Following promising early results, BioViva USA Inc. is filing a patent for its dual telomere lengthening and muscle preserving gene therapy, in a bid to secure access to eventual affordable gene therapy
In September 2015 Elizabeth Parrish, CEO of BioViva Usa Inc. volunteered to be 'patient zero', and underwent her company's experimental gene therapy in an attempt to advance gene therapy's pace of translation from animals models to human clinical practice. We know that BioViva's therapy consisted of two complementary therapies: a telomere inducing hTERT AAV therapy, and a myostatin inhibitor AAV therapy. In more common terms, one therapy was developed to upregulate activity is the enzyme telomerase, which extends and repairs telomeres, while the other promotes and maintains muscle integrity - counteracting sarcopenia among a range of other positive effects. Both treatments were designed and administered using an AAV (adenovirus-associated vector), which has a good safety record in previous study.
In April 2016, BioViva released a statement outlining initially positive results. After testing Parrish's leukocyte (white blood cells) telomere length in SpectraCell's laboratory in Texas both before treatment and a number of months following the procedure in April, Parrish's leukocyte telomeres had been extended from from 6.71kb to 7.33kb. This corresponds to approximately 20 years of shortening. While more testing and data is needed, which BioViva has stated they will continue to do, the announcement was welcome news.
We have encouraging data from Maria Blasco's lab that telomerase gene therapy using an AAV9 vector has significant rejuvenative effects on mice, and extends lifespan by up to 20% without increasing cancer risk. There's really no way to know the effect of telomerase inducing gene therapy on humans until we test it, which is exactly why BioViva attempted to kickstart interest in the therapy.
In the latest announcement, BioViva USA Inc. has announced that it has filed a patent application for its pioneering dual gene therapy, with an aim to secure affordable gene therapies targeting the aging process.
"BioViva originally set out to pioneer affordable gene therapies and this is exactly what we intend to do with this patent. We cannot continue to treat symptoms of aging such as Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease in isolation. This approach has netted zero cures"
The company is currently developing its therapies for Alzheimer's disease and sarcopenia, with potential to expand into atherosclerosis and skin aging initially. In April 2016, it became a portfolio company of Deep Knowledge Life Sciences, a London Base investment fund, and this year also announced a partnership with Sierra Sciences to create a rejuvenation clinic in Fiji.
Read the press release here