Virbac and SymbioCellTech Sign Exclusive Option Agreement to Develop Novel Technology for Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes in Companion Animals

SymbioCellTech, LLC (SCT), a biotechnology company in Salt Lake City, pioneering stem cell therapy for diabetes, today announced they have entered into an option agreement with Virbac (VIRP), the world’s sixth-largest veterinarian pharmaceutical group to co-develop and commercialize their proprietary “Neo-Islet” cellular therapy to treat animals suffering from insulin-dependent diabetes.
Type-1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM) is a disease in which the islet cells of the pancreas fail to produce the essential hormone, insulin. Currently, the standard therapy for T1DM in companion animals includes blood glucose monitoring and subcutaneous injection of insulin. However, this approach is cumbersome and expensive with most animals continuing to suffer from sub-optimal compliance to the drug administration regime and from long-term complications from the disease inducing a shortened life expectancy.
“Neo-Islets” are small cellular clusters easily administered into the abdominal cavity in an outpatient procedure, which provide durable blood sugar control without the need for subcutaneous insulin, toxic anti-rejection drugs or encapsulation devices. In order to avoid the need for immunosuppressive agents to prevent rejection of this long-lasting cellular therapy, scientists at SymbioCellTech have employed adult mesenchymal stem cells to block the immune attack on transplanted pancreatic islet cells, a proprietary and patented process they term “natural encapsulation.” Also, by using this approach rather than placing an artificial delivery device in the body, the Neo-Islets do not mount a foreign body reaction that often leads to therapy failure. Neo-Islets are biologically pure cellular structures that possess all functions of normal pancreatic islet cells, while permanently shielding their pancreatic islet cell component from rejection and immune-mediated destruction. “SCT-c001” is Neo-Islets formulated specifically to treat dogs with insulin dependent DM. It was initially tested under an Investigational New Animal Drug (INAD) in a small number of insulin dependent pet dogs where it demonstrated promising long-lasting efficacy and an excellent safety profile.
“Even if the research and development will take time and prove complex, this agreement opens a very new and promising door for pet owners throughout the world, ultimately giving them the chance for a one-time therapy for their diabetic companion animals, which eliminates daily glucose monitoring and insulin injections, while hopefully avoiding the many complications of long-term diabetes,” said Russ Reiss, MD, Chief Operating Officer of SymbioCellTech.
In conclusion, SymbioCellTech scientists believe that Neo-Islet therapy is a durable, all-biologic platform that has the potential to revolutionize the global treatment of T1DM in both animals and humans.
About Virbac, focusing on animal health, from the beginning
Founded in 1968 by a French veterinarian, Virbac is an independent pharmaceutical laboratory dedicated to animal health, since its beginning. Currently the world’s 6th largest animal health company and present in more than 100 countries, the company offers a practical range of products and services to diagnose, prevent and treat the majority of pathologies, while improving the animals’ quality of life. Virbac innovation, based on both technological advances and listening to its customers, relies on production facilities which meet the highest international quality standards. For more than 50 years, these features have allowed the company to build a personalized relationship with veterinarians, farmers and pet owners around the world. Through these privileged partnerships, in which social, health and environmental issues come together, Virbac contributes, day after day, to shape the future of animal health.
About SymbioCellTech:
SymbioCellTech is a biotechnology company that has developed a patented, proprietary therapy to cure insulin dependent T1DM, which is commonly referred to as Type 1 or juvenile onset diabetes. Already having attained an FDA Investigational New Animal Drug (INAD) approval for this novel therapy, SymbioCellTech is now preparing for a human FDA Investigational New Drug (IND) submission to gain approval to begin testing Neo-Islet cellular therapy in human clinical trials in patients with T1DM.  In addition, the company is focused on the development of stem cell and regenerative medical therapies for the treatment of microvascular, renal, neurodegenerative, and other auto-immune diseases. 
Media Contact:
G. Russell Reiss, MD – COO, SymbioCellTech, LLC
Office: 801-503-3990
r.reiss@symbiocelltech.com
Source: SymbioCellTech