EDITOR'S NOTE: From a security software maker to the developer of an implantable spinal cord neuromodulator, the Business Journal highlights seven spun-out ventures looking to ride the lab coattails of USC, UCLA and Caltech.
Product: Medicinal food for cancer treatment and anti-aging
Chief Science Officer: Todd Morgan
Year Founded: 2009
Location: Culver City
What does the product do?
We have discovered that specific low-calorie diets adopted only periodically (once a month to once every six months for four to five days) can enhance cancer treatment and protect against aging and diseases in animals. We are now performing clinical studies to determine the efficacy of our products in humans.
What was the idea that led to the creation of the company?
Professor Valter Longo (L-Nutra founder) discovered that periodic use of a special diet called “fasting mimicking” could protect mice during chemotherapy while making the treatment much more effective. In mice, the combination of diet and chemotherapy causes a 20 to 60 percent cure from a variety of cancers versus the diet or chemo alone, which do not lead to cures. The diet alone was as effective as chemotherapy against several cancers in mice. We are now performing clinical trials at several major hospitals in both the United States and Europe to test the efficacy of our Chemolieve diet, which uses the fasting mimicking technology, on a variety of cancers including breast, prostate and colorectal cancer. We are also clinically testing ProLon, which is aimed at delaying cellular aging and stimulating stem-cell proliferation and organ rejuvenation.
What has been the benefit of spinning the company out of USC?
Access to state-of-the-art laboratories as well as the relationship with leading oncologists and the Norris Cancer Center. Naturally, the major benefit is that all of our technologies come from USC and are licensed from USC.
What has been the biggest change since spinning off?
Preparing for a worldwide launch of ProLon, our first product, and organizing five clinical trials and several more to come.
How can the product change society?
Our products will allow people to achieve endocrinological and cellular changes that are expected to maximize health and protect from aging and disease. Our products are also expected to have major effects on weight management and general well-being.
If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would it be?
L-Nutra is a company that was founded in 2009 but has been planned since the mid-’90s, so I think we would do everything the same way.
What were some of the challenges in developing the company?
A major challenge has been to keep up with the patent applications and attempting to cover many countries while the product is still under development. The other challenge is to raise enough funds without compromising the philosophy of the company: “Patients and their health span and longevity come first.”
What’s next for the company?
We are developing new medical foods that can treat or prevent many diseases based on very promising animal studies and are going to open an L-Nutra Longevity Center, probably in Santa Monica, with registered dietitians trained at USC.