just at the beginning of an exciting new medical frontier and we are optimistic about the future. We realize that our mission is not easy, but feel confident that our team, community and the dedicated individuals who support our mission will make great things happen in the coming years,” Krammer said.