Japan-based REGiMMUNE (RGI) and research and advocacy organisation JDRF have collaborated with US-based drugmaker Pfizer to develop an antigen-specific immunotherapy to treat type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Under the deal, Pfizer will provide financial assistance and scientific expertise for a research collaboration to develop an antigen-specific immunotherapy using RGI’s aGalCer/liposome platform for immunological tolerance to treat T1D.

JDRF chief scientific officer Dr Richard Insel said: "JDRF’s mission is to create a world without type 1 diabetes and to ultimately find a cure. We collaborate and work with many organisations in our efforts to enable this goal.

"JDRF’s mission is to create a world without type 1 diabetes and to ultimately find a cure."

"We are pleased to enter a new partnership with REGiMMUNE to develop an antigen-specific immunotherapy that might result in a new treatment for T1D based on their unique liposome platform."

As part of the collaboration, RGI will develop an antigen-specific therapeutic liposome that can prevent and delay the onset of T1D and induce immunologic tolerance.

The joint research collaboration is working on a therapy designed to potentially restore the normal balance within the immune system and prevent T1D or delay the need for insulin therapy.

The candidate therapy is being derived from the RGI aGalCer/liposome platform containing an encapsulated T1D target antigen (RGI-3100).

RGI noted that the approach is unique as it combines an antigen specific therapy with an immune modulatory component that may lead to the induction of tolerance to multiple T1D-related antigenic specificities.

When used with T1D autoantigens, RGI’s aGalCer/liposome platform may be effective in inducing T1D-specific Tregs and specific immune tolerance for T1D patients without promoting broad immunosuppression associated side-effects as typically seen with other therapeutics.

A preclinical mouse study will evaluate the therapy for efficacy in delaying the onset of T1D, with the support of three partners.