Israeli company Betalin Therapeutics, which specializes in tissue engineering for curing diabetes, has been chosen out as the most innovative biopharma company of the year in the startup competition of the Tel Aviv MIXiii Biomed Conference, Israel’s leading life science industry event.
Based in Ramat Gan, 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, roughly 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 of Jerusalem and Chairman of Betalin Therapeutics’ Scientific Advisory Board, said, “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 3 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.”
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on June 7, 2017
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