BioAge Labs has secured $170m in an oversubscribed Series D funding round to progress the development of therapeutics for obesity and metabolic diseases.

The financing was led by Sofinnova Investments. It included contributions from a consortium of new investors including RA Capital, Longitude Capital and Cormorant Asset Management, and from existing investors such as Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) Bio + Health.

Sofinnova Investments managing partner James Healy will assume the role of board chairman at BioAge, while Longitude Capital managing director Patrick Enright will join as a board director.

The investment will enable BioAge to advance Phase II clinical trials of its drug candidate, azelaprag, an oral apelin receptor agonist being developed for use along with Eli Lilly’s Zepbound (tirzepatide) and other incretins to enhance obesity treatment outcomes.

The upcoming studies with Zepbound will begin in mid-2024, in collaboration with Eli Lilly’s Chorus organisation.

Azelaprag has shown promise in a Phase I trial, demonstrating the ability to boost muscle metabolism, heighten energy expenditure and prevent muscle atrophy in healthy older subjects during bed rest.

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Preclinical studies indicate that azelaprag could double the weight loss seen with incretin drugs, with additional benefits to body composition and muscle function.

BioAge CEO and co-founder Kristen Fortney stated: “We’re thrilled to partner with a top-tier syndicate of investors and pharma companies at the forefront of developing novel therapeutics for metabolic diseases.

“This funding will support us through key clinical milestones and data readouts for our lead compound azelaprag in obesity, as well as advance our earlier-stage metabolic ageing pipeline. The azelaprag programme highlights our discovery platform’s ability to identify novel approaches to treating metabolic disease.”

BioAge focuses on developing new treatments for metabolic diseases by leveraging the biology of human ageing.