Pathways Bioscience Seeks to Optimize Aging

Pathways Bioscience’s technology improves healthspan and overcomes health and wellness problems associated with aging. By use of a dietary supplement with naturally occurring plant-based ingredients, the body supports it own defense mechanisms that allow it to protect and heal itself.

CBSA President and CEO, Elyse Blazevich, asked Brooks Hybertson, Ph.D., President and CEO of Pathways Bioscience, CBSA’s Key Questions for Life Sciences Innovators.

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Pathways Bioscience team outside the Fitzsimmons Innovation Community.

Q: Tell us about your company or organization.

A: Since our founding in 2014 with Dr. Joe McCord, our primary goal has been to develop new pharmaceutical and dietary approaches to activating gene transcription factors, controlling gene expression, and supporting healthy aging. Today, we are focused on the discovery and development of new products that regulate gene expression, influence cytoprotective pathways, and help the body defend and maintain itself.

Q: Describe your team culture. How does your culture shape what your company or organization produces or offers?

A: We are a small, tight-knit team, having spent three decades working together as researchers in the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus environment. Our team’s shared goal is to give people more control over their health and wellness. This shared passion has led us to emphasize first our development of dietary supplement, rather than pharmaceutical, approaches to normalize and restore dysregulated gene expression that characterizes many disease states and is seen in typical aging.

Q: What are you working on right now?

A: NRF2, nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2, is a transcription factor that controls the production of a variety of cell-protective proteins in the body at the gene expression level. NRF2 plays key roles in heart disease, cancer, stroke, obesity, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and numerous other conditions. The NRF2 system in the body is crucial for maintaining health, and can be beneficially influenced by sleep, exercise, nutrition, and also by some dietary supplements and pharmaceutical agents. We are currently working to bring scientifically validated, evidenced-based supplements to the public. We developed and launched our first product in the U.S., PB125, a dietary supplement designed to activate the NRF2 pathway.

Q: How will your work save or change lives?

A: Our NRF2 activation products are intended to promote people’s resilience to health challenges and improve their healthspan. NRF2 regulates genes that protect your cells against a variety of challenges encountered during the aging process. Even at younger ages, endogenous cell defenses should be supported against challenges from viruses, toxins, etc. With this in mind, we are working with academic collaborators to study a variety of ways that PB125 can support health and wellness at all ages. Our intent is to give the public access to cost-effective ways to improve healthy aging.

Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your company or organization?

A: In March 2020, we began to investigate the potential roles of NRF2 activation in regulating immune responses to SARS-CoV-2. There are currently dozens of papers in the literature, including two from our own team, suggesting beneficial roles for NRF2 in COVID-19. We are continuing to examine potential cytoprotective effects of NRF2 activation by PB125 in virus-infected cells.

Q: CBSA champions a collaborative life sciences ecosystem because we are #strongertogether. How has being an active participant in our life sciences community supported your success?

A: The life sciences advocacy, events, and community-building by CBSA are outstanding and have helped guide the development of Pathways Bioscience. We have greatly appreciated both the conceptual and the nuts-and-bolts practical guidance from CBSA, including at their BioBoot Camp, networking, and investor events. CBSA has allowed us to connect with and learn from leaders in other Colorado bioscience companies.

Being located at Fitzsimons Innovation Community provides us with modern facilities and resources, a central location, and the excitement of being surrounded by other fascinating bioscience companies.

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