ViaCyte, Inc., a leader in the emerging field of regenerative medicine, is a private, venture-capital backed company headquartered in San Diego, California focused on profoundly improving the way patients with diabetes are treated.
…the goal of the proposed therapy [represents] the ‘holy grail’ of diabetes treatments. The product candidate could have a transformative impact if successfully developed
The Diabetes Crisis
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25.8 million people in the United States, or 8.3% of the U.S. population, suffer from diabetes. Of the 25.8 million people with diabetes, approximately 5%, or approximately 1.25 million, have type 1 diabetes milletus (T1DM). In 2007, the estimated annual cost of T1DM to the U.S. healthcare system was approximately $14.9 billion. Patients with type 1 diabetes and many with type 2 require insulin to survive. As beta cell loss is the primary pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes, the disease is an ideal candidate for cell replacement therapy. Learn more about Diabetes.
The business opportunity for ViaCyte is substantial. In 2007, the estimated cost of diabetes in the United States was $174 billion, comprised of approximately $116 billion in direct medical costs and $58 billion in indirect costs associated from disability, lost productivity and premature mortality.
ViaCyte’s Cell Replacement Therapy is a Leap Forward in Diabetes Treatment
ViaCyte’s diabetes therapy, (VC-01™), combines a highly engineered cell product (PEC-01™) with a proprietary delivery device to provide a superior solution to intensive insulin therapy but without the problems of frequent glucose monitoring and insulin injections, and without the risk of unsafe hypoglycemic events common with insulin injections.
Blood glucose levels and numerous other activities are monitored and regulated by the pancreatic Islets of Langerhans. Because the cellular component of ViaCyte’s combination product is comprised of human cells (PEC-01), it is expected to respond to the full array of these inputs with the production of insulin and other potentially beneficial regulatory hormones and factors as well. In preclinical experiments, PEC-01 cells produce insulin and other functions characteristic of endocrine cells, including the production of glucagon, amylin, somatostatin, and other factors. The ability of endocrine cells delivered by the VC-01 combination product to detect and respond appropriately to blood chemistries on a continuous basis may well represent a major advance in medical treatment for diabetes.
In short, ViaCyte’s VC-01 combination product has the potential to transform the way diabetes care is managed. The product could be a virtual cure for type 1 diabetes and an important new therapy for insulin-requiring type 2 diabetes.