UNITY Biotechnology, Inc. and UCSF Enter Exclusive License Agreement on alpha-Klotho Protein for the Treatment of Age-Related Cognitive Decline

May 29, 2019 at 4:05 PM EDT
UNITY and UCSF continue alpha-Klotho research collaboration that began in 2017

SAN FRANCISCO, May 29, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- UNITY Biotechnology, Inc. (“UNITY”) (NASDAQ:UBX), a biotechnology company developing therapeutics to extend healthspan by slowing, halting or reversing diseases of aging, and UC San Francisco (UCSF) today announced that UNITY executed an exclusive, worldwide license to UCSF intellectual property relating to the alpha-Klotho protein, a circulating factor associated with improved cognitive performance.

The alpha-Klotho protein was initially identified in mice as an “aging-suppressor” that accelerates aging when the gene encoding it is disrupted, and slows aging when the alpha-Klotho protein is over-produced. In a 2017 report, Dena Dubal, M.D., Ph.D.,  David A. Coulter Endowed Chair in Aging and Neurodegenerative Disease at UCSF, and other authors, reported that when the alpha-Klotho protein was injected into mice it reversed the deleterious effects of aging and age-related disease on cognition.

“Aging is the biggest risk factor for developing cognitive disorders. If we can understand the underlying issue - how we age – and develop treatment options to enhance cognitive function, we have the potential to help our brains stay healthier and more resilient throughout our lifetimes,” said Dr. Dubal. 

“Circulating levels of alpha-Klotho protein gradually decline as we age,” said Nathaniel David, president of UNITY Biotechnology. “Yet, a small percentage of the population possesses naturally elevated alpha-Klotho levels that are associated with extended healthspan, enhanced cognition and less age-associated cognitive decline. We are exploring the utility of the alpha-Klotho protein in collaboration with world-renowned researchers from UCSF, with a goal to identify a potential drug candidate to treat particular diseases of aging, including cognitive decline.”

Under the license agreement, UNITY gains worldwide, exclusive rights to UCSF’s intellectual property relating to the use of alpha-Klotho protein, including a recently issued patent covering methods of using the alpha-Klotho protein and variants to reverse or prevent cognitive decline. The negotiations were led by the Technology Management team in the UCSF Innovation Ventures office, which leads the university’s business development, technology licensing, and efforts to translate cutting-edge science into therapies and products that directly benefit patients worldwide.  Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

About UNITY Biotechnology
UNITY is developing therapeutics to extend healthspan by slowing, halting or reversing diseases of aging. UNITY's initial focus is on creating senolytic medicines to selectively eliminate senescent cells and thereby treat age-related diseases, such as osteoarthritis, eye diseases and pulmonary diseases. More information is available at www.unitybiotechnology.com, or follow us on Twitter.

About UCSF
UC San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences; and a preeminent biomedical research enterprise. It also includes UCSF Health, which comprises three top-ranked hospitals – UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland – as well as Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics, UCSF Benioff Children’s Physicians and the UCSF Faculty Practice. UCSF Health has affiliations with hospitals and health organizations throughout the Bay Area. UCSF faculty also provide all physician care at the public Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, and the SF VA Medical Center. The UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program is a major branch of the University of California, San Francisco’s School of Medicine.

UNITY Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements, including but not limited to statements related to the effects of alpha-Klotho protein on aging and cognitive decline and our potential to develop and bring multiple medicines, including alpha-Klotho based products, to market to impact aging and extend human healthspan. Such forward-looking statements involve substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause UNITY’s research and clinical development programs, future results, performance or achievements to differ significantly from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among others, the uncertainties inherent in the drug development process, including UNITY’s early stage of development and its understanding of senescence biology and other biological mechanisms implicated in diseases of aging, such as the alpha-Klotho protein, the clinical trial enrollment process, the regulatory approval processes, the timing of regulatory filings, the challenges associated with manufacturing drug products, UNITY’s ability to successfully protect and defend its intellectual property, and other matters that could affect the sufficiency of existing cash to fund operations and the availability or commercial potential of UNITY’s product candidates. UNITY undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. For a further description of the risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ from those expressed in these forward-looking statements, as well as risks relating to the business of the Company in general, see UNITY’s most recently filed Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2019, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on May 8, 2019, as well as other documents that may be filed by UNITY from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

UNITY Biotechnology, Inc.
Peter Rahmer  
Endurance Advisorsprahmer@enduranceadvisros.com

Canale CommunicationsJason Sparkjason@canalecomm.com

Laura Kurtzman
Senior Public Information Officer

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Source: Unity Biotechnology, Inc.