UAB Startup Takes on Aging at the Cellular Level

Keshav Singh, Ph.D.

A new startup out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham is taking on aging. Yuva Biosciences hopes to tap into the $11 billion hair loss prevention and anti-aging skincare market with new products to be produced within four years.

Yuva Biosciences will develop cosmeceuticals, science-based cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals based on mitochondria research.

“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 and scientific founder and chief scientific officer of Yuva Biosciences. “Initial products will be aimed at helping people look and feel younger, with a longer-term plan to address aging-related diseases and disorders.”

The idea for Yuva Biosciences came out of Singh and his team’s research into mitochondrial DNA, the tiny part of cells that produce 90 percent of the chemical energy they need to survive. Mitochondrial function declines as humans age.

In 2018, Singh and his team triggered a mutation that caused mitochondrial dysfunction in mice, with the mice quickly developing wrinkled skin and hair loss. But when the mitochondrial function was restored, the mice regained smooth skin and thick fur. While research on animals often doesn’t produce the same results in humans, Singh and his team believe the finding merited further investigation.

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Well over a year later, Yuva Biosciences has identified lab space at Innovation Depot and plans to hire additional employees. 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 said. “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.”

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