Sirtuins can’t extend the life of a fly. Can they extend the life of a pharmaceutical company?
By Steven Dickman, CEO, CBT Advisors
Can drugs that supposedly “activate” a controversial target – sirtuin proteins – stop or even reverse the aging process? A new report this week said “No.” According to this report, published Wednesday night in Nature, sirtuin activators do not extend lifespan in roundworms and flies and earlier studies that said they did were flawed. Nonetheless, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) continues to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into developing drugs to hit these targets – more about their findings below – and if the drugs work, for whatever reason, the scientific squabbles will not matter.
I recently had the chance to hear Harvard professor David Sinclair talk publicly about his and GSK’s research into sirtuin activators. Sinclair was the scientific founder of Sirtris and he reported at a forum on longevity in Cambridge, MA, that GSK has high hopes of near-term confirmation in mice that some sirtuin activators do extend lifespan. Based on its continued investment, GSK still believes that the $720 million acquisition of Sirtris in 2008 was a smart one.
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