SAN DIEGO -- ViaCyte, Inc., a privately held regenerative medicine company announced today that it has entered into a Rights Agreement with Janssen Research & Development LLC (Janssen), one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. The agreement provides Janssen with a future right to evaluate a transaction related to the VC-01™ combination product that ViaCyte is developing for type 1 diabetes. This right will continue through the initial evaluation of clinical efficacy of VC-01. ViaCyte received $20 million from Janssen and Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation (JJDC). The payment included a rights fee and a note convertible into equity at a later date. JJDC has been a long-standing investor in ViaCyte.
This new infusion of capital, together with the recently announced $5.4 million private equity financing transaction, provides substantial additional resources for the further development of the Company's stem cell derived islet replacement therapy for insulin-dependent diabetes. The Company plans to use the funds primarily to accelerate the clinical development of the VC-01 product candidate.
ViaCyte recently announced the allowance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of an Investigational New Drug application for the VC-01 product candidate, which will permit ViaCyte to begin clinical evaluation of the VC-01 product candidate for type 1 diabetes. ViaCyte plans to promptly initiate clinical development directly in patients with type 1 diabetes, seeking to evaluate both safety and efficacy in this first clinical study.
"These important transactions provide us with additional resources we need to pursue the further development of the VC-01 product candidate as a potential new treatment option for patients with type 1 diabetes," said Paul Laikind, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of ViaCyte. "We are pleased to be extending our relationship with Janssen and JJDC in this area of mutual interest."
ViaCyte's VC-01 product candidate consists of pancreatic progenitor cells, called PEC-01™ cells, which are derived from a proprietary human embryonic stem cell line, encapsulated in ViaCyte's proprietary Encaptra® device. When implanted under the skin, the PEC-01 cells are specifically designed to mature and further differentiate into insulin-producing beta and other endocrine cells that regulate blood glucose in a manner similar or identical to the islets that normally comprise the endocrine pancreas.
ViaCyte is a privately-held regenerative medicine company focused on developing a novel cell therapy for the treatment of diabetes. ViaCyte's lead product candidate, VC-01 combination product, is based on the production of pancreatic progenitor cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells. These progenitor cells are implanted in a durable and retrievable encapsulation device. Once implanted and matured, these cells are designed to secrete insulin and other regulatory factors in response to blood glucose levels. The VC-01 combination product is being developed as a potential long-term diabetes treatment without immune suppression, and without risk of hypoglycemia or other diabetes-related complications.
ViaCyte is headquartered in San Diego, California with additional operations in Athens, Georgia. The Company is funded in part by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and JDRF.