2021/01/13 - Press

Virbac and Symbiocelltech sign exclusive option agreement to develop novel technology for treatment of type 1 diabetes in companion animals.

CP_Diabte_Vignette-Site-corpo.jpgDiscover the press release issued on january 12th

SALT LAKE CITY, UT, USA and CARROS, France, january 12, 2020SymbioCellTech, LLC (SCT), a biotechnology company in Salt Lake City, pioneering stem cell therapy for diabetes, sign with Virbac (VIRP), the world’s sixth largest veterinarian pharmaceutical group, an agreement for the co-develop and commercialize their proprietary “Neo-Islet” cellular therapy to treat animals suffering from insulin-dependent diabetes.

Type-1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) is a disease in which the islet cells of the pancreas fail to produce the essential hormone, insulin. Approximately one dog in 3001 develops it. Currently, the standard therapy for T1DM in companion animals includes blood glucose monitoring and subcutaneous injection of insulin. However, this approach is cumbersome and expensive with most animals continuing to suffer from sub-optimal compliance to the drug administration regime and from long-term complications from the disease inducing a shortened life expectancy. 

“Neo-Islets” are small cellular clusters easily administered into the abdominal cavity in an outpatient procedure, which provide durable blood sugar control without the need for subcutaneous insulin, toxic anti-rejection drugs or encapsulation devices. In order to avoid the need for immunosuppressive agents to prevent rejection of this long-lasting cellular therapy, scientists at SymbioCellTech have employed adult mesenchymal stem cells to block the immune attack on transplanted pancreatic islet cells, a proprietary and patented process they term “natural encapsulation.” Also, by using this approach rather than placing an artificial delivery device in the body, the Neo-Islets do not mount a foreign body reaction that often leads to therapy failure. Neo-Islets are biologically pure cellular structures that possess all functions of normal pancreatic islet cells, while permanently shielding their pancreatic islet cell component from rejection and immune-mediated destruction. “SCT-c001” is Neo-Islets formulated specifically to treat dogs with insulin dependent DM. It was initially tested under an Investigational New Animal Drug (INAD) in a small number of insulin dependent pet dogs where it demonstrated promising long-lasting efficacy and an excellent safety profile.

“Even if the research and development will take time and prove complex, this agreement opens a very new and promising door for pet owners throughout the world, ultimately giving them the chance for a one-time therapy for their diabetic companion animals, which eliminates daily glucose monitoring and insulin injections, while hopefully avoiding the many complications of long-term diabetes,” said Russ Reiss, MD, Chief Operating Officer of SymbioCellTech. 

In conclusion, a partnership dedicated to animal health! Thanks to the new "Neo-islets" therapy, entirely biological, created by SymbioCellTech and in co-development for marketing by Virbac, this solution has the potential to revolutionize the global treatment of T1DM in animals.

1 Canine diabetes mellitus; can old dogs teach us new tricks? Catchpole B, Ristic JM, Fleeman LM,Davison LJ. Diabetologia 48:1948-1956, 2005.