LyGenesis and Imagine Pharma Announce Joint Research Collaboration to Develop Novel Cell Therapies for Patients with Type 1 Diabetes

Collaboration will enable rapid advancement of a joint preclinical proof of concept program for type 1 diabetes

PITTSBURGH, April 11, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — LyGenesis, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing allogenic cell therapies for large unmet needs, and Imagine Pharma, a biotechnology company focused on the development of its novel polypeptide (IMG-1) across three distinct platforms: Oral Delivery, Therapeutics, and Regenerative Medicine, announced today that they have entered into a joint research collaboration to develop novel cell therapies for patients with type 1 diabetes. The research collaboration will leverage Imagine Pharma’s Type 1 Diabetes Activated Islet Progenitor Cells (T1D AIPCs) and LyGenesis’ allogeneic cell therapy platform to develop therapies for type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes affects 1.45 million people in the United States with about 64,000 new diagnoses every year. Imagine Pharma announced its discovery of T1D AIPCs, a critical component for the potential treatment of T1D in the setting of an autologous cell transplantation, in June 2022. By utilizing Imagine Pharma’s AIPCs as the cell source, combined with LyGenesis’ use of the lymph node as a bioreactor to grow a functioning ectopic pancreas, the collaboration will enable rapid advancement of a preclinical proof of concept program for the potential treatment of type 1 diabetes.

“We’re thrilled to announce our collaboration with Imagine Pharma to utilize their unique cell-source with our use of endoscopic ultrasound engraftment of cell therapies into the lymph node for the treatment of diabetes,” said Dr. Michael Hufford, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at LyGenesis. “With our lead cell therapy already in clinic for the treatment of end stage liver disease ( Identifier: NCT04496479), Imagine Pharma’s AIPCs hold remarkable promise to rapidly advance our pipeline of therapies.”

“We envision that our novel cell population of AIPCs, used in conjunction with LyGenesis’ cell therapy platform, holds breakthrough potential for the treatment of type 1 diabetes,” said Ngoc Thai, MD, PhD, Founder, CMO and Co-CEO at Imagine Pharma. 

About Type 1 Diabetes (T1D)
Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease that can be diagnosed at any age and occurs when the pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels. The pancreas stops producing insulin due to an immune reaction that destroys beta cells, the insulin-producing cells within the pancreas. Patients with T1D continuously monitor blood-sugar levels via finger pricks or continuous glucose monitoring devices and balance insulin intake with diet and exercise. Insulin alone manages T1D but is not considered a cure.[1]

Imagine Pharma Islet Center
Imagine Pharma Islet Center, a key component of Imagine Pharma’s Islet Programs,  provides research-grade human isolated islets, tissue processing and related services to the diabetes research community. The Center currently supplies human islet cells as part of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ Islet Integrated Distribution Program (IIDP), and to support leading academic diabetes centers in the United States, including Vanderbilt University, Stanford University, University of Florida, Mt. Sinai Icahn School of Medicine in New York, the University of Pittsburgh as well as the Network for Pancreatic Donors with Diabetes (nPOD).

About Imagine Pharma
Imagine Pharma is a biotechnology company focused on the development of its IMG-1 polypeptide. Research and development efforts have led to the development of three distinctive platforms for Oral Delivery, Therapeutics, and Regenerative Medicine, each with first-in-class programs that address multiple disease states in large, underserved markets. Imagine Pharma was recently selected as an approved Islet Isolation Center for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases Integrated Islet Distribution Program. Imagine Pharma was founded in 2016 in Pittsburgh, PA. For more information visit:

About LyGenesis
LyGenesis is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a novel cell therapy platform leveraging patients’ lymph nodes as bioreactors to grow functioning ectopic organs. LyGenesis’ lead allogeneic cell therapy program is currently in a Phase 2a clinical trial for patients with end-stage liver disease ( Identifier: NCT04496479). LyGenesis’ cell therapy platform can also produce an ectopic thymus (for aging and multiple other potential indications), pancreas (for Type 1 diabetes), and kidney (for renal disease).  Privately held, LyGenesis is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. To learn more, please visit our website at


LyGenesis media contact:                              Jacqueline Jeha, MPH

Imagine Pharma Media / IR Contact:             Alyson Kuritz
                                                                       Zer0 to 5ive for Imagine Pharma
                                                                       (908) 892-7149


SOURCE LyGenesis