The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and Selecta Biosciences, Inc. announced today that they have established a research collaboration to support Selecta's development of a vaccine technology, which may subsequently help to better treat and potentially prevent type 1 diabetes.
Through the research partnership, JDRF will provide milestone-based financial support and expertise, with the goal of applying Selecta's vaccine technology toward the development of vaccines for type 1 diabetes.
Selecta's vaccine technology would ultimately be applied to create a therapeutic that would halt or prevent the autoimmune response that causes type 1 diabetes. Known as antigen-specific tolerogenic vaccines, these vaccines are designed to specifically stop the autoimmune response that causes the disease without damaging the immune cells that provide protection against infection. Antigen-specific therapies have shown promise to date in animal models of type 1 diabetes.
In addition to their potential in preventing type 1 diabetes, tolerogenic diabetes vaccines could have other benefits. For example, they could be used in conjunction with other therapies to preserve remaining beta cell function in individuals recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This type of vaccine could also help with regeneration and replacement therapies, and be used to protect newly regenerated or transplanted insulin-producing beta cells in established type 1 diabetes. In addition, this class of vaccines may also have applicability for other autoimmune diseases.
"Type 1 diabetes affects individuals of all ages, and the rate of incidence has increased dramatically in the past two decades. This marked increase, especially in children between the ages of one to five years old, has made the need for preventing type 1 diabetes all the more urgent," said Richard Insel, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer of JDRF.
"We believe vaccine research is one of the most promising approaches to prevent or halt the beta cell-specific autoimmunity in type 1 diabetes. And we are excited to be teaming up with Selecta to support the development of this next-generation of vaccine technology," added Insel.
"Selecta is excited that JDRF has recognized our technology platform's potential to rationally design advanced vaccines, based upon synthetic, self-assembling nanoparticles. We view the development of a therapeutic vaccine based on Selecta's technology to be an excellent opportunity to aid in the treatment of type 1 diabetes," said Werner Cautreels, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Selecta. "This collaboration accelerates our progress to apply Selecta's novel vaccine technology to address the significant unmet medical needs in autoimmune diseases including type 1 diabetes."
The research collaboration agreement between JDRF and Selecta is part of JDRF's Industry Discovery and Development Partnership (IDDP) program. This is one of JDRF's funding mechanisms through which JDRF partners with pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies focused on the discovery, development, and delivery of therapeutics and devices for type 1 diabetes. Since the launch of JDRF's IDDP and co-sponsored grants program in 2004, JDRF has funded 40 partnerships with 32 companies and committed approximately $75 million to accelerate research that will lead to better treatments and a cure for type 1 diabetes.
"Through partnerships like this, JDRF is helping to speed the development of products from the lab to the marketplace, to make sure breakthroughs in science are able to reach the people they are meant to help," said Karin Hehenberger, M.D., Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances for JDRF. "Pooling the resources and strengths of both JDRF and Selecta allows us to work together to advance research that could help many people who have or are at risk for type 1 diabetes, and we will be more effective in making these innovative products available to them."
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation