ViaCyte taps Gore to develop delivery devices for diabetes cell therapy

Human embryonic stem cells
ViaCyte and Gore will improve the delivery device for the former's cell therapy to treat patients with Type 1 diabetes and those with Type 2 diabetes who need insulin.

ViaCyte, which is working on stem cell-based therapies for diabetes, has partnered with W.L. Gore to develop a delivery device for cell therapies that will protect the cells from being rejected by patients’ immune systems.

ViaCyte is developing a treatment that delivers stem cell-derived islet replacement therapies for patients with Type 1 diabetes and some patients with Type 2 diabetes, according to a statement.

The PEC-Encap product combines a delivery device, the Encaptra Cell Delivery System, with PEC-01 pancreatic progenitor cells. The Encaptra system delivers the PEC-01 cells and shields them from the host immune response, which removes the need for immunosuppressive drugs.

While the combo treatment has shown promise in early, preclinical evaluation, nonclinical results have shown that modifying the Encaptra device could improve PEC-Encap, ViaCyte said in the statement. The engraftment of the stem cells could also be improved.

“As ViaCyte advances our next generation encapsulation technologies for cell therapies, Gore’s contribution to the material and design improvements of the Encaptra delivery system is expected to support the reliable and robust long-term engraftment that is required for the PEC-Encap product to be most effective,” said ViaCyte CEO Paul Laikind, in the statement. “With Gore’s help, we plan to improve on the results we have seen with PEC-Encap, which would then have the potential of benefiting all patients with insulin-requiring diabetes, both type 1 and type 2.”

ViaCyte and Gore first looked into collaborating in 2016, said Edward Gunzel, technical leader for Gore PharmBIO Products, in the statement. The companies have created a joint development team. Financial details were not disclosed.