The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University announced today that Rejuvenate Bio has secured an exclusive worldwide license from the Harvard Office of Technology Development to commercialize a gene therapy technology developed at the Wyss Institute and Harvard Medical School (HMS) to prevent and treat several age-related diseases in dogs, extending their overall healthspan. The announcement follows the publication in Proceedings of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences (PNAS) of a study led by Harvard researchers detailing the technology’s efficacy in mitigating obesity, type II diabetes, heart failure, and renal failure in mice.
“We are very excited to translate our winning gene therapy work from mice to dogs, where there is a dearth of treatment options to combat age-related diseases,” said Daniel Oliver, CEO and co-founder of Rejuvenate Bio, who was formerly an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Wyss Institute and a Blavatnik Fellow at Harvard Business School, and is a co-author of the PNAS publication.
Rejuvenate Bio has secured funding from the Department of Defense’s Small Business Innovation Research program, as well as seed funding from investors and a grant from the American Cavalier King Charles Spaniel Club. With this support, the company has launched a pilot study testing its technology’s efficacy in halting mitral valve disease, which strikes the majority of Cavalier King Charles Spaniels by age 8 and causes heart failure. Following demonstration of efficacy, they hope to expand their treatment to all dog breeds, as more than 7 million dogs in the US suffer from mitral valve disease.
“We are very passionate about and focused on dogs’ health, because so many dog owners around the world have to helplessly watch their beloved pets’ quality of life deteriorate as they age,” said co-author Noah Davidsohn, who is a co-founder and chief technology officer of Rejuvenate Bio and a former research scientist at the Wyss Institute and HMS. “We want to get rid of the morbidities associated with aging, so dogs can be as happy and healthy as possible throughout their lives.”