February 15th 2017

February 15, 2017

Ichor Therapeutics announces series A offering for LYSOCLEAR to move first SENS therapy into the clinic

LAFAYETTE, NY: Today, Ichor Therapeutics, a biotechnology company that focuses on developing drugs for age-related diseases, announced a series A offering to bring its LYSOCLEAR product for age-related macular degeneration through a Phase I clinical trial. This product would be the first clinical candidate based on the SENS paradigm, pioneered by biomedical gerontologist Dr. Aubrey de Grey.

About AMD

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss among people over the age of 50. Over 20 million Americans are affected by this condition. There are two forms of AMD. Atrophic or “dry” AMD represents 85% of all cases, and arises from the progressive loss of photoreceptors in the macula – a part of the eye responsible for central vision. A juvenile form of macular degeneration called Stargardt’s macular degeneration (SMD) also exists, and is caused by mutations in the ABCA4 gene, which plays an essential role in vitamin A metabolism.

In later stages of disease, dry AMD can progress to a more advanced “wet” form, accounting for the remaining 15% of all AMD cases. Wet AMD is characterized by neovascularization (new blood vessel formation). Exudate and hemorrhage can further accelerate vision loss and lead to complete blindness.
There is no cure for dry AMD or SMD. The AREDS vitamin formulation and cessation of smoking have been shown to mildly slow progression. Wet AMD is modestly managed with monthly injections of antibodies that inhibit the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway.

Intracellular Junk

The underlying pathology of AMD is thought to be caused by the death of retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE) cells, which photoreceptors in the macula rely upon to survive. RPE cells phagocytose the oxidized tips of outer segments of photoreceptors for the recycling of vitamin A as part of the visual cycle. However, this is a leaky process, and trace by-products are formed that accumulate in the lysosomes of RPE cells. The most well studied of these by-products is the bis-retinoid A2E, which may play a causative in AMD and SMD. Although A2E accumulates gradually over the lifespan, it is generally not until later age that A2E reaches a threshold necessary to promote toxicity. At high concentrations, A2E promotes the formation of intracellular junk termed lipofuscin. RPE cells attempt to handle this accumulation by shuttling the junk out in the form of extracellular drusen. Eventually, the RPE choke on the garbage, and cell death accompanies complement activation, inflammation, and hypoxia.

Multiple companies have successfully reduced the rate of A2E formation, but such efforts may be too late for symptomatic patients, who have already had the cascade kicked off.
LYSOCLEAR: the junk buster

In 2014, Ichor Therapeutics completed a material and technology transfer agreement for rights to concepts and research pioneered by SENS Research Foundation. In 2017 Ichor announced LYSOCLEAR, a recombinant enzyme product that selectively localizes to the lysosomes of RPE cells where A2E accumulates, and destroys it. Ongoing studies suggest that LYSOCLEAR is safe and effective at targeting A2E, eliminating up to 10% with each dose.

Ichor is a shining example of our mission to kick-start the rejuvenation biotechnology industry with a project that we initiated with early donor support. Led by one of our most dynamic and accomplished alumni, Kelsey Moody, Ichor is forging ahead faster than we could have dreamed.
– Aubrey de Grey

LYSOCLEAR is under continued development by Ichor Therapeutics and could bring much needed relief to millions of Americans afflicted by AMD and SMD.

Next steps

Ichor is now seeking Series A funding to support pre-clinical Investigational New Drug (IND) enabling studies and phase I human clinical trials for AMD and SMD.  The company has established a partnership with Syracuse University and obtained $795,000 in dedicated program funding from Michael Greve's Kizoo Technology Ventures, SENS Research Foundation, FightAging.org, CenterState CEO, and several private investors to support its present work on LYSOCLEAR.

SRF and Buck Institute to Collaborate on Neurodegeneration


Andersen Lab to Host Research Program

The SENS Research Foundation (SRF) has launched a new research program in collaboration with the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. Dr. Julie K. Andersen, a leading expert on age-related neurodegenerative diseases, will be leading the project in her lab at the Buck.

The program is focused on the formation of tau tangles in the progression of neurodegenerative diseases. It will explore the elimination of these age-related waste products in brain cells, using the same approach that SRF has applied in its atherosclerosis and macular degeneration research projects in recent years. The Andersen lab will bring its own world-leading expertise in age-related neurodegeneration to the project.

"Our ultimate goal is to find treatments for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Working with SRF will enable us to look at whether it is possible to use a new method to reverse and prevent the formation of tau tangles, which will help us make significant progress in addressing these complex disorders," said Dr. Andersen, a professor at the Buck Institute.

"We are extremely proud to be supporting this project and partnering with the Buck and Dr. Andersen," said Dr. Aubrey de Grey, CSO, SENS Research Foundation. "With this and other collaborations we are planning, SRF looks forward to expanding our contribution to the advancement of medical research on pathologies associated with human aging."

This research has been made possible through the generous support of the Forever Healthy Foundation and its founder Michael Greve, as well as the support of our other donors. The Forever Healthy Foundation is a private nonprofit initiative whose mission is to enable people to vastly extend their healthy lifespans and be part of the first generation to cure aging. In order to accelerate the development of therapies to get aging under full medical control, the Forever Healthy Foundation directly supports cutting edge research aimed at the molecular and cellular repair of damage caused by the aging process.

Aubrey de Grey on Bulletproof Radio

What is the significance of "7 categories of aging damage"? How is a damage-repair approach to age-related disease different from traditional approaches? What is "compression of morbidity"? And what's the deal with stem cells? 

For a lively, wide-ranging discussion addressing these and other questions, you can join host David Asprey and SRF CSO Aubrey de Grey in a new recorded interview via Bulletproof Radio. The recording is available in videoaudio, and transcript formats.

This year’s project is led by James Smith, a former SRF Summer Scholar and current CASMI Translational Stem Cell Consortium Program Coordinator. To learn more about James and the 2017 Research Project, go to the program page on our website

Where in the World is Aubrey de Grey?

Aubrey de Grey will be speaking at the following events:

Where: Plug and Play Tech Center, Sunnyvale, CA,USA
When: February 21, 2017

Aubrey de Grey will be a keynote speaker, presenting on "Rejuvenation biotechnology: why age may soon cease to mean aging" starting at 7:30 PM.

What: START Summit
Where: Saint Gallen, Switzerland
When: March 24/25, 2017

Start Summit is Europe's leading student-organized conference for entrepreneurship and technology. Anyone with an entrepreneurial mind, spirit or just interest is welcome to attend the conference. Focus topics are defined by today’s mega-trends. Start Summit is an opportuity to, per their website, "get in contact with experts and innovators from every field. Disrupt industries, digitalize everyday life, define new boundaries and create a new reality."

Where: Manchester, UK
When: March 25, 2017

The MedX conference was created to be an "accessible medium that could showcase the cutting edge of healthcare from around the world alongside the work of the next generation of healthcare professionals." Dr. Aubrey de Grey will be a keynote speaker. 



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