Leveraging technology and information to address the damage created by the aging process itself.
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 Oisín.
To view a full size version of Oisín’s profile please click here.
Founded in 2014, Oisín Biotechnologies is a platform drug development company that had an initial goal of producing a senolytic platform that could kill senescent cells without using toxic drugs and causing significant collateral damage. Most senolytics are repurposed chemotherapeutics that kill cells rather indiscriminately based on certain metabolic characteristics. “The challenge in the field is to develop drugs that selectively kill aberrant cells without causing unacceptable harm to the patient.” Oisín’s lodestar is that the essence of life is information – chemistry is just a substrate.
“For the bulk of human history we have treated illness with plants and prayers, small molecule drugs and rituals. It is only relatively recently that science and medicine have really endeavoured to treat diseases by manipulating information in life, and the results have already been astounding. In the case of senolytics, using genetic approaches to take targeting out of the realm of chemistry and into the realm of information allows for a degree of selectivity that has thus far been impossible.”
Oisín seeks to demonstrate that the solution to mitigating the effects of age-related diseases is to address the damage created by the aging process itself. To accomplish this, Oisín is building genetic medicines to treat diseases of old age via their underlying causes. “Our approach is based on the notion that senescent cells “know” they are senescent, they are transcriptionally aberrant, and we can exploit this to selectively kill them with what amounts to a simple computer program written in DNA.”
Its first therapeutic candidate, OB-001, is currently the only viable senolytic that can kill senescent cells based on genetic activity. OB-001 contains a non-integrating DNA plasmid that encodes a potent inducible suicide gene which targets senescent cells with elevated p16 transcriptional activity. Multiple high-profile published animal studies have shown the profound benefits of removing high p16 expressing cells, but no one has been able to eliminate these cells efficiently and selectively in humans. “Our technology effectively kills senescent cells based on what they are “thinking” or, more technically speaking, based on their transcriptional activity” says Matthew Scholz, CEO of Oisín Biotechnologies. “Our unique approach and delivery technology allows us to target multiple causes of aging in a way that would be impossible using traditional small molecule drugs.”
Oisín Biotechnologies is currently performing studies required to take their lead candidate, OB-001, into the clinic where its first application will be in kidney disease. Oisín is also developing therapeutics for targets other than p16 and senescence. These include programs in oncology, through their spinout OncoSenX, and programs in cellular reprogramming, hTERT (telomerase), cardiovascular disease, frailty, sarcopenia, fibrosis and several other targets they cannot disclose at this time. The company’s mission is to target aging broadly, and its strategy is to go after targets related to multiple hallmarks of aging. Oisín Biotechnologies is advancing some of these programs internally and partnering with academic and commercial entities for others.
Oisín Biotechnologies was started when co-founders Matthew Scholz & Gary Hudson met at a health extension salon where Judy Campisi (Founder of Unity Biotechnology) was presenting some of the early data from the Mayo Clinic’s transgenic mouse studies. Matthew was impressed by the clear benefits of eliminating senescent cells and had an idea for how to accomplish this in humans in a way that was clinically viable. Elaborating his idea to Gary at the bar after the conference, they decided that the idea had to be pursued.
A key aspect of their strategic approach is the use of a unique non-viral delivery platform for encapsulation and systemic delivery of their genetic medicine. They employed the Entos Fusogenix, proteo-lipid vehicle (PLV) technology developed by John Lewis (now CSO of Oisín Biotechnologies). This technology allows for high efficiency delivery of their therapeutic candidate with an unparalleled toxicity profile.
Oisín’s flexible, low cost, and scalable gene delivery platform has shown promising results in preclinical testing and holds immense potential. It can quickly be adapted in response to novel R&D discoveries and can efficiently support multiple clinical pipeline applications in parallel.
Moving forward, Oisín (and its OncoSenX spinoff) is primarily focused on reaching Phase 1 & 2 clinical milestones for their lead candidates as expeditiously as possible and then broadening the label to address other senescence-mediated age-associated diseases.
Oisín Biotechnologies is already engaged in active pharma licensing discussions and their goal is to position themselves for major licensing deals and a potential IPO within the next few years. The two main components of Oisín’s proprietary platform, the PLV delivery system and highly programmable DNA payloads, synergise to address the primary challenges present in the senotherapeutics industry today.