A biopharmaceutical company Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. focused on discovering and developing small molecule drugs to treat diseases of aging. They realized that activating certain members of the sirtuin family of enzymes, SIRT3 and SIRT4, may protect against cell damage.

Researchers have recently found that sirtuins enzymes promote the body's natural defense against disease and represent good drug targets because they have a specialized function in mitochondrial activity which may be therapeutically beneficial for metabolic and other diseases of aging. Seven human sirtuins (SIRT1-7) have been found.

Back in 2006, scientists showed that the SIRT1 activators seem to mimic calorie restriction and extend lifespan. The new study identified SIRT3 and SIRT4 as additional targets. This broadens the potential of Sirtris' drug discovery platform and intellectual property focused on sirtuin modulators to treat a number of diseases of aging such as metabolic, mitochondrial, inflammatory and neurological disorders, and cancer.

Currently, researchers are conducting Phase 1b and Phase 2a clinical trials with their first sirtuin modulator, SRT501, a proprietary formulation of resveratrol, which activates the SIRT1 enzyme. SRT501 represents the first clinical-stage drug candidate. They have also foused on developing a robust portfolio of novel SIRT1 activator drug candidates that are proprietary compounds significantly more potent than resveratrol and structurally unrelated too.