PharmaCyte Biotech will partner with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to co-develop the company’s preclinical treatment for insulin-dependent diabetes that uses its Cell-in-a-Box® technology. The value of the collaboration was not disclosed.

The diabetes treatment consists of Melligen cells—human non-pancreatic insulin-producing cells—developed by UTS researchers, and encapsulated via Cell-in-a-Box, the company’s cellulose-based live cell encapsulation technology.

PharmaCyte Biotech and UTS have signed a research services agreement and a consulting contract. The agreement is designed to fund pivotal studies by Professor Ann Simpson, Ph.D. and colleagues to conduct, with the goal of helping fully characterize the parameters by which Melligen cells produce insulin on-demand when encapsulated using Cell-in-a-Box.

The consulting contract is intended to allow Dr. Simpson to devote sufficient time to working with PharmaCyte Biotech and its international Diabetes Consortium as it pursues development of the company’s diabetes treatment.

“We are particularly pleased that Professor Simpson has agreed to join us as a consultant because, not only was she a founding member of our Diabetes Consortium, her expertise in dealing with the Melligen cells will undoubtedly continue to be indispensable as we move forward in our efforts to find an effective treatment for all those who are in need of insulin to live a normal life,” PharmaCyte Biotech CEO Kenneth L. Waggoner said in a statement.

According to the company, the consortium consists of prominent investigators from institutions in several countries. The consortium was formed to facilitate studies that will be needed before clinical trials can be undertaken on the diabetes treatment.

The company plans to use Cell-in-a-Box as a platform for treatments for diabetes as well as several types of cancer, including advanced, inoperable pancreatic cancer.

PharmaCyte Biotech’s lead product is a pancreatic cancer treatment that involves low doses of the chemotherapy prodrug ifosfamide, together with encapsulated live cells that convert ifosfamide into its active form, in capsules placed as close to the tumor as possible.

The company said it is also developing cancer treatments based on cannabinoids.

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