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Longevity start-up EPITERNA raises EUR 10 million to slow ageing and extend lifespan

Life sciences

7 August 2023

EPITERNA focuses on developing therapies that can extend the healthy lifespan of companion dogs, cats, and humans. EPITERNA focuses on developing therapies that can extend the healthy lifespan of companion dogs, cats, and humans. | © EPITERNA

Vaud-based longevity start-up EPITERNA has secured EUR 10 million in funding from Prima Materia, an investment firm founded by Spotify founder Daniel Ek and early Spotify backer Shakil Khan.

Founded in 2022 as a spin-off from Alejandro Ocampo’s laboratory at the University of Lausanne, EPITERNA‘s mission is to create more time for pets and people by slowing down the ageing process.

Leveraging a unique high-throughput drug screening platform, EPITERNA develops products that assess the effect of medicines on ageing. They focus on drugs and compounds already approved for specific human and animal diseases, making their approach rooted in safety and practicality. With the help of small molecule drugs, their therapies are designed to be more affordable and accessible to the general public.

The start-up’s innovative platform evaluates medicines at the molecular and cellular level, employing gold-standard animal models of ageing research. They have already assessed hundreds of medicines in smaller animals and over a dozen in larger ones, identifying promising candidates and uncovering new leads.

From scientific breakthroughs to ambitious plans and crucial funding

Alejandro Ocampo, the co-founder and CEO of EPITERNA, has dedicated 15 years to studying ageing. His prior work includes breakthroughs at the Salk Institute in California, where he was among the first to demonstrate how epigenetic reprogramming could extend lifespan in mice. His continued work at the University of Lausanne has been instrumental in EPITERNA’s foundation and development.

The company has ambitious plans, including conducting clinical trials with larger animals such as dogs in 2024 in Europe. Their goal is not just to extend life but to create longer, healthier, and happier lives free from age-related diseases.

This new EUR 10 million investment comes at a crucial time for EPITERNA, enabling the start-up to fund its growth and accelerate its development. Prima Materia’s backing represents a significant endorsement of the company’s vision and approach.

EPITERNA’s team of 15 employees, including scientists, engineers, veterinarians, and doctors, is set to expand, with the company currently hiring for several positions.