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Further Pipeline Expansion

December 20, 2019 — Samsara Therapeutics Inc, a biotechnology startup with the world’s largest platform for the discovery and development of drugs to activate autophagy, announced the completion of their $ 3.2 million seed round. After the initial pre-seed investment of an undisclosed amount by Apollo Health Ventures at the end of 2018, to achieve rapid advances in the development of its early drug candidates and top-class filling of key positions, Samsara was able to attract a group of additional investors including firms like Cambrian BioPharma and Kite Ventures, as well as business angels such as Bruce Barclay, board member of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in California, USA, Kent Wakeford and Eric Boyle, Managing Director at Qatalyst Partners.

Autophagy is a clean-up process within cells that breaks down damaged molecules, and is considered one of the central mechanisms controlling the aging process. Malfunction of this process has been associated with the development of cancer, diabetes or dementia, while activation of autophagy has outstanding potential to counteract the development of several age-related diseases. In 2016, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries on mechanisms of autophagy, underscoring the importance and potential impact of this process (more here). Autophagy is activated by fasting and exercise and is essential for their health-promoting effects in humans. However, the level of autophagy activation declines with age, and accumulating damaged molecules lead to cellular dysfunction which ultimately drives several age-related diseases. Thus, targeted activation of autophagy is a promising approach to treat and prevent various chronic and degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s Disease.

Samsara was founded in 2018 by the world’s leading experts in autophagy and longevity, Dr. Guido Kroemer and Dr. Frank Madeo, and uses cutting-edge screening platforms to identify and validate novel molecules. In less than a year, the Samsara team was able to optimize the screening process and identified promising molecules for autophagy modulation. With the engagement of Dr. Peter Hamley (CSO), former global leader for external innovation and sourcing at Sanofi, Samsara is progressing through chemical optimization and phenotypic screening of chemical libraries.