Lilly to develop encapsulated diabetes cell therapies through Sigilon deal

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

GettyImages/Minerva Studio
GettyImages/Minerva Studio
Eli Lilly has licensed Sigilon Therapeutics’ technology to develop encapsulated cell therapies for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.

Under the terms, Sigilon will use its Afibromer platform to ‘encapsulate’ – the process of immobilising cells with a semi-permeable, protective membrane – pluripotent stem cell-based products.

Sigilon will receive an upfront payment of $63m (€51m) and cover development activities and costs, before Lilly takes the investigational therapies through clinical development and onto commercialisation.

Lilly is also making an undisclosed equity investment in Sigilon, and will pay up to $410m for development and commercialisation milestones.

Microcapsule delivery technology

The collaboration aims to restore insulin production over extended periods.

The Sigilon platform combines cell engineering and implantable biomaterials – identified in a screen of compounds for those that can evade immune fibrosis – to generate microsphere capsules that do not illicit an immune response, a Sigilon spokesperson told us.

The microsphere capsules – which will be implanted behind the abdomen in the peritoneal cavity – will then secrete molecules produced by the cells into the body, he added.

Lilly has shown increased interest in licensing biologics-based technology for the discovery of therapeutics.

In July last year, Adimab announced plans​ to transfer its antibody discovery and optimisation platform to Lilly at research sites in San Diego and New York, US.

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