SCM Lifescience has agreed to in-license a diabetes drug using pancreatic beta cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from San Diego-based Allele Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals, the South Korean stem cell therapy developer announced on Thursday.
The deal value is $750,000 based on the upfront payment and could go up to $3 million depending on future development milestones.
Under the agreement, SCM Lifescience will have the exclusive right to the development, regulatory approval, production and sales of Allele’s diabetes therapy in Korea. The two companies announced a joint research and development agreement over the pipeline in 2019.
Since iPSCs can be derived from adult human tissue cells, they not only bypass the need for embryos or other ethically charged cells but can be customized in a patient-matched manner, meaning that each individual could have their own pluripotent stem cell line for treatment purposes.
With the agreement, SCM Lifescience will be able to expand its pipeline to include iPSC-based therapies. The Korean company has conducted R&D activities focusing on adult stem cells.
Last week, SCM Lifescience made an equity investment into Vita Therapeutics, a U.S. biotech firm developing an iPSCs-based therapy to treat hereditary rare diseases that affect the muscular system.
SCM Lifescience said iPSC-based diabetes therapies could replace insulin injections that are painful and inconvenient due to higher dosing frequency.
By Park Yoon-gyun and Minu Kim
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