JERUSALEM, June 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
Betalin Therapeutics Ltd., a biotech company developing a micro-pancreas to treat diabetes, was named biotech "Startup of the Year" at the MIXiii Biomed 2017 Conference held in Tel-Aviv, Israel, May 23-25, 2017. The conference is the largest international annual conference and exhibition of the life science industry in Israel, and the competition was judged by a panel including senior officials from the Israel Innovation Authority.
Betalin Therapeutics' micro-pancreas, called "Endocrine Micro-Pancreas" (EMP™), is engineered using a proprietary biological scaffold together with human-source pancreatic islets containing beta cells. Beta cells are responsible for production of insulin, a hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar levels by assisting the transport of glucose from the blood into neighboring cells. The EMP is transplanted into diabetic patients subcutaneously and is expected to integrate into the patient's body through vascularization.
"We are honored to have won this award," said Jacob Ben-Arie, Chief Executive Officer, Betalin Therapeutics. "The EMP is a huge step forward in treatment of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and has the potential to improve the lives of millions of people. We are currently in the process of raising capital, and with the necessary funds in hand, we intend to file our Investigational New Drug Application (IND) and commence our first-in-man clinical study next year."
The EMP™ technology was developed by a team led by Prof. Eduardo Mitrani, from the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology in the Faculty of Science at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. Prof. Mitrani is Chairman of Betalin Therapeutics' Scientific Advisory Board.
Prof. Mitrani explained, "Rather than creating cells, we are trying to create an organ, a self-contained unit that functions autonomously and can be placed virtually anywhere in the body. The novelty of the EMP is the use of cells instead of drugs as therapeutics. The EMP is a biological product developed to construct a mini-organ that mimics the physiological situation in the body by embedding islets in the scaffold, in order to enable the islets to assimilate into the tissue."
The EMP has proved so far to be more efficient than current islet-transplantation therapy. Insulin produced by the EMP is expected to be better-regulated and longer-lasting than the insulin generated from current islet-transplantation therapy. Current therapy requires multiple transplantation procedures, since each new transplantation requires 3-4 donors due to poor islet function. The EMP is expected to require only a single transplantation procedure, and the expectation is that the islet cells of a single donor will be able to be transplanted into 2-3 patients. Creating the EMP prior to implantation will allow for a well-controlled process, and that the quality of the EMP will be tested before each transplantation in order to verify proper insulin release and regulation.
In addition to Prof. Mitrani, other members of the Company's Scientific Advisory Board include Prof. Camillo Ricordi, the Stacy Joy Goodman Professor of Surgery, Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Miami Diabetes Research Institute, and Prof. James Shapiro, a Professor of surgery, medicine, and surgical oncology, and the Director of the Clinical Islet Transplant Program, at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and the Canada Research Chair in Transplant Surgery and Regenerative Medicine.
About Betalin Therapeutics, Ltd.
Established in 2015, Betalin Therapeutics is developing a biological micro pancreas implanted with human-source pancreatic islets. The Endocrine Micro-Pancreas (EMP™) is intended to be transplanted subcutaneously to patients suffering from Type 1 or severe Type 2 diabetes and restore their ability to produce insulin and have normal glycemic control. The Company has entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement for the EMP™ technology with Yissum, the Technology Transfer Company of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Based on promising in-vitro and in-vivo data, Betalin is now preparing for a pre-IND meeting with the FDA on its way towards IND submission. For additional information, please visit http://www.betalintherapeutics.com/
VP Business Development
SOURCE Betalin Therapeutics