SAN DIEGO, Oct. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ViaCyte, Inc., a leading regenerative medicine company focused on developing new approaches to treat major diseases through the application of a stem cell-derived cell therapy, announced today that the Company was granted over 20 patents worldwide in 2013 thus far, three U.S. and twenty foreign. These patents enhance the Company's already strong proprietary position for its VC-01 combination product as well as other applications of its broad technology platform.
The VC-01 product is a stem cell derived, cell therapy that the company believes could transform the way patients with Type 1 diabetes manage their disease. The product combines pancreatic progenitor cells called PEC-01, produced by a directed differentiation process, encapsulated with a semi-permeable device called the Encaptra® Drug Delivery System, both are proprietary technologies. The VC-01 product is designed to be inserted under the skin followed by vascularization and maturation of the PEC cells to islet-like structures that provide insulin and other regulatory factors in response to blood glucose levels. If the product performs as expected it will provide patients with a replacement for the pancreatic endocrine cells lost as a result of the disease.
With the patents granted this year, ViaCyte's patent portfolio includes over 80 issued patents and 230 pending applications that encompass innovations from the Company's internal research and development efforts. The portfolio includes U.S. and foreign patents and applications directed to culture, expansion and scale-up of pluripotent stem cells and cell types derived therefrom, various differentiation processes for production of mesendoderm, definitive endoderm, PEC-01, and endocrine precursors, as well as claims directed to the Company's Encaptra® macro-encapsulation device platform. The patents include composition of matter, method of use, and process claims.
Dr. Paul Laikind, ViaCyte's president and chief executive officer said, "Our comprehensive and growing intellectual property portfolio helps to establish ViaCyte as a leading company in the area of cell replacement therapy and regenerative medicine. We expect to initiate clinical evaluation of the VC-01 combination product mid-next year. Success in the clinic would not only usher in dramatic improvement in the lives of patients with insulin dependent diabetes, it would also validate our broadly applicable cell therapy platform and our immune protective drug delivery device systems. "
The company also noted that included in the patents granted in 2013 is the Company's first patent in Europe directed to its stem cell assets. Obtaining patents in Europe remains a challenge in view of the European Patent Office's changing laws and guidelines with respect to inventions directed to embryonic stem cells. With patents in Europe, ViaCyte can invest and develop its technology for the benefit of patients throughout the world.
ViaCyte, a private company that has emerged as a leader in the field of regenerative medicine, is currently focused on developing a novel cell therapy for the treatment of diabetes. The Company's lead product is based on the production of pancreatic progenitors derived from human pluripotent stem cells. These cells are implanted in a durable and retrievable encapsulation device called the Encaptra® drug delivery system. Once implanted and matured, these cells are designed to secrete insulin and other regulatory factors in response to blood glucose levels. ViaCyte's goal for this potentially transformative diabetes product is long term insulin independence without immune suppression, and without risk of hypoglycemia and other diabetes-related complications.
ViaCyte is headquartered in San Diego, California with additional operations in Athens, Georgia. The Company is funded in part by CIRM and JDRF.