In a round led by Khosla Ventures and including First Round Capital, Box Group, Collaborative Fund, The Longevity Fund, and Lachy Groom — all of whom were involved in Loyal’s $11 million seed round raised in 2020 — as well as a group of angel investors, the company raised $27 million in Series A funding.
Since its inception in 2019, Celine Halioua, the company’s creator and CEO, has raised $38 million. She promotes her choice of investor makeup, which is 50% female, as a means of elevating more women in deep tech and longevity.
Halioua herself hails from a mixed family. She studied neurology at The University of Texas and then gene therapy at the University of Oxford before joining The Longevity Fund as head of staff and entrepreneur-in-residence.
The global market for anti-aging pharmaceuticals was worth almost $8 billion in 2020, and it expected to treble by 2027. Though Botox is well-known in this sector for its ability to smooth wrinkles, Halioua told TechCrunch that by treating aging, it might be used to prevent age-related disorders such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s in people.
The company’s hypothesis is that by focusing on improving the health and lifespan of dogs, it will learn more about how to accomplish the same in people. Due to closeness, a dog’s lifetime is equal to a human’s – dogs share environmental elements, occasionally eat the same food, and can suffer the same aging illnesses as humans, such as heart difficulties and cancer, according to Halioua.
Loyal is forming an animal pharmaceutical firm to create treatments targeted at prolonging the lifespan and healthspan of dogs, based on citizen science studies of over 500 dogs, in order to better understand canine aging and eventually translate that R&D into human goods. Loyal has grown from a three-person team to a 30-person company in the last year. The new funding will allow the company to expand its computation biology team, allowing it to continue working on two products: one aimed at extending the lives of large breed animals, which have shorter lifespans than their small breed counterparts do, and another aimed at improving cognitive function.
Both of these will enter clinical trials next year with the hopes of receiving FDA clearance, according to Halioua. Loyal will focus on establishing a consumer brand that is direct-to-consumer, selling directly to both doctors and pet owners, after demonstrating that its medications accomplish what they say they can do – help dogs live longer, healthier lives. “Our next steps are to expand our biology team and data over time so that we can tackle the difficult challenge of measuring the aging process,” she added. “Instead of being confused by a pharmaceutical brand, there is a chance to establish one that people adore.” These are medications designed to make a dog happier by extending its life.”
According to the American Pet Products Association, pet expenditure in the United States will reach almost $100 billion in 2020, up from $95.7 billion in 2019. In July, Embark Veterinary announced a $75 million round from SoftBank, indicating that venture capital interest in the field is increasing.
Within the next decade, the business hopes to reduce avoidable illnesses and increase the longevity of dogs by three years. The pet area is dynamic, according to Alexander Morgan, M.D. Ph.D., a partner at Khosla Ventures, and is a huge enough potential for Loyal to grow a large, lucrative business if it merely focused its energies there.
Many researches on human illnesses conducted on dogs since they are a suitable model for human health. However, determining whether the medicine is genuinely useful is difficult, he warned. Morgan explained, “Loyal means approaching longevity with a restricted mechanism.” “They distinguish themselves by emphasizing overall longevity and healthspan. Because you don’t want to add years of ill living to your life, healthspan is critical.”