Cleara Biotech – on a mission to target cellular senescence to extend human healthspan at old age.
Over the coming weeks, we will be bringing you extracts from 7 company profiles from our Longevity Senotherapeutics Report. Each profile includes an assessment of Longevity Potential, Pre-Clinical and Clinical Studies, Technology/platform analysis, Safety and Risks, Target Market and Success Factors.
We also study each company’s IP, team, UVP, product efficacy, competitive advantage, runway and inflection point, and much more. Here’s the lowdown on Cleara Biotech.
Cleara Biotechnology is a R&D company that prides itself in being at the very forefront of the senotherapeutics field due to its unique expertise and deep understanding of the different types of “senescence subpopulations’’ and how they contribute to disease pathology.
Cleara operates under the belief that due to the inherent heterogeneity of different types of senescent cells and their wide range of roles in physiology, a very targeted approach to the selective elimination of the most detrimental types of senescent cells is required. Therefore, Cleara’s mission is “the precise elimination of the most ‘scarred’ (or deleterious) subtypes of senescent cells”. Cleara is discriminatory in its senotherapeutic approach due to its founders’ experience studying the mechanisms and roles of different subtypes of senescence. Deep structural insights into the molecular targets enabled Cleara to design subtype-specific compounds that target these cells. Cleara recognises that a major challenge in the field today is the elucidation of accurate biomarkers to validate the efficacy of senotherapeutics within clinical trials. For this reason, the company leverages advanced structural, molecular and cellular biology, for a detailed understanding of the mechanisms of action of senescence heterogeneity to establish specific biomarkers that may serve to select the right patients and measure target engagement for safe and effective clinical development.
Using know-how on the subtypes of senescent and scarred cells, Cleara develops cell-penetrating peptides and accompanying biomarkers against senescence-driven chronic diseases and cancer. Cleara has elucidated relevant biomarkers and generated preclinical data showing their developmental candidate is especially effective in targeting particular types of aggressive, late-stage cancer and certain chronic diseases. While there is evidence that Cleara’s drug candidates target a number of age-related diseases, the lead indication is in biomarker-driven oncology applications with a high unmet medical need that may allow for accelerated clinical proof of concept. Besides the oncology programme, Cleara is also generating preclinical date for age-related chronic diseases.
Cleara’s ecosystem is a productive mix of academic infrastructure and know-how combined with pharma-expertise in peptide design, drug development and (pre-)clinical development. This provides the company with a comprehensive range of skill sets and partnerships that aids balanced progress in R&D and preclinical development. During their postdoctoral fellowships, Peter de Keizer and Marco Demaria trained in the lab of the senescence pioneer Judith Campisi (Buck Institute, CA, USA), before starting their own labs in the Netherlands and founding Cleara together with founding investor Apollo Health Ventures in 2018. Demaria was the first to show that senescence-elimination in mice ablates cancer metastasis in 2016 and de Keizer designed the first anti-senescence compound, FOXO4-DRI, which restored tissue homeostasis during aging a year later. With the guiding philosophy that “not all senescence is equal, but there are important discriminatory subtypes”, Cleara continues to develop new optimisations and applications of FOXO4-based compounds to target and eliminate specifically damaging sub-populations of senescent cells.
Cleara operates as an umbrella organisation that serves a leading role as the main industrial partner in multiple independent consortia on aging, cancer and senescence, providing the company with valuable know-how. Cleara’s flagship product is a FOXO4-based cell-penetrating peptide that is structurally and chemically optimised to be active against a specific deleterious subtype of senescence. Cleara has also accomplished the critical step of identifying a unique set of senescence-associated biomarkers that predict sensitivity to these peptides and guide patient selection as well as confirm effective treatment. Cleara filed a composition-of-matter patent for its modified FOXO4-based peptides and has a patent for the first surface marker of senescent cells, TSPAN13, which the company is developing for “method of isolation” purposes for pre- and posttreatment detection of senescent cells.
Furthermore, Cleara is identifying new subtypes of senescence, associated pathways and targets, as well as selective compounds that target these pathways to eliminate the senescent subtypes.