French biotech developer Defymed said today it inked a collaborative deal with American biotech company Semma Therapeutics to support the continued development of a bio-artificial pancreas to treat type-1 diabetes.
The collaborative deal will aim to achieve pre-clinical validation of Defymed’s Mailpan bio-artificial pancreas in combination with Semma’s stem-cell derived differentiated insulin-secreting cells, Defymed said.
The Mailpan device is designed to be implanted in the abdomen, taking the shape of a pouch containing insulin-secreting cells to restore normal and continuous insulin production in diabetic patients.
“Semma Therapeutics’ expertise could represent a major new source for cells usable in our medical device. It is vital in Defymed’s strategy to validate our medical device with what are currently the most promising cells. We believe the approach developed by Semma is the most advanced worldwide. Everything points to our collaboration being a great success. So I welcome this partnership, which looks very promising indeed,” Defymed founding prez Dr. Séverine Sigrist said in a press release.
If successful, the therapy could offer a possible unlimited source of insulin-secreting cells, Defymed said, which would obviate the need for immuno-suppression treatment and allow patients to no longer have to receive repeat insulin injections.
“Defymed offers 1 of the most promising options available today in terms of a 3rd party immunoprotective device. We’re excited for the collaboration and look forward to the results,” Semma THerapeutics CEO Robert Millman said in a prepared statement.
In July, Defymed said it is partnering with the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation to fund studies of the company’s Mailpan bioartifical pancreas.
The company is slated to test the immunoprotection properties of the Mailpan device, which is designed to encapsulate insulin-secreting cells between membranes that are impermeable to the immune system but permeable for oxygen, nutrient, glucose and insulin transfer, the company said.
Defymed said the support will aid it in moving forward to clinical trials in humans, with its next project estimated to take up to 24 months to collect data on the immunoprotection properties of the device and to confirm previously collected functionality and safety data.