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ViaCyte Gets $10.1M Grant for Artificial Pancreas

Manufacturing Group | October 30, 2012

The artificial pancreas is expected to produce insulin to help control diabetes.

Officials at ViaCyte Inc., a regenerative medicine company developing a transformative cell therapy for treatment of diabetes, announce that it has received a $10.1 million Strategic Partnership Award from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

ViaCyte's innovative stem cell-based therapy for diabetes has been supported by several previous rounds of funding from CIRM, including a $20 million Disease Team Award in 2009.  This support has directly aided the development of VC-01, a regenerative medicine, combination product consisting of pancreatic beta cell progenitors encapsulated in a durable macroencapsulation device.  When implanted under the skin of a patient with diabetes, VC-01 is expected to produce insulin and other factors which should safely and effectively control their disease. In its review of ViaCyte's application, CIRM's Grants Working Group characterized the Company's proposed therapy as the "holy grail" of diabetes treatments.

ViaCyte recently held a successful Pre-IND meeting with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is on track to file an Investigational New Drug (IND) Application and initiate clinical evaluation of VC-01 in 2014.  The Strategic Partnership Award from CIRM will be used to support these efforts, reflecting CIRM's commitment to following promising science through the progressive stages of product development.

"We are very grateful for the assistance that we are receiving from CIRM to advance our promising technology", states Dr. Paul Laikind, president and CEO of ViaCyte.  "[This] grant allows us to continue our efforts on behalf of the California taxpayers to break new ground with our stem cell-based product that has the potential to essentially cure patients with type 1 diabetes and provide a powerful new treatment for those with type 2 disease as well."

Approval of the award came from CIRM's governing board, the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee (ICOC), with advisement from the Scientific and Medical Research Funding Working Group.  "ViaCyte has made good on their initial Disease Team award from CIRM, including a successful Pre-IND FDA meeting, and as a consequence, CIRM and the ICOC are glad to have the opportunity to continue funding ViaCyte's efforts to provide this product to patients with diabetes in California and the rest of the world," says Dr. Alan Trounson, president of CIRM.

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