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, more than 29 million people in the U.S. are living with diabetes mellitus, and 86 million are living with prediabetes, a serious health condition that increases a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. Of the total population with diabetes, approximately 5%, or almost 1.5 million in the U.S., have type 1 diabetes (T1D). In 2010, it was estimated that the annual cost of T1D to the U.S. healthcare system was approximately $14.4 billion. Patients with T1D, and many with type 2, require insulin to survive. As beta cell loss is the primary pathogenesis of T1D, the disease is an ideal candidate for cell replacement therapy. Learn more about Diabetes.
The business opportunity for ViaCyte is substantial. According to the American Diabetes Association, the total costs of diagnosed diabetes rose dramatically from $174 billion in 2007 to $245 billion in 2012. This includes $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion in reduced productivity.
ViaCyte’s Cell Replacement Therapy is a Leap Forward in Diabetes Treatment
ViaCyte’s diabetes therapies, including the PEC-Direct™ and PEC-Encap™ product candidates, combine a specifically engineered (PEC-01™) cell product with proprietary delivery devices 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.
In normal healthy individuals, blood glucose levels and numerous other physiological activities are monitored and regulated by the endocrine cells in the pancreatic Islets of Langerhans. However, in diabetes, this monitoring and regulation does not function properly, and in type 1 diabetes (T1D) in particular, specific cell types are lost or severely damaged, including insulin-producing beta cells. Because the cellular components of ViaCyte’s combination products are comprised of human (PEC-01) cells, they are expected to respond to the full array of these inputs with the production of insulin and other potentially beneficial regulatory hormones and factors as needed naturally. In pre-clinical studies, PEC-01 cells mature to become endocrine cells that produce insulin and other regulatory hormones including glucagon, amylin, somatostatin, and more. The ability of endocrine cells delivered by the PEC-Direct and PEC-Encap combination products 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 combination products have the potential to transform the way diabetes care is managed. ViaCyte products could represent a functional cure for T1D and important new therapy for insulin-requiring type 2 diabetes.