NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwired) -- 07/07/14 -- Nuvilex, Inc. (OTCQB: NVLX) announced last week that its executives recently met with the company's "global development partners" at the 2014 BIO International Convention in San Diego. One of the meetings that CEO Ken Waggoner and COO Dr. Gerald Crabtree held was with a representative of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) to discuss Nuvilex's plans for treating diabetes. This, of course, begs the question -- is Nuvilex in line for a partnership to bring its diabetes treatment to market?
Currently the JDRF is funding more than 50 human clinical trials worldwide, and with the number of diabetes cases predicted to climb to 592 million by 2035 if "urgent action" isn't taken, it's easy to understand why so many biopharmaceutical firms are making the disease a priority. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the market for diabetes medicines alone is expected to reach $114 billion by 2018.
While the focus for investors has been on Nuvilex's pancreatic cancer treatment and its Phase 2b clinical trial and preclinical studies, the company is clearly further along with plans to get its diabetes treatment using the Cell-in-a-Box® technology it owns the worldwide rights to develop and market into the clinic than most realize.
The company stated last week that it is planning additional meetings with the JDRF "in the near future to explore ways the company and the Foundation may collaborate." Nuvilex has also met with a representative of the university from which the company plans "to license the human insulin-producing cell line that will be used to develop a treatment for insulin-dependent diabetes."
For those unfamiliar with Nuvilex's diabetes treatment, it may be of interest to the JDRF because a "proof of principle" study using the treatment essentially created an "artificial pancreas." It was this study that led Nuvilex execs to purchase the worldwide rights to the treatment.
In the study, cells that produce insulin were encapsulated and transplanted into diabetic animals. The diabetic animals had much higher than normal levels of glucose in their bloodstream and had a difficult time controlling their glucose levels, just as humans with diabetes do.
In the animals provided with encapsulated cells, their blood glucose levels normalized and remained stable for the duration of one six-month study, indicating the encapsulated cells produced insulin in response to their higher than normal blood glucose levels. The cellulose-based capsules seem to have prevented the encapsulated cells inside from being attacked by the diabetic animals' immune systems, even in the absence of immunosuppressive drugs.
Therefore, the encapsulated cells appear to have acted as an artificial or replacement pancreas, and if Nuvilex can replicate this study, the JDRF likely won't be the only collaboration the company will be sitting down with in private meetings.
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