Partnership enables eGenesis’ genome engineering and transgenic production capabilities to conduct in vivo testing of pancreatic islet cell xenotransplants
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., November 5, 2020 — eGenesis, a biotechnology company using breakthrough gene editing technologies for the development of safe and effective human-compatible organs, tissues, and cells to address the global organ shortage, today announced the initiation of a research collaboration with Duke University School of Medicine. The collaboration will encompass evaluation of gene-edited pancreatic islet cells in non-human primate recipients as a prerequisite to advancing to human clinical trials. This collaboration is in addition to an existing eGenesis partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital, initiated in 2017.
The research on gene-edited pancreatic islet cells will be conducted in the laboratory of Allan Douglas Kirk, M.D., Ph.D., David C. Sabiston, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Surgery Chair, Department of Surgery, Professor of Surgery, Professor in Pediatrics and Professor in the Department of Immunology at Duke University School of Medicine.
“There are 1.6 million Americans who live with type 1 diabetes and whose quality of life is greatly impacted by the monitoring of their glucose levels and the need for multiple insulin injections on a daily basis,” said Dr. Kirk. “With advancements in gene editing technology, there is now the potential of developing and safely transplanting humancompatible xeno-islet cells, which could allow these patients to reduce or eliminate their need for glucose monitoring and insulin injections. The research we will conduct at Duke will help determine whether a minimally-invasive approach into human clinical studies might be possible.”
Michael Curtis, Ph.D., President of Research & Development of eGenesis added, “eGenesis’ mission is to develop human-compatible organs, tissues and cells to alleviate the organ shortage crisis and to improve the health and quality of life of all patients who could benefit from transplant. This collaboration with Duke, a leading transplant center with deep expertise in immunology and diabetes, will accelerate our research and provide validation of our xeno-islet cell program, leading to the evaluation in human clinical trials in patients with type 1 diabetes. We look forward to working with our new colleagues to advance the field of organ, tissue, and cell transplantation.”
About Transplantation and Xenotransplantation
The demand for lifesaving organs far outnumbers available supply. In the U.S. today, 20 people die every day due to lack of available organs for transplant and every 10 minutes an additional name is added to the national transplant waitlist. There are more than 110,000 people in need of a lifesaving organ transplant in the U.S. alone.
The concept of xenotransplantation, or the transplantation of organs, tissue and cells from one species to another, has been explored for several decades, with the pig considered the most suitable donor species for humans. However, challenges related to molecular incompatibilities between species as well as virologic concerns have stymied the advancement of the field.
eGenesis’ goal is to advance the field of transplantation and make available safe and reliable xeno organs, tissues, and cells to patients in need. eGenesis uses gene editing technology such as CRISPR to directly address the key virology and immunology hurdles that have impeded xenotransplantation to date. eGenesis is advancing an initial product toward the clinic for kidney transplant, with the longer-term potential of addressing a broader organ recipient population and expanding the applicability of xenotransplantation into other areas such as cell therapy. Learn more at egenesisbio.com.
Steve Klass Burns McClellan, Inc.