Top Yale lab spawns new company focused on development of glucosepane-cleaving drugs.
San Francisco based biotech start-up Revel Pharmaceuticals has announced itself to the world after securing an undisclosed amount of seed funding.
Revel is co-founded by Yale Professors David Spiegel and Jason Crawford, along with biotech entrepreneur Dr. Aaron Cravens. For the past 10 years, Spiegel and Crawford have worked on tools to enable the development of glucosepane-cleaving drugs, securing funding from SENS Research Foundation to do so.
Progress has been rapid since the Yale group conducted the first complete synthesis of glucosepane, leading to the development of glucosepane-binding antibodies and discovery of therapeutic enzyme candidates capable of breaking up glucosepane crosslinks. Revel intends to build on this progress by advancing the first GlycoSENS therapeutics into the clinic.
The seed round was led by KIZOO – an organisation that provides mentoring, seed and early-stage financing with a focus on rejuvenation biotech. Oculus co-founder Michael Antonov also participated in the round.
“We are proud to help Revel open an entirely new category in repairing a significant damage of aging – crosslinking of collagen,” said Frank Schueler, Managing Director of Kizoo Technology Capital. “Glucosepane crosslinks may cause not only wrinkles on your face but also lead to age-related rising blood pressure and possibly stroke.”
Glucosepane biology in relation to aging and disease
The long-lived collagen proteins that give structure to our arteries, skin, and other tissues are continuously exposed to blood sugar and other highly reactive molecules necessary for life. Occasionally, these sugar molecules will bind to collagen and form toxic crosslinks that alter the physical properties of tissues and cause inflammation. As a result, tissues slowly stiffen with aging, leading to rising systolic blood pressure, skin aging, kidney damage, and increased risk of stroke and other damage to the brain.
Perhaps the most important of these Advanced Glycation End-products (AGE) crosslinks is a molecule called glucosepane. Revel is developing therapeutics that can cleave glucosepane crosslinks thus maintaining and restoring the elasticity of blood vessels, skin, and other tissues, and preventing the terrible effects of their age-related stiffening.
“Collagen is the infrastructure of our bodies – in every tissue, supporting cellular function and health – but with aging, this critical molecular infrastructure accumulates damage,” said Aaron Cravens, co-Founder of Revel Pharmaceuticals. “By clearing out this damage, we can restore tissue function and repair the body. Revel is one of only a few companies taking a repair-centric approach to treat diseases of aging and one day our AGE-cleaving therapeutics will undo this damage at the molecular level.“