San Diego-based Allele Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals, Inc., officially announced a joint research and development agreement with South Korea’s SCM Lifescience Co., Ltd., for the development of diabetes therapies using pancreatic beta cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
iPSCs can be derived from adult human tissue cells yet share the developmental potentials of embryonic stem cells. Currently Japan has 6 ongoing clinical trials utilizing this technology, but the rest of the world is now joining the movement with 4 clinical trials initiated outside of Japan in the past year.
Since 2009, Allele Biotechnology has been developing clinically compatible technologies to produce high quality iPSCs and tissue-specific cells from iPSCs. The pancreatic beta-cell program is powered by Allele’s core capabilities, including proprietary methods utilizing mRNA for generation and differentiation of iPSCs, and a state-of-art, commercialization-ready cGMP facility in San Diego, California.
Dr. Jiwu Wang, Founder and CEO of Allele Biotechnology, said, “We are excited to have a partnership with SCM Lifescience, which has years of experience in cell therapy clinical trials. This collaborative project will help us quickly generate first-in-human results in the fast-moving field of iPSC-based therapies.”
The purpose of the collaboration is to confirm the therapeutic applicability of Allele’s iPSC-derived pancreatic beta cells for diabetes and related indications. The initial efforts will be focused on developing an autologous product for certain forms of Type 3c Diabetes (T3cDM), that are inherently non-autoimmune in nature. Allele Biotechnology also envisages alternative, off-the-shelf allogeneic therapeutic products for other types of diabetes, taking advantage of its growing bank of cGMP-grade footprint-free iPSCs, and gene editing technologies.
SCM Lifescience currently has a number of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cell therapies in its pipeline, indications include chronic graft versus host disease, acute pancreatitis, severe atopic dermatitis, and liver cirrhosis. The new collaboration will expand its capabilities by exploring the iPSC-based market.
“We are pleased to collaborate with Allele Biotechnology for the development of diabetes treatment which will be a valuable addition to our current pipeline. Knowing Allele’s cGMP manufacturing experience, we are expecting a great synergy with our recent acquisition of CoImmune with its production site in North Carolina,” stated Dr. BG Rhee, CEO of SCM Lifescience.