Billionaire raises funds for company that claims it has invented medicine which reverses aging

By @vitthernandez on
Alzheimer's & Dementia Patients
Patients with Alzheimer's and dementia sit inside the Alzheimer foundation in Mexico City April 19, 2012. Reuters/Edgard Garrido

There has been a spate recently of medical breakthroughs in the area of anti-aging discovering, ranging from the use of metformin, a popular diabetes medication, to pushing out toxic and worn-out cells, the senescent cells, which litters the body with aging.

Samumed, a single venture capital firm, claims it has invented drugs that would reverse aging. The firm has raised so far $220 million (AUD$287.7 million) on the selling point of reversing conditions associated with growing old, reports Fortune.

These include male baldness, greying of hair, wrinkles, arthritis, degenerated disc in spine and lung scarring, says Osman Kibar, the chief executive of Samumed. Kibar, a Turkish migrant who has a PhD in engineering, reveals that Samumed would attempt to seek a cure on the leading cause of blindness and then target Alzheimer’s.

Kibar says the aim of the company, valued at $12 billion (AUD$15.7 billion), is to regenerate the aging cells of people so the cells could be as powerful as that of a developing foetus. Studies carried by the firm has so far found the drug to be safe and could regrow hair, ease pain and improve function for knee arthritis patients.

Samumed used to be Wintherix which was housed in a Pfizer incubator. However, the Pfizer deal ran into trouble with the two companies filing lawsuits against each other. In 2012, the suit was settled with Wintherix gaining the right to the drug.

The medication targets a gene, the wingless integration site, which when knocked out in fruit flies, prevents the growth of wings. By triggering the right genes, or the Wnt pathway, old flesh would be revived.

But hair-loss specialists were not impressed by the Samumed presentation in March on results of SM04554, its anti-baldness drug, wherein there was a 9.6 percent increase in head hair count for those who used 0.15 percent of the solution and a 6.9 percent boost for those who used 0.25 percent.

Findings for SMo4690, its arthritis drug, got more positive feedback because patients scored better on how well their knees functioned and there was pain improvement compared to those who took placebo.

Samumed was recently included in Forbes’s first annual Global Gamechangers list. It is a roster of the top 10 companies that are making breakthroughs which could change the world in 2016. Besides Samumed, the nine others are Illumina, Nvidia, Palantir Technologies, Spanx, Gilead Sciences, Tesla, Novozymes, Serum Institute of India and GEMS Education, reports The Telegraph.

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