A Wauwatosa-based company that aims to extend human life and reverse age-related decline has raised $1 million.
CyteGen Corp. was co-founded in 2015 by Nuray George Ugras and is based in the UWM Innovation accelerator at 1225 Discovery Parkway in Wauwatosa.
The company has raised the $1 million equity round from four investors, according to a recent SEC filing.
CyteGen, which is affiliated with the Medical College of Wisconsin, in 2017 received a $210,000 federal SBIR grant for its Phase I research on “A Novel Strategy to Identify Substances that Improve Mitochondrial Fitness.”
CyteGen is focused on mitochondrial dysfunction’s link to aging and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The company hypothesizes in its SBIR application that exercise could be the key to removing damaged mitochondria from the body.
“CyteGen’s hypothesis is that exercise induces the secretion of blood-borne proteins that act systemically to stimulate removal of damaged mitochondria and enrichment of healthy mitochondria mitochondrial fitness,” the application says. “The company’s goal is to identify these proteins to develop into biologics that would serve as a platform to treat the myriad of diseases associated with mitochondrial dysfunction.”
In 2015, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel invested an undisclosed amount in CyteGen through his Breakout Labs program. According to Breakout Labs, as of 2015 CyteGen had assembled a “dream team of interdisciplinary experts” for its research across eight major universities.
“By approaching aging from a holistic, systematic point of view, rather than focusing solely on discrete definitions of disease, they have developed a new way to think about aging, and to develop treatments that can help people live longer, healthier lives,” Breakout Labs said in its funding announcement.
“There is an assumption that aging necessarily brings the kind of physical and mental decline that results in Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases. Evidence indicates otherwise, which is what spurred us to launch CyteGen,” Ugras said in that 2015 announcement.
When reached by phone today, Ugras said the company is not yet ready to discuss its research publicly.