FastForward Innovations has subscribed $2m for an approximate 0.8% equity interest in Juvenescence, a British Virgin Islands incorporated private company developing therapies to slow, halt and potentially reverse ageing, it announced on Tuesday.
The AIM-traded firm said it subscribed as part of a $50m Series A fundraise that Juvenescence had now closed, with a post-money valuation of $250m.
It said the Juvenescence founders and management team had an "extensive" track record of successfully developing drugs for a range of diseases.
The team's most recent success was said to have been demonstrated through Biohaven Pharmaceuticals, listed on the Nasdaq, and valued at more than $1.6bn, having successfully completed two pivotal Phase 3 trials in acute treatment of migraines in March.
FastForward said the Juvenescence team was now focused on developing therapies for people to live "longer, healthier" lives.
The Juvenescence founders included Jim Mellon, the non-executive chairman of FastForward, as well as doctors Greg Bailey and Declan Doogan.
Since its incorporation in October 2016, Juvenescence had raised a total of $63m from a variety of international investors including family offices and what FastForward called "leading institutions".
It said the proceeds of the Juvenescence Series A funding would be used to advance key projects over the next 12 months, with the firm's board reviewing options for a potential listing in 2019.
Juvenescence's portfolio currently included Insilico Medicine, which it described as a "next-generation" artificial intelligence company specialising in the application of deep learning to drug discovery and ageing research; and Juvenescence AI, which is a joint venture with Insilico Medicine focused on the clinical development of AI generated compounds.
It also featured NetraPharma, a joint venture using artificial intelligence to improve clinical trial design; LyGenesis, a company with technology to use a patient's own lymph nodes as bioreactors to grow functioning ectopic organs; and AgeX Therapeutics, a company reportedly applying technology related to cell immortality and pluripotency to human ageing.
Commenting on the investment, FastForward's Chief Executive Officer, noted:
"We are delighted to complete our investment in Juvenescence," said FastForward chief executive officer Lorne Abony.
"Huge strides are being made in the fight against ageing and related diseases and enormous capital is being invested in this area."
Abony said commercialisation of drugs and technologies that slowed, halted or reversed the ageing process could emerge as "the biggest industry in the world" over the next 10 years, dwarfing sales of global retailers and pharmaceutical companies, with the potential for "supernormal returns" for early-stage investors.
"We are delighted to make this investment, alongside other high-profile international investors, and to support Jim and his colleagues in their development of an incredibly exciting company on what we believe will be a fantastic journey for FastForward and our shareholders."