The Research Council of Norway has awarded €1m in research and development funding to support Age Labs, a Norway-based company developing a unique biomarker that could extend the human health span.

A biomarker is a naturally occurring molecule that can be used to indicate how well the body responds to a treatment for a disease or condition and is useful when testing the efficacy of a new treatment.

The biomarker being developed by Age Labs is designed to enable pharmaceutical companies to significantly increase the probability of success in clinical trials and as a result make regulatory approval and bringing the drug to market more likely. This is because the use of biomarkers means that  pharmaceutical companies will have more accurate information about the patients being included into clinical trials.

The average total development cost for a new approved drug is calculated at €2.3bn, and approximately 90% of all drugs that enter clinical trials will fail, so any way to improve the chances of success is welcome.

How the Age Labs biomarker is helping to combat age-related diseases

Age Labs is working to develop a biomarker to indicate a patient’s risk of developing specific age-related diseases. This means that those conducting clinical trials can select participants more accurately, shortening a trial’s duration and reducing the number of patients needed.With an ageing population and longer lifespans, developing novel and effective drugs for age-related conditions is crucial.

The company aims to extend human health span by combining the fields of geroscience, epigenetics and machine learning to develop diagnostics for early detection of age-related conditions. Through the use of large and unique data sets from Norwegian biobanks, Age Labs has developed a prediction algorithm that works to uncover new biological information about ageing and disease.

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The R&D project will last for four years and is led by Age Labs in collaboration with commercial and academic partners including AbbVie, Fürst Medical Laboratory, The Norwegian Institute of Public Health and Oslo University Hospital.