Rubedo Garners $40M to Advance Clinical Trials in Age-Related Diseases

by Andrii Buvailo, PhD          News

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Topics: Novel Therapeutics   
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Rubedo Life Sciences, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of therapies targeting senescent cells associated with age-related diseases, has completed a $40 million Series A financing round led by Khosla Ventures and Ahren Innovation Capital.

The round saw participation from a consortium of investors, including Hevolution, R42, Modi Ventures, Cerigo Investments, Shanda Group, Refactor Capital, LongeVC, and Italian Angels for Growth (IAG), among others.

Rubedo's proprietary ALEMBIC™ drug discovery platform is at the core of its operations, facilitating the identification and development of novel, first-in-class small molecules.

These molecules are engineered to selectively target various types of senescent cells that contribute to the progression of several chronic age-related diseases, including pulmonary, dermatological, oncological, and neurodegenerative disorders.


What is senescence? 

Normally, cells in the body grow and divide in a controlled way to replace old or damaged cells in a process known as the cell cycle. However, when cells enter senescence, they permanently stop dividing and begin to release substances that can influence aging and the development of various diseases.

More specifically, senescence is a cellular state characterized by irreversible growth arrest, alterations in gene expression, and the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and extracellular matrix modifying enzymes, contributing to tissue aging and disease pathology.

Therapeutics targeting senescent cells, known as senolytics, aim to selectively eliminate these cells to mitigate their harmful effects on tissue function and to slow down aging-related processes. This area of research is promising for treating age-related diseases such as osteoarthritis, cardiovascular diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders, by potentially rejuvenating tissues and improving overall health.


Promising novel senolytic: RLS-1496

The capital raised will primarily support the advancement of Rubedo's lead candidate, RLS-1496, into Phase 1 clinical studies targeting chronic atopic dermatitis and chronic psoriasis. 

RLS-1496 is a disease-modifying therapy with the potential for superiority over standard of care in multiple chronic skin indications. Rubedo’s R&D program in dermatology was initiated in Q4 2021, and effective progression from target discovery to candidate nomination took 1.5 years

Histopathological assessment showed that Rubedo’s development candidate RLS-1496 significantly reduced senescence signatures associated with skin senescent cells, and in punch biopsies from skin lesions of patients with chronic atopic dermatitis and psoriasis.

“We’re thrilled to nominate our first disease-modifying development candidate for our dermatology program, which targets skin senescent cell types that drive chronic degenerative dermatological conditions associated with biological aging processes,” said Dr. Marco Quarta, Co-Founder at Rubedo, during LSX World Congress 2023.

“Unlike current non-steroidal topical treatments that only treat the symptoms of inflammation, we believe RLS-1496 has the potential to be the first disease-modifying therapy to provide sustained relief for patients suffering from chronic conditions like dermatitis and psoriasis by targeting the skin senescent cells that cause persistent chronic inflammation."

Rubedo’s ongoing projects extend beyond dermatological conditions; the company is also progressing in its research on pulmonary diseases, including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a program that benefited from a substantial grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) last year.

CEO and Co-Founder Marco Quarta emphasized the importance of the new funding in enabling the commencement of human studies for their first clinical candidate. This sentiment was echoed by Alex Morgan, a partner at Khosla Ventures, who highlighted the potential impact of Rubedo’s work on improving the healthspan of an aging global population.

Alice Newcombe Ellis, Founding & General Partner at Ahren Innovation Capital, noted the transformative potential of Rubedo’s approach to senescent cells in advancing the biotechnological shift from treatment to the prevention and reversal of disease.

AI-driven platform for age-related drug discovery

Rubedo's ALEMBIC™ is an AI-augmented drug discovery platform that enables detection and selective targeting of specific cell populations that drive pathology.

Using single-cell RNA sequencing and other omics data, Rubedo utilized its proprietary database, which contains terabytes of internally-generated tissue analysis, and ALEMBIC’s extensive portfolio of proprietary algorithms, such as machine learning (ML) models, to develop senescence signatures to uniquely identify and profile heterogeneous senescent and senescent-like cell populations in clinical samples of diseased tissues.

ALEMBIC™ Senescence Signatures were utilized to analyze skin samples derived from patients with chronic dermatological conditions, such as dermatitis and psoriasis.

Topics: Novel Therapeutics   

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