Biotech firms Defymed and Semma Therapeutics have partnered to develop a new solution to treat patients with type-1 diabetes.

The partnership will engage in the pre-clinical validation of Defymed’s MAILPAN bio-artificial pancreas in combination with Semma’s stem-cell derived differentiated insulin-secreting cells.

The combination will be initially assessed for effectiveness and safety in vitro method and later in an animal model.

MAILPAN is a medical device in the form of a pouch that includes bio-compatible polymer with semi-permeable membrane.

The membrane will enable glucose, nutriments and oxygen to pass through and reach the pancreatic cells contained in the device, helping to deliver the insulin required to regulate the patient’s blood-sugar level.

To protect the patient from rejection of the implanted cells, the membranes are impermeable to the immune system and its antibodies.

Defymed founding president Dr Séverine Sigrist said: “Semma Therapeutics’ expertise could represent a major new source for cells usable in our medical device.

“It is vital in Defymed’s strategy to validate our medical device with what are currently the most promising cells.”

Semma Therapeutics CEO Robert Millman said: “Defymed offers one of the most promising options available today in terms of a third party immunoprotective device.”

Defymed’s latest partnership follows financial agreement with JRDF, a global foundation that funds research into treatment for type-1 diabetes.

Diabetes is said to affect around 420 million people across the globe, accounting for about $700bn in healthcare spending.