Last year the companies inked a deal to work on the synthetic pancreas ViaCyte is developing. The San Diego-based company’s Encaptra device is designed to be seeded with stem cells engineered to become pancreatic cells and implanted under the skin. The newly created pancreatic cells generate insulin and other hormones about 3 months after implantation, which then pass through a semi-permeable membrane that blocks white blood cells to prevent an immune response against the implanted cells.
Since then the device has progressed to improved engraftment and function in non-clinical models selected to reflect the biological response in patients. Today the companies said the $10 million note will allow the resumption of clinical work as early as next year.
“The collaboration with Gore has been exceptionally productive. Gore’s expertise and unique ability to manipulate the materials and engineer novel membranes has proven invaluable for improving the performance of the PEC-Encap product candidate in non-clinical studies that have been shown to be reflective of the human experience,” ViaCyte president & CEO Paul Laikind said in prepared remarks. “We are grateful to Gore for providing this substantial additional financial support and are excited to complete the necessary work that should allow us to resume clinical testing of PEC-Encap as early as the first half of 2019.”
“At Gore, we have been delighted to partner with ViaCyte in a dynamic and focused ongoing effort to overcome device limitations and enable success of the PEC-Encap product candidate,” added Gore PharmBIO Products leader Erin Hutchinson. “The combination of our decades of implantable device and materials experience, with ViaCyte’s regenerative medicine and cell therapy expertise, makes for a formidable team. Together we have an opportunity to deliver a potentially curative product for those currently suffering with type 1 diabetes and help pioneer the new field of cell replacement therapy.”