Company formed by Juvenescence and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging will develop drugs that induce a state of ketosis.
In the state of ketosis, the body burns fat instead of carbs, spurring the production of anti-inflammatory ketone bodies. One popular diet today is a ketogenic diet, which has been claimed to achieve not only weight loss, but also hunger suppression and improved concentration and, owing to long-term exposure to ketone bodies, an extended healthy life span.
The Buck Institute for Research on Aging President and CEO Eric Verdin and Jim Mellon of Juvenescence claim to have data proving that the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) helps the body respond to stress. The two organizations have joined together to form BHB Therapeutics to explore the potential of drugs targeting BHB. The results were developed in mice that show ketosis, and BHB Therapeutics CEO Greg Bailey says BHB has been found to be cardioprotective.
According to Bailey, human hearts prefer ketones, while the brain prefers sugar. When people approach 50 years of age, however, they become insulin resistant, and sugar concentrations can become high in certain organs, leading to different diseases.
BHB Therapeutics will start by conducting safety studies and, if successful, will pursue alternative routes for approval so the drugs can get to first-in-human studies more quickly.