VDP-117 Magnaetus Therapeutics
One liner: Magnaeutus Therapeutics is developing a first-in-class agent for weight loss and metabolic disease.
Longevity Dealflow WG team
Scientific evaluation: [To be completed after Senior Review - Phase 2]
Business evaluation: [To be completed after Review - Phase 2]
Shepherd: Jason C. Mercurio
Other squad members: Eleanor Davies, Maria Marinova, Rhys Anderson
Sourced by: Jason C. Mercurio
Project PI: Guy Barry, Paul Baldock
Magnaetus Therapeutics aims to reverse age-related metabolic decline through the development of an exercise mimetic. They intend to develop a therapeutic that will have the effect of weight loss and targeting obesity as well as extending healthspan.
Obesity and metabolic syndrome have reached crisis levels with almost no effective, patient supported interventions. By 2035, an estimated 50% of the world’s population will be overweight or obese (4.5 billion people).
Currently, patients are offered ozempic, although this is associated with severe side effects including pancreatitis, hypoglycemia and kidney failure amongst others. Alternatively, there are extreme bariatric surgery measures such as gastric banding.
Magnaeutus Therapeutics is developing a peptide therapy, based on an endogenous protein that mimics the beneficial effects of calorie restriction and exercise. This peptide is thought to reduce fat mass whilst preserving lean tissue.
The weight loss and weight management diet market size was valued at $192 billion in 2019, and is projected to reach $295 billion by 2027. Ozempic (Novo Nordisk) alone had 2022 sales of $8.56 billion.
Following 15 years of research, Magnaetus Therapeutics has identified an endogenous protein that stimulates energy release and consumption, rather than conservation.
Serum levels of this protein are suppressed by obesity, but stimulated by calorie restriction and exercise.
Classified as an extracellular matrix molecule secreted into the extracellular space, it acts via interaction with cell surface receptors, and has a wide range of activities. Importantly, it also circulates, consistent with inter-organ actions and metabolic responses. Multiple repeat loops provide specific binding activities.
Elevated levels are thought to be responsible for the downstream health benefits of exercise and dieting including: increased fat burning, reduced food intake, improved insulin sensitivity and secretion, and improved nutrient signalling.
The therapeutic being developed targets metabolism systems thereby directly impacting longevity.
The team is working towards a composition of matter patent. The aim is to file a PCT after lead isolation studies with Dominique Bridon and then apply for a full RCT after healthspan and metabolic studies with Brian Kennedy are complete (7-9 months).
The protein is not heavily studied (86 papers with protein in title, 256 total), cancer/cardiac function dominates literature and thus do not anticipate being challenged for priority date.
Synthesis of proteins (12 weeks)
Solid phase synthesis (SPPS) for production, HPLC and MS for characterisation to deliver 2-3 core proteins and their analogues (about 3-5 for each core protein) that mimic protein structure.
In-vitro screening (12 weeks)
Cell-based assays to define critical aspects of protein activity profile: weight loss and longevity mTOR/AKT (MCF7, MIN6): Insulin (MIN6): Lipolysis (3T3-E1): Glucose, AMPK (C2C12).
In-vivo screening (20 weeks)
Acute murine studies in HFD to define critical aspects of protein activity profile: weight loss and longevity. Weight loss, fat mass, food intake, GTT, ITT, energy expenditure, muscle + adipose (mTOR, AKT, AMPK), serum.
They have worked through the generation of data on animal studies to determine how their protein of interest operates in the body. They looked at mice.
They also have determined that their protein of interest is in adipose tissue, muscle and bone. It is not found in the pancreas.
Year 1 go/no go milestone: 500,000 USD
- Past rounds: They have not raised capital for this company before.
- We have yet to decide on an exact valuation although it may be around a 3M - 5M post-money valuation.
- VitaDAO would fund 100K and the lead investor would fund 400K.
- Equity deal
Guy Barry, PhD — CEO
25 years experience with 11 in biotech with an emphasis on metabolic, neural and cardiovascular mechanisms. Worked in academia where he performed research on IPS cells, long non-coding RNA, cancer, G-Protein Coupled Receptors, and bioinformatics.
Paul Baldock, PhD — CSO
25 years experience with extensive time in academia — researcher with an emphasis on in-vivo models, metabolic, musculoskeletal, glycaemic, neural, endocrine, and cancer. Identified the unique protein that serves as a longevity target through metabolism optimization.
Brian Kennady, PhD — Advisor
Dominique Bridon, PhD — Advisor
(Newer deck available if needed with NDA)
The potential for causing more harm than benefit or adversely affecting daily life is low. This is largely because the protein in question is naturally occurring in the human body. Interestingly, the high cost is not seen as a risk. Insurance companies are generally willing to cover the costs of medications that benefit patients, and the FDA often grants exclusive rights to newly approved drugs.
There could be side effects from the developed drug although this is minimal since the body already contains the protein and it’s natural.
Go-To-Market & Business Model Risks
There could be competing products when going to market with an exercise mimetic and weight loss drug.
The founders have been working together for many years. There is a risk of getting more team members efficiently as their organization grows.
External Factor Risks
There are known risks as well as unknown risks.
- Revisions Requested [Details in Comments]