Over time, a whole series of entangled phenomena take place at the cellular level. One of the great discoveries of the biology of ageing is that these phenomena are found in all cells – in heart, liver and kidney cells, as well as neurons. Very briefly, there are two types of such mechanisms: phenomena that harm the cell and those that protect it. During ageing, unfortunately, deleterious phenomena tend to increase and protective phenomena to decline. Cellular deterioration is, therefore, due to an increase over time of several toxic or deleterious processes.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN STRESS AND AGING
Living organisms are continuously subject to physical, chemical and biological stresses that can affect their functioning. The cells and tissues of living organisms protect themselves through multiple resilience mechanisms.
One example of a natural resilience mechanism is the antioxidant defenses that protect cells from oxidative stress. Potentially harmful reactive oxygen species are produced during oxidative metabolism. Without intact antioxidant defenses, the accumulation of reactive oxygen species results in molecular damage that promotes tissue degeneration and accelerated aging.
As a result of aging or a genetic defect, these resilience mechanisms are overloaded and lose their effectiveness against stress.
Plants produce a very large number of molecules, particularly secondary metabolites, which are useful for their own protection and are believed to have beneficial effects in those who consume them because the signaling pathways they activate are conserved during the course of evolution.
Plant secondary metabolites are already at the origin of many drugs used in the treatment of metabolic or inflammatory diseases. Some of these metabolites act against cellular distress and organ dysfunction and restore the effectiveness of protective mechanisms, making them beneficial in the development of drugs to treat age-related diseases or diseases of accelerated aging.
OUR TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH PLATFORM
Biophytis has developed an original research platform, based on the screening of natural active molecules in models of age-related pathologies.
Natural active molecules have been the subject of active academic research for over 10 years to establish their role in the development of chronic age-related pathologies. Researchers have focused on degeneration of the retina, skeletal muscle or other vital organs including the brain, heart, kidneys, and liver.
Located on the campus of Sorbonne University (formerly Pierre and Marie Curie University, UPMC), its first scientific partner, Biophytis has:
(i) set up, in partnership with the Institut de Biologie Paris Seine at Sorbonne University, a collection of natural active ingredients belonging to several chemical classes (triterpenoids, polyphenols and carotenoids) derived from edible and medicinal plants.
(ii) developed or partnered cellular and animal models of age-related pathologies, in collaboration with the biomedical research teams and translational research institutions of Sorbonne University.
THE USE OF NATURAL COMPOUNDS AND REVERSE PHARMACOLOGY
Using reverse pharmacology and our proprietary library containing hundreds of bioactive molecules naturally produced by plants in response to stress, we have identified compounds from a unique collection of natural plant substances. After testing their efficacy on cellular and animal models of age-related diseases, we have determined their mechanism of action. The information we collect through this process makes it possible for us to improve (i) the structure of the compounds by medicinal chemistry (structure-activity relationship studies) and (ii) the compounds’ metabolic and pharmacokinetic characteristics in order to increase their effectiveness.
Biophytis has thus developed SARCONEOS, a MAS receptor activator to preserve mobility in sarcopenia and DMD, and MACUNEOS, a drug that binds PPAR to slow vision decline in people with dry-ARMD.
These substances have very low levels of toxicity. The discovery of their effects on the aging process has enabled their use in treating targeted pathologies to be patented.
Additional pipeline candidates include proprietary hemisynthetic derivatives relative to SARCONEOS and MACUNEOS : BIO103 and BIO203.