Scientists call it the “linchpin of energy metabolism”. NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a molecule found in all living cells that is crucial to converting food into cellular energy. It also keeps cognitive skills sharp and protects against life-threatening diseases, including cancer.
Because NAD molecules deteriorate sharply with age, many scientists are convinced that a supplement that keeps our NAD levels high will extend our lives significantly. But so far most of what we know about NAD metabolism has come from the study of animals, not humans. In addition, artificial intelligence, utilized to quicken the pace of many other types of drug discovery has not yet been utilized in any published studies of NAD metabolism. But with the triumvirate partnership between three leaders in longevity science, the secrets of human metabolism and its effect on the aging process may soon be unlocked through AI.
The partnership between the Buck Institute, Insilico Medicine, and Juvenescence will accelerate the groundbreaking research of Buck’s CEO and research chief Eric Verdin, MD. Verdin’s lab has focused on identifying the life-extending chemical makeup of NAD molecules. A fourth company formed in the partnership, Napa Therapeutics, will commercialize the results of the research collaboration. “This is a unique opportunity to use cutting-edge AI to accelerate drug discovery,” said Dr. Verdin. “The Buck is excited to join forces with Insilico and Juvenescence as we work to eliminate the threat of age-related disease for this and future generations.” The Buck Institute is one of the leading research centers in the world focused solely on research on aging and the elimination of age-related disease. Juvenescence is backed by British billionaire Jim Mellon and recently raised $50 million in a series A funding round. The final partner in the triumvirate is Insilico Medicine, a venture using AI to accelerate drug discovery, and is already part of Juvenescence’s investment portfolio. The Verdin Lab will collaborate with Napa Therapeutics, using Insilico’s drug development engine to speed the discovery of new compounds that boost NAD metabolism.
“We are very happy to partner with the Buck Institute and Juvenescence around a very promising set of targets in a pathway overlooked by the pharmaceutical industry. Aging research is among the most altruistic causes that will improve and extend the lives of everyone on the planet and reduce the pain and suffering associated with the age-associated diseases,” said Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine. “I am most excited by this model and the ability to combine the quality science of the Buck Institute with the remarkable deep learning engine at Insilico Medicine. To me this is another big step in the evolving process of using AI with HI (human intelligence) to extract the best of both systems,” said Gregory Bailey, MD, CEO of Juvenescence.
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