Defymed/Semma Therapeutics: Turning to biology
French biotech developer Defymed is taking a biological approach to the problem with its Mailpan bio-artificial pancreas. The Mailpan device is designed to be implanted in the abdomen, taking the shape of a pouch containing insulin-secreting cells to restore normal and continuous insulin production in diabetic patients.
The device is intended to encapsulate insulin-secreting cells between membranes that are impermeable to the immune system but permeable for oxygen, nutrient, glucose and insulin transfer, the company said.
If successful, the therapy could offer a possible unlimited source of insulin-secreting cells, Defymed said, which would obviate the need for immuno-suppression treatment and allow patients to no longer have to receive repeat insulin injections.
Late last year, the company said it inked a collaborative deal with American biotech company Semma Therapeutics to support the continued development of a bio-artificial pancreas to treat type 1 diabetes. The collaborative deal will aim to achieve pre-clinical validation of Defymed’s Mailpan bio-artificial pancreas in combination with Semma’s stem-cell derived differentiated insulin-secreting cells, Defymed said.
Defymed in July 2016 formed a partnership with the Junior Diabetes Research Foundation to fund studies of its Mailpan bioartificial pancreas.
The company said the support will aid it in moving forward to clinical trials in humans, with its next project estimated to take up to 24 months to collect data on the immunoprotection properties of the device and to confirm previously collected functionality and safety data.