Eli Lilly and Sigilon Therapeutics have announced a global collaboration to develop encapsulated cell therapies for the potential treatment of type 1 diabetes.
In the Lilly-Sigilon collaboration, Sigilon will create proprietary products comprised of induced pluripotent stem cells, a type of stem cell derived from adult cells, engineered into differentiated insulin-producing pancreatic beta cells and encapsulated using Sigilon’s Afibromer technology. The goal of these products will be to restore insulin production over sustained periods, without triggering an immune reaction.
Research leading to the discovery of Afibromer biomaterials was funded by grants from JDRF International and the Leona M. Helmsley and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and conducted under the leadership of Daniel Anderson, Ph.D., and Robert Langer, Sc.D., of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston Children’s Hospital.
Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly will receive an exclusive worldwide license to Sigilon’s Afibromer technology for islet cell encapsulation. Sigilon will receive an upfront payment of $63 million and Lilly will make an undisclosed equity investment in Sigilon. Sigilon is also eligible to receive up to $410 million in development and commercialization milestones, as well as single to double digit tiered royalties on future product sales should the collaboration yield a commercially successful product. Sigilon will be responsible for all development activities and costs related to the collaboration until submission of an investigational new drug application (IND). After an IND is submitted, Lilly will be responsible for all clinical development and commercialization activities and costs related to the collaboration.