Fauna Bio is a Berkeley-based company developing a multi-omics human drug discovery platform inspired by disease resistance non-model organisms.
Fauna Bio's platform finds gene networks that turn on and off during disease protection time points in hibernators and verifies the translatability of potential targets using human genomics data and cross-species conservation.
The company says that hibernating mammals are an excellent system for identifying drug targets because they can transiently protect themselves from problems similar to critically important human diseases, allowing the company to identify key protective genes that are turned on or off at medically-relevant times. They are naturally protected from numerous physiological insults that would be lethal to a non-hibernator:
The company says that despite all of these insults, these animals emerge healthy in the spring, and that, paradoxically, hibernators live considerably longer than expected for mammals of their size. Fauna Bio says it has the largest hibernation biobank in the world and is mining its genetic signatures to identify drug targets.