$10 million to fund Viacyte’s diabetes stem cell therapies

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ViaCyte has bagged $10 million for the development of their stem cell-derived treatments for patients who have Type 1 diabetes and are at risk of complications.The funds will be used to initiate the clinical development of ViaCyte’s PEC-Direct and PEC-Encap, two stem cell candidates developed for the treatment of diabetes.

Participants in the financing included Asset Management Partners, W.L. Gore who recently partnered with ViaCyte to work on their Encaptra device, JDRF who established a $42 million fund for Type 1 diabetes research of late and some undisclosed investors.

The San Diego-based company’s lead candidate, PEC-Direct is the intended beneficiary of the funds, which will go towards furthering its clinical development. The treatment works by administering stem cell-derived pancreatic progenitor cells in an implantable device. These cells are designed to mature into human pancreatic cells, including insulin-secreting beta cells. Targeted towards patients who experience severe hypoglycemic episodes, large fluctuations in blood glucose levels, or an inability to spot symptoms of low blood sugar, the treatment will be delivered alongside immune-suppressive drugs to prevent rejection.

The funds will also support ViaCyte’s PEC-Encap, a stem cell-derived islet replacement therapy developed as a treatment for patients who require insulin to control their diabetes. It comprises of pancreatic progenitor cells in an immune-protective device called the Encaptra® Cell Delivery System. The Encaptra Cell Delivery System in addition to delivering the progenitor cells, also protects the cells from the host immune response, cutting the need for immunosuppression. PEC-Encap is currently being investigated in a Phase 1/2 trial in type 1 diabetes patients.

“High‐risk type 1 diabetes has been successfully treated with cadaver islet transplants, but adoption of islet transplants has been limited, due in part to the insufficient supply of donor material,” said ViaCyte CEO Paul Laikind, in a statement. “Because ViaCyte’s PEC‐01 cells are manufactured from pluripotent cells with unlimited proliferative potential, they can be made in vast numbers and therefore may be capable of solving the cell supply issue.”

Source: ViaCyte bags $10M for diabetes cell therapies Press Release