ViaCyte, a San Diego stem cell therapy biotech, has teamed up with a Massachusetts gene-editing company to take on diseases like diabetes.
Under a deal that could span discovery, development and commercialization, ViaCyte is set to receive $15 million from CRISPR Therapeutics, which can pay in either cash or company stock.
ViaCyte could receive an extra $10 million in a promissory note, though requirements for the additional payment were not disclosed.
The company has generated pancreatic cells from stem cells in hopes of treating diabetes. CRISPR’s gene-editing technology offers the potential to protect transplanted cells from a patient’s immune system.
“We believe the combination of regenerative medicine and gene editing has the potential to offer durable, curative therapies to patients in many different diseases, including common chronic disorders like insulin-requiring diabetes. ViaCyte is a pioneer in the regenerative medicine field, and has built a compelling clinical program, robust manufacturing capabilities, and assembled a strong intellectual property position,” said CRISPR CEO Samarth Kulkarni in a statement.
As a first step, CRISPR and ViaCyte will jointly develop an immune-evasive stem cell line. Next would be identifying a product candidate. Assuming all goes well, the companies would partner on development and commercialization.
ViaCyte has two drug candidates in clinical-stage development.