Eli Lilly ponies up $63M for Sigilon’s diabetes cell therapies, according to Amirah Al Adrus of FierceBiotech.com, 4 April 2018.
Eli Lilly is continuing its push into new diabetes products, paying $63 million up front to get its hands on Sigilon Therapeutics’ islet cell encapsulation technology. The biotech, which is working on “living therapeutics” for Type 1 diabetes, stands to reap an additional $410 million in milestones and royalties.
Under the agreement, Lilly will pick up an exclusive global license to Sigilon’s tech. The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech will develop treatments based on induced pluripotent stem cells that are engineered to become insulin-producing beta cells. These cells will be encapsulated using Sigilon’s Afibromer technology.
Also in FierceBiotech, 27 January 2018, JDRF sets up $42M Type 1 diabetes fund, aims to raise $80M. I guess we represent a hot target for research dollars!
Diabetes nonprofit JDRF is launching a new $42 million investment fund for Type 1 diabetes research. It will support the commercialization of early-stage devices, treatments and vaccines for the disease.
JDRF will pony up $32 million, with the remaining $10 million to come from other donors. The JDRF T1D Fund aims to raise $80 million over the next two years and seeks to invest in companies working on ways to prevent, treat and cure Type 1 diabetes, the organization said in a statement.
The fund is particularly interested in artificial pancreas, metabolic control, encapsulation and replacement, prevention and restoration therapies, according to the statement.
It will be governed separately from JDRF, which has bankrolled a number of projects, including ViaCyte’s encapsulated cell therapy, a potential replacement for insulin-producing cells, Sernova’s Cell Pouch System, an implant that secretes therapeutic cells to help control blood sugar and the University of Toronto’s skin patch that detects low blood sugar and automatically delivers glucagon to convert glycogen back into glucose.
And what do you think of all this “Ponying Up” of BIG $$$??? Dana Howe wrote a heartfelt opinion piece for BeyondType1.org, 4 April 2018.
So covering that press release announcing Lilly’s new investment in the cure space? Not simple. My response to the press release was exceptionally emotional. You know, like ugly-crying in the office after realizing the role Lilly might play in my future.
I have questions. Like — why is Lilly investing in technology that could hypothetically eliminate the need for one of their most popular drugs? Is Lilly putting a stake in the ground — marking the beginning of its claim to a corner of the future cure market? Perhaps this is an attempt to position themselves as an ally working on a cure for Type 1 diabetes rather than a company profiting from a life-sustaining medication many with diabetes struggle to afford? Worse, even – is this Lilly investing in cure research as a first step to killing this technology?
I am angry and I am confused because today I learned a difficult truth about the nature of our healthcare system and the pharmaceutical industry. And that is this:
There’s a significant chance that the very same companies profiting from the drug we take to stay alive will own (and profit from) the future cure for Type 1 diabetes.
Capillary Biomedical teams up with Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund to improve insulin pump therapy, as reported by Wendy Wolfson for the UCI Applied Innovation Currents, 4 April 2018.
According to Capillary’s Chief Executive Officer Paul Strasma, an insulin pump user may not realize their device has failed to deliver the proper amount of insulin. It can take several hours before an alarm will sound to inform the user of a problem, and then even more time to determine that the cannula has malfunctioned and needs replacement. In the meantime, blood sugars are not being adequately controlled.
“Our infusion set should never fail in that fashion,” said Strasma. “It was designed not to kink. Preclinical studies show that our cannula does less damage and better distributes insulin throughout tissue.”
According to Strasma, in addition to the flexible cannula, the company has also created a novel self-insertion device. Experiments with this innovation started in the Cove @ UCI’s prototype lab, and were then supported by UCI’s on-campus RapidTech manufacturing facility.
I’ve had a unique opportunity to watch and provide feedback during the early development process and I’ve met the team of researchers, all dedicated to creating a better product for those of us using infusion sets.