SmartCells, Inc. And Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Announce Partnership and $1 Million Funding to Advance SmartInsulin(TM) for Type 1 Diabetes
SmartCells, Inc. and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) today announced a partnership to advance SmartCells’ SmartInsulin(TM) for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. SmartInsulin will be a once-a-day, glucose-regulated subcutaneous insulin formulation for treating diabetes. SmartInsulin is injectable, like today’s currently available insulins, but designed to maintain continuous, tight control of blood glucose levels while reducing the risk of hypoglycemia – like the pancreas does automatically in the absence of diabetes. As part of the agreement, JDRF will provide $1 million in first-year funding to support preclinical safety and efficacy testing. The partnership is structured to support milestone-based funding through proof-of-concept human clinical trials.
“JDRF’s support will accelerate the commercial development of our SmartInsulin therapy for type 1 diabetes. Our formulation is designed to address the most critical issue in diabetes treatment – achieving tight glucose control without inducing severe hypoglycemic episodes. To accomplish this, patients will only have to inject SmartInsulin once a day using the same needles currently used for conventional insulin. We expect these important treatment benefits will improve patient safety and quality of life while reducing diabetic complications,” said Todd C. Zion, Ph.D., President and CEO of SmartCells. “We are very pleased to have JDRF’s support for this program, and share their commitment to the development of breakthrough treatments for type 1 diabetes.”
“JDRF is committed to supporting the development of unique therapies that can improve metabolic control for people with type 1 diabetes,” said Dr. Aaron Kowalski, JDRF Metabolic Control Program Director. “We believe that glucose-regulated insulin may represent a practical solution to the real needs of people with diabetes, and this collaboration illustrates our dedication to helping innovative companies test concepts and bring their products to patients faster.”
Under the terms of the partnership, the $1 million dollars of funding will support testing the safety and efficacy of SmartInsulin in preclinical type 1 diabetes trials. The partnership is intended to accelerate its development and reduce the time needed to progress to human testing. The grant is part of JDRF’s innovative Industry Discovery and Development Partnership Program, which supports companies developing drugs, treatments, and technologies to address type 1 diabetes and its complications.
SmartInsulin combines glucose sensing and insulin delivery in a single chemical construct that can be applied to the treatment of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Injected subcutaneously, SmartInsulin consists of an insulin payload attached to a biocompatible, biodegradable polymer, which is bound to an engineered glucose-binding molecule. Insulin is released only when the therapeutic is unbound by the presence of a specific glucose concentration. Once the surrounding glucose concentration drops to a target level, the injected dispersion stops releasing insulin, ready for the next glucose challenge. This approach can provide significant treatment benefits, including tight, continuous control of both fasting and mealtime blood glucose levels with a single dose, a significantly reduced risk of hypoglycemia and less frequent glucose monitoring.
About Type 1 Diabetes
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that affects children, adolescents, and adults, in which the immune system attacks cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, a hormone that enables people to convert food into energy. As many as 3 million people in the U.S. have type 1 diabetes. People with type 1 diabetes are dependent on insulin replacement therapy for the rest of their life. But replacing insulin is not a cure, and people with diabetes are at significant risk for a wide range of serious complications, including heart disease, blindness and kidney disease.
About SmartCells, Inc.
SmartCells, Inc. is developing a breakthrough polymer-based dosing technology, invented at M.I.T. by its co-founder and President Todd Zion, which makes it possible to auto-regulate the release of a drug based on the plasma concentration of a molecular indicator. SmartCells is developing a family of SmartInsulin(TM) products that address the needs of diabetics, including the Company’s lead therapeutic formulations for types 1 and 2 diabetes. The Company’s proprietary dosing technology may have broad applicability for infertility, thyroid and growth hormone deficiencies, drug-device combinations, and improving treatments that suffer from poor adherence or a narrow therapeutic window.
JDRF is a leader in setting the agenda for diabetes research worldwide, and is the largest charitable funder and advocate of type 1 research. The mission of JDRF is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Type 1 diabetes is a disease which strikes children and adults suddenly and requires multiple injections of insulin daily or a continuous infusion of insulin through a pump. Insulin, however, is not a cure for diabetes, nor does it prevent its eventual and devastating complications which may include kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke, and amputation.
Since its founding in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, JDRF has awarded more than $1.3 billion to diabetes research, including more than $156 million in FY2008. In FY2008 the Foundation funded more than 1,000 centers, grants and fellowships in 22 countries. For more information, go to www.jdrf.org