TEL AVIV, Israel, June 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
Betalin Therapeutics, a biotech company specializing in tissue engineering for curing diabetes, announced today that it was chosen out of dozens of applicants as the most innovative biopharma company of the year at the startup completion of the MIXiii Biomed conference, Israel's leading life science industry conference.
Betalin Therapeutics develops the Engineered Micro Pancreas (EMP), a novel technology that provides significant levels of glucose-regulated insulin secretion over extended periods of time. Betalin Therapeutics' goal is to supply efficient treatment to diabetics by implanting its engineered pancreas that has the ability to detect blood sugar levels. The micro-pancreas is prepared in the lab using a complex natural micro-scaffold and all the various cellular components present in the normal endocrine pancreas. These cells reconstruct the body's internal insulin producing capability in accordance with the blood sugar levels. The micro-pancreas constitutes a self-contained unit that can be implanted virtually anywhere in the body. Once implanted, it becomes vascularized, potentially releasing diabetic patients from the need to constantly monitor their blood sugar levels.
Attempts to treat diabetes by transplants of pancreatic beta-cells, the cells within the pancreas that produce insulin, have up until now been complicated by the fact that the vast majority of transplanted cells die within two days of transplantation, and therefore about 50% of the patients are still insulin-dependent one year after transplantation, and only about 10% remain insulin-independent five years after transplantation.
Betalin Therapeutics' EMP is based on the premise that in order for beta cells to properly function, it is necessary to provide an appropriate connective tissue scaffold that ensures the long term survival of the cells. The proprietary platform technology was developed by Prof. Eduardo Mitrani, from the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
In preclinical studies in a mouse model of diabetes, published in PLOS ONE, approximately 70% of the mice in which the EMP was implanted did not need further insulin injections even for the longest period tested of 90 days after implantation.
Prof. Eduardo Mitrani of the Hebrew University and Chairman of Betalin Therapeutics' Scientific Advisory Board, stated, " Preclinical trials in animal models of diabetes show that the implanted engineered pancreas is well received by the hosts, blood vessels grow in it which improves its chances of survival, and most importantly, the beta cells inside the engineered pancreas continue to secrete insulin in a regulated manner even three months following transplantation. We are now in discussions with the regulatory authorities regarding initiation of human clinical trials. Our promising data support our hope that Betalin Therapeutics holds the potential to dramatically improve existing treatments for people living with diabetes Type 1, in addition to those suffering from extreme cases of Type 2 diabetes."
About Diabetes Type 1
Type I diabetes is an autoimmune disease that attacks the beta cells of the pancreas. When the level of blood sugar, or glucose, rises after a meal, the beta cells, which reside in specialized pancreatic islets, responds by releasing insulin into the bloodstream, thereby enabling cells throughout the body to absorb glucose from the bloodstream and use it for energy. When the pancreas does not make enough insulin, as is the case in diabetes Type 1, glucose builds up in the blood instead of being absorbed by cells in the body, leading to an increased risk of developing a number of serious health problems, such as serious diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, nerves and teeth. In addition, people with diabetes also have a higher risk of developing infections. Currently, the standard treatment is lifelong injections of insulin, either by pen or an insulin pump, along with constant monitoring of blood glucose levels.
About Beta Cell Transplants
Pancreatic islet transplantation is currently performed in certain patients with Type 1 diabetes whose blood glucose levels are difficult to control. Pancreatic islet transplantation is a procedure in which islets, containing beta cells, from the pancreas of a deceased organ donor are purified, processed, and transferred into another person. Transplant patients typically receive two infusions with an average of 400,000 to 500,000 islets per infusion. Once implanted, the beta cells in these islets begin to make and release insulin. Unfortunately, most of the transplanted cells die within a short period of time, severely limiting the efficiency of the procedure. In addition, the large amount of cells necessary for the current procedure and the fact that each patient requires two infusions, results in a restricted ability to perform these transplantations.
About Betalin Therapeutics
Betalin Therapeutics strives to cure diabetes by a single transplant of its proprietary Engineered Micro Pancreas (EMP), that provides significant levels of glucose-regulated insulin secretion over extended periods of time. The company was established in 2015, based on technology developed at the lab of Prof. Eduardo Mitrani from Department of Cell and Developmental Biology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and was licensed under an exclusive world-wide agreement with Yissum, the technology transfer office of the Hebrew University. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.betalintherapeutics.com/.
VP Business Development