Study will evaluate if the synthetic Hsp60 peptide can maintain pancreas’ ability to secrete insulin.

Teva Pharmaceuticals and Clal Biotechnology are making a combined $17.5 million investment in diabetes therapeutics firm Andromeda Biotech. Teva’s latest investment in Andromeda will total $11.9 million. Clal, which founded Andromeda back in 2007, is putting another $5.6 million into its portfolio company.

The new cash injection comes just two weeks after Andromeda confirmed the start of a global Phase III with DiaPep277®, its lead product for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. An initial Phase III trial with the molecule has completed patient enrollment. The new two-year study, DIA-AID, will evaluate whether the therapy can maintain the pancreas’ ability to secrete insulin.

Teva negotiated worldwide marketing rights to DiaPep277 in June 2009, in a deal through which the firm made a $13.5 million investment in Andromeda. The drug candidate is a 24 amino acid synthetic peptide derived from the sequence of the human heat shock protein 60 (Hsp60).

Andromeda claims that it modulates the immune response leading to autoimmune diabetes by diminishing or blocking the immunological destruction of beta cells. Assets relating to the DiaPep277 program were acquired from DeveloGen in 2007.

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