Clinical research on Type I Diabetes is one of the most exciting and promising areas of stem cells and regenerative medicine for human disease.
Two of the coolest companies out there in this arena have been ViaCyte and BetaLogics (owned by J&J). For more on ViaCyte see my interview with President and CEO Paul Laikind from 2015.
Today brings great news for ViaCyte on two fronts. Incidentally, this gives me a correct prediction on my Top 20 stem cell predictions for 2016.
First, it has acquired the assets and IP of BetaLogics, bringing together two of the best biotechs to use stem cells to fight Diabetes. This is a very exciting move and will strengthen ViaCyte. The terms of the deal were not released. This is also good news for Diabetes patients as this seems likely to give ViaCyte a big boost. ViaCyte’s press release quoted Laikind:
“For more than a decade BetaLogics and ViaCyte have been independently working toward a stem cell‐derived therapy for diabetes. By combining the intellectual property and other assets of BetaLogics with ViaCyte, we will further strengthen our advanced program focused on
insulin‐dependent diabetes and solidify our leadership in the field,” said Paul Laikind, PhD, President and CEO of ViaCyte. “We look forward to delivering effective new treatments for this difficult disease.”
Second, ViaCyte has had some notable success in producing the first data in its Phase 1/Phase 2 clinical trial called STEP ONE (Safety, Tolerability, and Efficacy of VC‐01 Combination Product in Type One Diabetes). From the company on this development:
- “The data show that pancreatic progenitor cells (PEC-01) within VC-01 can engraft, vascularize, and differentiate into pancreatic beta islet cells (insulin-producing cells) 12 weeks after implantation.
- This is an important milestone in the development of a “functional cure” for type 1 diabetes. And an important milestone for the industry — the clinical trial is supported by JDRF and CIRM (California Institute for Regenerative Medicine)
- The goal is for the PEC-01 cells in VC-01 to mature and secrete insulin and other regulatory factors in response to blood glucose levels. “
Together these events solidify ViaCyte’s leadership in the area of stem cell-based treatments for Diabetes.