SAN DIEGO, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Novocell, Inc., a preclinical stage diabetes company, today announced that it will receive a Disease Team award totaling $20 million from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The Disease Team includes a group of scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), led by Dr. Jeff Bluestone, which is contracted to receive $2.8 million. The funding will advance Novocell's development of a first in kind cellular therapy for the treatment of diabetes.
Nearly 25 million people in the United States are afflicted with diabetes. Many diabetics have loss of insulin secreting cells resulting in poor blood sugar regulation. Novocell is developing an alternative to insulin injections by producing cells that will secrete insulin in patients similar to the cells that were lost. "We thank California voters for approving Proposition 71, and CIRM and the ICOC for their support of our science and scientists. This award will substantially accelerate our progress, which will benefit millions of Americans," said John West, President & Chief Executive Officer of Novocell.
Novocell is a preclinical therapeutic company focused on diabetes. Our therapy is based on the encapsulation and implantation of pancreatic beta cell progenitors (Pro-Islet-1) derived from human stem cells which secrete insulin in patients. Our goal is that Pro-Islet-1 can free both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetic patients from insulin dependence on a long term basis, while reducing or eliminating hypoglycemic, microvasculature and weight-mediated cardiovascular complications. Novocell is a private company headquartered in San Diego, California, with additional operations in Athens, Georgia.