In an in-depth piece on efforts to create an artificial pancreas for the treatment of type 1 diabetes, The MedTech Strategist interviews ViaCyte CEO Paul Laikind, Ph.D., and Michael Scott, Ph.D., ViaCyte chief development officer and vice president of our device program.
The article details the history of ViaCyte, born of a merger of three cell therapy companies — Novocell, CyThera, and Bresagen. Initially, Novocell experimented with implanting micro-encapsulated human islet cells. Now, ViaCyte is testing the VC-01™ product candidate made up of macro-encapsulated pancreatic progenitor cells, precursor cells that are expected to differentiate into mature cells that produce insulin and other hormones. The encapsulation device is designed to protect the cells from being destroyed by the immune system and allows the cell therapy to be removed and replaced as necessary.
The ViaCyte VC-01 product is currently being tested in Phase 1/2 human clinical trials. As the article explains, the initial patient cohort is being enrolled at the University of California, San Diego with the support of the UC San Diego Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center. After the first cohort is assessed for safety and efficacy of the device, around 35 additional patients will be enrolled at up to five additional study sites in the United States and Canada.