Canadian-based drug device maker Sernova Inc. is working with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation on a clinical trial of Sernova’s cell pouch system to treat hypoglycemia unawareness patients with severe type 1 diabetes.
The JDRF will give $2.45 million to support a clinical trial at a transplantation center in the U.S., according to the agreement.
Hypoglycemia unawareness, a complication of diabetes, stops the body from releasing epinephrine when blood sugar gets low. Normally, epinephrine would trigger symptoms characteristic of hypoglycemia like sweating and palpitations.
Sernova said the goal of the clinical trial is to provide patients suffering with hypoglycemia unawareness from type 1 diabetes with a therapy that utilizes Sernova’s implantable device. The device forms highly vascularized chambers, which allows for the release of medication when needed, according to Sernova.
The deal, made public in July, comes after JDRF agreed to fund studies for French biotech developer Defymed’s bioartificial pancreas. The advocacy organization has invested nearly $2 billion in type 1 diabetes research since they began in 1970, according to JDRF.
“JDRF has previously provided funding to advance the development of Sernova’s technologies through a preclinical collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital, and we are proud to continue our support as Sernova’s technologies progress into new safety and efficacy clinical trials,” JDRF prez & CEO Derek Rapp said in prepared remarks. “JDRF is excited about this collaboration, which advances research in encapsulated cell therapies, and will continue to drive progress toward our mission to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat T1D and its complications.”
“Sernova and JDRF are tightly aligned in our vision to see cell-based therapies developed to reduce disease burden and significantly increase the quality of life for people living with T1D,” Sernova prez & CEO Dr. Philip Toleikis said in a press release. “We see our work with JDRF on this important clinical trial as an exciting opportunity to more rapidly advance Sernova’s therapies to treat people with diabetes and address many of the shortcomings and challenges of current insulin therapy.”
“Sernova’s progression to human clinical trials is an incredible accomplishment in the global diabetes research agenda,” JDRF Canada prez & CEO Dave Prowten said. “I am particularly proud of this trial being a part of the JDRF portfolio because it supports advancements of the best and brightest research minds in Canada at Sernova. Also, this is a shining example of the international collaboration fostered by projects funded by JDRF. Working together with our global partners, we can accelerate this type of transformative research and ensure it becomes available for the T1D community.”