Research and technology development at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) continues to lead to tremendous real-world breakthroughs.
UAB on Wednesday outlined that Yuva Biosciences, an anti-aging startup based on technology developed at the university, is harnessing its cutting-edge science and research to develop products that feature mitochondria playing a role in reversing skin aging and hair loss.
Together, hair loss prevention and anti-aging skincare represent a more than $11 billion market. With Yuva Biosciences choosing to base their startup in Birmingham, this signals yet another marker in the area’s ascent as the “Southern Silicon Valley.”
“It’s exciting to see another startup born out of UAB technology choosing to stay and grow in Birmingham,” said Kathy Nugent, Ph.D., executive director of UAB’s Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in a statement. “Competing companies are predominantly located in medtech clusters, including Silicon Valley and Boston; but our local ecosystem is also poised for cultivating innovative startups like Yuva.”
The startup reportedly intends to develop cosmeceuticals — science-based cosmetics with medicinal properties — and pharmaceuticals. The pathway to product launch is significantly shorter for cosmeceuticals, and the company expects to develop initial topical products within four years.
Wrinkled skin and hair loss are among the earliest and most predominant visual changes observed during aging, which could make for significant market demand for potential Yuva products that change the game in that regard.
“Yuva Biosciences plans to mitigate many of the undesirable effects of aging, which is why we like to say our goal is to provide youthfulness for life,” said Keshav Singh, Ph.D., professor of genetics in the UAB School of Medicine, who will serve as Yuva Biosciences’ chief scientific adviser.
“Initial products will be aimed at helping people look and feel younger, with a longer-term plan to address aging-related diseases and disorders,” he added.
Greg Schmergel, a Boston-based serial entrepreneur, will serve as chairman of Yuva Biosciences, offering more than 25 years of experience in launching multiple high-tech ventures and leading a nanotechnology company, Nantero, Inc., where he is the co-founder and CEO.
“Yuva is positioned to become a leader in the anti-aging industry, under Keshav’s vision and scientific leadership,” Schmergel emphasized. “We are committed to building the company in Birmingham, where we’ll have access to resources like the world-class researchers and facilities at UAB, the startup-focused amenities at Innovation Depot, and the rising regional entrepreneurial network.”
The company has identified lab space at Innovation Depot and plans to hire additional employees, according to UAB.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn