Extend Biosciences aims to develop safe and effective breakthrough therapies that can be administered by the patient at home. The company has multiple compounds in development both internally and with external partners (see graphic below).
The lead program is long-acting ghrelin peptide for cancer cachexia, a condition characterized by involuntary weight and muscle loss that affects >1 million patients/year. Cancer and other devastating chronic diseases such as congestive heart failure and AIDS are often coupled with cachexia. Studies have shown that cancer patients who have cachexia often respond poorly to chemotherapy, are at a greater risk of infection and have a reduced life expectancy. In fact, it is estimated that ~30% of cancer patients die from cachexia, not cancer. Currently there are no FDA-approved therapies to treat cachexia. Ghrelin is a hormone made by the body that increases appetite and stimulates muscle growth. Ghrelin has already been shown to safely abrogate the affects of cachexia in numerous animal models as well as in humans. However, because of its short half-life, ghrelin must be administered 3-4 times daily using an intravenous infusion in order to see these effects. This is simply not practical for patients. Extend Biosciences’ platform technology is truly enabling for this short-lived peptide as it increases the half-life and improves the bioavailability of the peptide in the body. Reversing the effects of cachexia will significantly improve a cancer patient’s quality of life and chance of survival, as well as decrease the need for hospitalizations, resulting in reduced healthcare costs.
Extend Biosciences also has several biotechnology and pharmaceutical partners that are developing improved versions of their peptide-based therapies using our technology. These programs serve as external validation of our technology and may generate longer-term licensing arrangements and revenue to Extend Biosciences.