PureTech Health is setting up a new subsidiary, resTORbio, to develop two of Novartis’s Phase II-stage mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1)-targeting drugs as potential therapies for holding back age-related deterioration in immune functioning. Novartis has successfully completed two Phase IIa studies investigating the immune-enhancing potential of mTORC1 inhibitors in elderly patients. resTORbio aims to build on the findings and start Phase IIb studies with the two licensed candidates later this year. The firm said it also plans to extend the program to other age-related disorders.

“mTORC1 inhibitors could lead us to a new paradigm for treating several aging-related conditions,” said Chen Schor, a PureTech senior executive who is heading the resTORbio program. “We have a robust clinical development plan for the first indication and plan to explore the program across multiple aging-related diseases.”

Novartis will receive an equity stake in resTORbio, plus future milestones and sales royalties, in return for giving the new company an exclusive license to the two mTORC1 programs. “Drug discovery and development is a team sport and we are excited to enter into this agreement with the seasoned leadership at PureTech Health,” said Jay Brander, M.D., president of the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR). “We regard the further development of these compounds by PureTech Health for the potential treatment of conditions such as immunosenescence, as a prime example of our continued commitment to work more openly with innovators beyond our walls to advance projects that have the potential to help patients lead healthier lives.”

PureTech says it has set aside about $15 million to invest in tranches in resTORbio, which will give it about a 58% stake in the new operation, although it does have an option to invest another $10 million, which would take its holding in resTORbio to 67%.

“Consistent with our strategy of addressing the impairments of the brain, gut, and immune systems, targeting the mTORC1 pathway offers us a compelling opportunity to address conditions impacting these adaptive systems,” said Joe Bolen, Ph.D., PureTech Health CSO. “Impairment of adaptive and innate immune system robustness underlies age-associated immunosenescence. Inhibition of the mTORC1 pathway has proven to be effective in re-establishing T-cell composition and function, which in turn can revitalize immune homeostasis.”

Earlier this month, PureTech appointed Bharatt Chowrira, Ph.D, J.D., as president and chief of business and strategy. Dr. Chowrira was most recently president of biopharma Synlogic and has previously held positions including COO at Auspex Pharmaceuticals and president and CEO at Addex Therapeutics. Last month PureTech appointed former GlaxoSmithKline svp Atul Pande, M.D., as CMO.

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