ViaCyte, headquartered in San Diego, CA., announced the close of an approximately $27 million private financing, part of the Series D preferred stock financing entered into in late 2018. Investors included, Bain Capital Life Sciences, TPG Capital, RA Capital Management, Sanderling Ventures, and several individual supporters of the Company. Proceeds from the financing will be used to further advance the Company’s novel cell replacement therapies as potential long-term treatments for type 1 diabetes.
ViaCyte’s pipeline candidates are based on directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into PEC-01 pancreatic islet progenitor cells, which are then implanted in durable and retrievable cell delivery devices. PEC-Direct, currently in the clinic, delivers ViaCyte’s PEC-01 cells (pancreatic islet progenitor cells) in a non-immunoprotective device and is being developed for type 1 diabetes patients who have hypoglycemia unawareness, extreme glycemic lability, and/or recurrent severe hypoglycemic episodes. The PEC-Encap (also known as VC-01) candidate, also undergoing clinical evaluation, delivers the same pancreatic islet progenitor cells but in an immunoprotective device. PEC-Encap is being developed for all patients with type 1 diabetes. Viacyte is also collaborating with CRISPR Therapeutics on PEC-QT, based on an immune-evasive stem cell line. This approach has the potential to further broaden the availability of cell therapy for all patients with insulin-requiring diabetes, as well as other potential disease indications.
Commenting on the financing, Paul Laikind, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and President of ViaCyte, said, “During these difficult times we are grateful for the continued support of our investors as well as our clinical trial participants, whose safety and health remains our focus and commitment. We are steadfast in our mission to deliver potentially life sustaining therapies for patients with insulin-requiring diabetes and to continue the significant progress we have made in the past year. ViaCyte is the first company to demonstrate production of C-peptide, a biomarker for insulin, in patients with type 1 diabetes receiving a stem cell-derived islet replacement. Moving forward, we are optimizing the effectiveness of both PEC-Direct and PEC-Encap, the latter of which incorporates novel device material technology created in collaboration with W.L. Gore & Associates. We are also making important progress on our PEC-QT program with our partner, CRISPR Therapeutics, and are now moving into pre-IND activities. This program is designed to eliminate the need for immuno-suppression and could have a transformative impact on a broader population of insulin-dependent patients.”