REGiMMUNE announces collaboration with JDRF and Pfizer on preclinical immune therapy for type 1 diabetes – May 6, 2015

Tokyo-based biotech company REGiMMUNE recently announced a collaboration with JDRF and Pfizer to develop a novel immune therapy for type 1 diabetes. The approach aims to use REGiMMUNE’s reVax immunomodulatory platform and a type 1 diabetes-specific antigen (RGI-3100) to promote development of type 1 diabetes-specific regulatory T-cells (Tregs) that support immune tolerance; the goal is to prevent or delay the onset of type 1 diabetes by moderating the autoimmune attack on beta cells without suppressing the immune system as a whole. Although the research is currently at an early stage – the next step will be a preclinical study investigating efficacy in a mouse model – the endorsement from these two highly regarded organizations is a positive sign, and we look forward to closely following the group’s progress. While stem cell-based therapies (such as those being developed by ViaCyte, Semma Therapeutics, and BetaLogics) have received the lion’s share of the recent attention in the type 1 cure arena, this sort of targeted immune approach offers another potentially promising avenue for early intervention. Selecta Biosciences is also developing an antigen-specific immune tolerance platform with support from JDRF and Sanofi; in our view, the idea of helping the immune system to better regulate itself has nice mechanistic appeal. How challenging at what cost at what potential gain for the field? These are some critical questions.