San Diego-based Cebix is moving ahead in its development of C-peptide replacement therapy for treating diabetes-related microvascular problems. Encouraging results from an early stage trial, reported earlier this month at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, have led the company to raise an additional $30.9 million and to recruit veteran local biotech executive Joel Martin as CEO.
The company was founded in 2008 to advance the work of John Wahren, an emeritus professor of clinical physiology at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. Wahren had helped determine that C-peptide plays a key role in keeping the smallest blood vessels healthy. The naturally occurring peptide is formed when insulin is cleaved from pro-insulin in the body.
Patients with type 1 diabetes, whose pancreases produce little or no insulin, are also susceptible to complications from microvascular deterioration, including loss of sensation (neuropathy), loss of kidney function (nephropathy), and loss of vision (retinopathy). The company estimates that roughly two-thirds of patients with type 1 diabetes develop peripheral neuropathy. In the U.S. alone that works out to more than 1 million people.
Wahren, a Cebix founder and the chief scientific officer, viewed C-peptide replacement as a potential therapy. In a phone interview earlier today, Martin said the problem was that C-peptide has a short half-life—which would require diabetics to inject themselves four times a day. Cebix has developed … Next Page »
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