ViaCyte, a San Diego-based, privately held regenerative medicine company, has entered into a $20 million rights agreement with Janssen R&D, a unit 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.
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 FDA of an Investigational New Drug application for the VC-01 product candidate. 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.
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.