Press Release: Cambrian BioPharma Announces Licensing Agreement to Develop Selective mTOR Inhibitors

5 mins to read

February 16, 2022


Cambrian BioPharma

New York, Feb. 16, 2022 - Cambrian BioPharma, a multi-asset longevity biotech, announced a licensing agreement with Novartis to advance novel, selective compounds designed and characterized by Novartis to target the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. The licensed assets are structural analogs of the FDA-approved drug rapamycin, which has been shown to prevent or reverse multiple age-related health deficits in mice1 and extend their average lifespan by up to 31%2.

The assets will be developed by new Cambrian subsidiary Tornado Therapeutics led by industry and Novartis veteran Joan Mannick, M.D., as CEO. The most advanced asset is now moving into IND-enabling studies, while a second asset is undergoing preclinical efficacy testing.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cambrian acquired exclusive, worldwide rights to the assets, while Novartis received an upfront payment and is entitled to royalties and milestone payments for successfully commercialized medicines. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"Pioneers in longevity therapeutics have seen the potential of next-generation mTOR inhibitors for years," said James Peyer, CEO of Cambrian BioPharma. "This partnership, led by Dr. Mannick and combining Cambrian's development capabilities with the foundational work done at Novartis, creates a fantastic opportunity to bring a new class of potentially safer, more effective mTOR inhibitors to patients."

"Although mTOR inhibitors are the best validated therapeutic targeting aging biology, their potential benefits for human aging are just beginning to be explored," said Dr. Mannick, CEO of Tornado Therapeutics. "The assets we have in-licensed from Novartis will allow us to do a thorough assessment of the safety and efficacy of mTOR inhibitors in aging-related conditions in humans with the ultimate goal of extending healthy lifespan."

Dr. Mannick joins Tornado Therapeutics from Life Biosciences, where she served as Head of Research and Development. Prior to joining Life Biosciences, she was the Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of resTORbio, now Adicet Bio. Previously, she served as Executive Director of the New Indications Discovery Unit at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, where she led clinical studies of mTOR inhibitors to improve immune function in older adults. Prior to Novartis, Dr. Mannick served as Medical Director at Genzyme working in multiple therapeutic areas and was faculty member at Harvard Medical School and University of Massachusetts Medical School. She received an A.B. from Harvard College and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School and completed her residency at Brigham and Women's Hospital, followed by an infectious diseases fellowship as part of the Harvard Combined Infectious Diseases Program.

About mTOR Inhibitors

The FDA-approved drug rapamycin and its analogues (rapalogs) are inhibitors of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR). mTOR inhibitors are an exceptionally well-explored therapeutic class, encompassing three FDA-approved medications evaluated in more than 3,000 clinical trials. Recent studies have demonstrated that mTOR inhibitors extend health and lifespan in multiple organisms, including yeast, worms, flies and mice, establishing them as the best validated class of longevity therapeutics1. The next generation mTOR inhibitors in-licensed by Cambrian are predicted to have improved safety and efficacy as compared to currently approved rapalogs.

About Cambrian BioPharma

Cambrian BioPharma is building the medicines that will redefine healthcare in the 21st century – therapeutics to lengthen healthspan, the period of life spent in good health.

As a Distributed Development Company (or DisCo), Cambrian is advancing multiple scientific breakthroughs each targeting a biological driver of aging. Our approach is to develop interventions that treat specific diseases first, then deploy them as preventative medicines to improve overall quality of life as we age. To date, Cambrian has 17 novel therapeutics in development across its pipeline. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter @CambrianBio and LinkedIn.

About Tornado Therapeutics

Tornado Therapeutics is a majority-owned pipeline company of Cambrian BioPharma focused on the development of next-generation mTOR inhibitors to improve efficacy and safety through greater selectivity. The company is currently operating in stealth mode.

Cambrian BioPharma Contact

Susan Sharpe
+1 781 235 3060

1  Selvarani, R., Mohammed, S. & Richardson, A. Effect of rapamycin on aging and age-related diseases—past and future. GeroScience 43, 1135 (2021).

2  Miller, R. A. et al. Rapamycin-mediated lifespan increase in mice is dose and sex dependent and metabolically distinct from dietary restriction. Aging Cell 13, 468 (2014).