The company had sought to see whether giving low doses of a drug called everolimus to people over 65 increased their response to flu vaccines. Behind the test was a bigger question about whether any drug can slow or reverse the symptoms of old age.
Last week a Boston company, PureTech Health, said it was licensing two drug molecules, and the right to use them against aging-related disease, from Novartis and making the research the basis of a startup company, resTORbio.
The company says it will further test whether such drugs can rejuvenate aged immune cells. The drug Novartis tested is a derivative of rapamycin, a compound first discovered oozing from a bacterium native to Easter Island, or Rapa Nui, and named after it.
Brian Kennedy, who researches aging at the Buck Institute, says the Novartis study was “Groundbreaking” because of how it found a way to address the drug’s impact on the effects of age.
The startup will try to use the Novartis drugs to reverse what it calls “Immunosenescence,” or detrimental changes to the immune system that occur with age.