Senexis seeks £20m to battle ageing-related illness
Senexis, the Cambridge drug development company pioneering treatments to counter ageing-related diseases, has revealed exclusively to Business Weekly that it is seeking £20m in new funding in 2011.
The company is preparing its technology to enter the clinic in 2012 but this is no lone battle: Senexis has become the torch bearer for generations of potentially lost souls afflicted by dementia and Alzheimer’s.
While oncology grabs a lion's share of headlines and funding, ageing-related diseases have been the poor cousins for far too long. Senesix is therefore addressing one of the largest global markets where medical need remains largely unmet.
Senexis is already backed by two major investors, The Wellcome Trust and BTG plc. The MRC, which knows a thing or two about hot science, is also a shareholder. But this is nowhere near enough to unlock the full potential of Senexis’ technology.
Senexis is developing novel smallmolecule inhibitors of amyloid aggregation as new disease-modifying medicines to inhibit and reverse the pathogenic process of ageing.
By screening focused libraries of druglike inhibitors against multiple target amyloid-like proteins, Senexis has identified potent inhibitors that can selectively inhibit the formation and the effects of toxic species associated with this ageing process.
Its drugs currently in pre-clinical developments for Alzheimer's disease have already shown pre-clinical efficacy in a variety of established models of memory and learning and continue to advance towards the clinic.
In parallel, Senexis is also building its pipeline of drug development programmes for other neurological and systemic degenerative conditions, such as diabetes.
The company's composition-of-matter patent portfolio protects a range of small molecule compounds with future therapeutic potential.
Senexis has made huge strides since it was formed in 2001 and is ready for the next big push. It could hardly be better timed: the average lifespan is now 80 across most industrialised countries and is rising rapidly.
The World Alzheimer Report published near the end of last year put the implications of that ageing population into stark focus. It estimated that the costs associated with dementia amounted to more than one per cent of the world's gross domestic product in 2010 at $604bn (£388bn) – more than the revenue of retail giant Wal-Mart or oil firm Exxon Mobil.
The prevalence of ageing-related disease, specifically dementia and full blown Alzheimer's, will double by 2030.
Senexis CEO Mark Treherne said: “The ageing population is a potential economic time bomb. We'll all have to retain good cognitive function with age to continue to work and pay the bills to fill the pension gap.Far more funding is needed to deliver treatments from both the public and private sectors.
“Awareness of the problem is greater than perhaps it has ever been; everyone appreciates the big picture. Now we need to see more hard cash trickle down through to the economic food chain, as it were.
“For Senexis, the strategy in 2011 is clear; to continue testing our potential new medicines with the intention of entering the clinic in 2012. It is no secret either that we are seeking further funding this year and we would welcome the opportunity to open dialogue with any synergistic new investors.”
Funders interested in talking to Senexis can contact CEO, Mark Treherne, on +44 (0) 1223 496160 or email info [@] senexis.com