C15:0, a trace odd-chain saturated fatty acid found in butter, is the first potential essential fatty acid to be discovered in 90 years, demonstrating promotion of cellular integrity and function in human cell systems and in vivo models.
The discovery, published in the peer-reviewed Scientific Reports (a Nature research journal), was part of an extensive series of studies conducted over the past three years, led by Dr Stephanie Venn-Watson, CEO and co-founder of Seraphina Therapeutics.
Along with the discovery of the new potential essential fatty acid, Seraphina Therapeutics also announced its Series A fundraise of $5.5m, led by Domain Associates. It plans to use this fundraise to advance C15:0 as dietary supplements and food fortifiers to address C15:0 deficiencies and to strengthen cells, enhance mitochondrial function and nutritionally guard against age-related breakdown.
The company aims to make C15:0 available as a vegan-friendly dietary supplement starting in the fall of 2020 and food fortifiers starting in early 2021.
C15:0, a trace odd-chain saturated fatty acid present in butter and some fish and plants, is the first new potential essential fatty acid discovered in nearly a century to actively foster cardiometabolic and liver fitness.
Daily oral supplementation with pure C15:0 for approximately 12 weeks supported healthier cholesterol and glucose homeostasis in obesity models and advanced hepatic form and vitality in liver disease models. In human cell systems, C15:0 also aided cellular homeostasis, helped mitochondrial function and activated receptors known to orchestrate metabolism and further cellular wellbeing.
Over the past 40 years, whole fat dairy intake has decreased dramatically in an effort to decrease dietary saturated fat intake and associated heart disease. However, during this time, the prevalence of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and metabolic liver diseases has increased.
Seraphina Therapeutics' studies on C15:0, along with supporting studies, suggest lowered population-wide dietary intake of whole fat dairy products may be causing C15:0 deficiencies.
"The world is now understanding that not all fats are bad—some are good and some may in fact be essential to optimizing cardiometabolic health," Dr Venn-Watson said.
"By effectively removing whole fat dairy from our diets, a 40-year experiment has been performed, including children who grew up in a fat-free environment. This discovery by Seraphina Therapeutics better enables the larger scientific community to fully understand how essential odd-chain saturated fatty acids may be to sustaining global health.
Dr Eric Venn-Watson, co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics, said, "Our studies support that C15:0 may be a goldilocks dietary odd-chain saturated fatty acid providing broad health benefits expected of an essential fatty acid. We look forward to producing additional groundbreaking discoveries with the help of our recent fundraise."