Editor’s Note: ViaCyte, Inc. is a grantee of Beyond Type 1.
ViaCyte is leading the charge in stem cell research and regenerative medicine. Their goal? Cell-based long-term diabetes treatments – a “functional cure” for Type 1 diabetes. Today, ViaCyte and W.L. Gore & Associates announced a $10 million investment by Gore into ViaCyte. This is the second multimillion-dollar investment by Gore, following a first in 2017.
September has been an exciting month for ViaCyte. This news comes less than 10 days after the announcement of a collaboration with CRISPR Therapeutics, a Switzerland-based biotechnology company focused on gene editing technologies that could one day be used to avoid an immune system response to an implanted cell product.
Indeed, the immune system response to the ViaCyte product continues to be the largest barrier in the treatment’s development. The financial support from Gore will fuel clinical trials for the PEC-Encap product. The vision for the PEC-Encap product is implantable insulin-producing cell therapy that does not require immunosuppression.
ViaCyte is currently using the PEC‐Direct product in the clinic, which is a non‐immunoprotective delivery device that permits direct vascularization of the cell therapy. Because the patient’s immune system will identify the cells as foreign, PEC‐Direct requires long‐term immunosuppression drugs to avoid the body rejecting the cell delivery device. Due to this, the PEC‐Direct will only be used for a group of Type 1 diabetes patients at high risk for acute complications.
While PEC-Direct is focused on just high-risk patients, many of who are facing immediate and potentially fatal complications and are candidates to receive a transplant with immunosuppression, ViaCyte’s goal remains treating everyone with T1D through development of the PEC-Encap product. With the support of this grant, ViaCyte’s PEC-Encap clinical trials will continue.
Beyond Type 1 will keep you updated on developments on the path to cure.