Sana Biotechnology Announces Publication of Preclinical Diabetes Data in Cell Stem Cell Demonstrating Insulin Independence Following Transplantation of Hypoimmune Allogeneic Primary Islet Cells Without Immunosuppression in a Diabetic NHP

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Sana Biotechnology, Inc. achieves lasting glucose control in non-human primates with HIP-modified pancreatic islet cells, enabling insulin independence without immunosuppression. Anti-CD47 antibody demonstrates graft ablation safety strategy. The company aims to revolutionize type 1 diabetes treatment with potential clinical trials on the horizon.
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The recent advancements in cell therapy for type 1 diabetes, as demonstrated by Sana Biotechnology's preclinical study, could potentially revolutionize the current treatment paradigm. The ability of HIP-modified pancreatic islet cells to provide stable endocrine function and insulin independence without the need for immunosuppression aligns with the ongoing quest to reduce the burden of lifelong insulin injections and the risks associated with immunosuppressive therapies.

From a medical research perspective, the successful engraftment and function of the HIP-modified p-islets in a fully immunocompetent non-human primate model are significant. This model closely mimics the human immune system's response, providing a robust platform for testing the efficacy of cell-based therapies. The utilization of anti-CD47 antibody as a safety strategy to ablate the graft is an innovative approach to address potential complications post-transplantation, such as uncontrolled proliferation or neoplastic transformation of the graft.

It's important to note that while the preclinical results are promising, the transition from animal models to human clinical trials often presents unforeseen challenges. The investigator-sponsored trial will be critical in assessing the translation of these findings to human patients, especially considering the complex interplay between the immune system and transplanted cells.

The announcement by Sana Biotechnology regarding their preclinical study's success could have significant implications for their financial outlook and investor sentiment. The biotechnology sector is highly sensitive to clinical trial outcomes and positive preclinical data often lead to increased investor confidence and can drive up stock prices in anticipation of future successful clinical trials and potential product commercialization.

Investors will be closely monitoring the upcoming first-in-human study, as it will provide a more concrete indication of the therapy's viability and its potential market size. With over 8 million patients with type 1 diabetes worldwide, the market opportunity for a successful treatment is substantial. However, the biotech industry is also characterized by high levels of risk, especially in the early stages of product development. The costs associated with bringing a new therapy to market are significant and there is always the possibility that later-stage trials may not replicate early success.

For Sana Biotechnology, which is publicly traded on NASDAQ, the publication of these results in a reputable journal and the subsequent clinical trials will likely be closely watched by analysts and investors alike. The company's valuation could be affected by the perceived potential of SC451, their stem cell-derived product candidate and any setbacks could have a negative impact on their stock performance.

The transplantation of HIP-modified pancreatic islet cells represents a potential breakthrough in the treatment of type 1 diabetes, a condition where the immune system attacks and destroys insulin-producing beta cells. The ability to achieve insulin independence without immunosuppression could significantly improve the quality of life for patients, eliminating the daily burden of insulin injections and the long-term complications associated with diabetes.

As an endocrinologist, the concept of 'pseudo islet grafts' that can evade the immune system and function effectively is particularly intriguing. The maintenance of normal C-peptide levels post-transplantation suggests that these grafts can replicate the physiological insulin secretion of a healthy pancreas. This is a critical aspect of diabetes management, as it could potentially restore glucose homeostasis and reduce the risk of secondary complications such as cardiovascular disease, nephropathy and neuropathy.

The safety aspect of using an anti-CD47 antibody to ablate the graft is a novel approach, offering a potential safety net for the management of adverse events post-transplantation. The long-term implications of such a treatment, including the durability of the graft and the possibility of repeated transplantation without sensitization, are areas of interest that require further exploration.

Transplant of HIP-modified pancreatic islet cells provided lasting glucose control in a fully immunocompetent non-human primate (NHP), enabling the achievement of exogenous insulin independence without immunosuppression for six month study duration

Administration of anti-CD47 antibody after six months demonstrated the principle of graft ablation and a potential safety strategy

SEATTLE, Feb. 13, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Sana Biotechnology, Inc. (NASDAQ: SANA), a company focused on changing the possible for patients through engineered cells, today announced that Cell Stem Cell has published a paper titled “Hypoimmune islets achieve insulin independence after allogeneic transplantation in a fully immunocompetent non-human primate.” The paper evaluated a transplant of Sana’s engineered allogeneic, hypoimmune (HIP)-modified pancreatic islet cells into a fully immunocompetent, diabetic non-human primate (NHP). These modified islet cells, which cluster into effective endocrine organoids, are termed “pseudo islet grafts” (p-islets). The results demonstrated that the HIP-modified p-islets engrafted following intramuscular injection and provided stable endocrine function, enabling insulin independence in the absence of immunosuppression.

“The results of this preclinical study are remarkable, and if they translate into the clinic, we have the potential to profoundly change the way that type 1 diabetes is addressed, potentially eliminating the need for insulin injections or immunosuppression,” said Sonja Schrepfer, MD, PhD, Sana’s Head of Hypoimmune Platform. “We look forward to insights from an investigator-sponsored trial (IST), a first-in-human study of HIP-modified, allogeneic primary islet cells later this year, which would serve as clinical proof-of-concept to assess the safety, cell survival, immune evasion, and C-peptide production of transplanted HIP-modified primary islet cells without immunosuppression into a patient with type 1 diabetes. This publication, along with the ongoing IST, will provide invaluable insights toward our stem cell derived product candidate, SC451. With more than 8 million patients with type 1 diabetes worldwide, there is an enormous need to cure – rather than simply manage – this disease.”

“JDRF is dedicated to harnessing the power of research, advocacy, and community engagement to advance life-changing breakthroughs for type 1 diabetes,” said Sanjoy Dutta, PhD, JDRF Chief Scientific Officer. “The development of cell therapies that replace the loss of insulin-producing cells could one day offer cures for type 1 diabetes. A key area of focus for JDRF is to develop strategies to protect these cells after transplantation that remove the use of broad immunosuppression. As a supporter and investor in Sana through the JDRF T1D Fund, we look forward to seeing if the results described in this paper translate into people, as they would represent a meaningful advance in the treatment of type 1 diabetes.”

The transplant setting was purposely designed to be a high immunological bar by maximizing the donor-to-recipient mismatch. Diabetes mellitus was chemically induced in the recipient as shown by the development of major blood glucose instability and the need for daily insulin injections to control blood sugar. Following stabilization of glucose with insulin treatment, the diabetic NHP underwent transplantation of the HIP p-islets without any induction or maintenance immunosuppression and the administration of insulin was tapered to zero over the course of nine days. Rapidly following HIP p-islet transplantation, the diabetic NHP recipient showed tightly controlled blood glucose levels, was completely insulin-independent, continuously healthy, and exhibited no physical or behavioral abnormalities for the six-month study duration. C-peptide levels, which are a marker for endogenous insulin production and release, reached the normal levels observed prior to induction of diabetes. Furthermore, there was no indication that the allogeneic HIP p-islet graft induced any immune recognition or any type of immune response at any time.

To demonstrate that there was no regeneration or recovery of an endogenous islet cell population in the diabetic NHP, HIP p-islets were eliminated using an anti-CD47 antibody. The antibody blocked the protective CD47 signal and triggered a “missing self” innate immune cell response that led to the rapid destruction of the HIP p-islet graft. Following the anti-CD47 treatment, blood glucose levels in the diabetic NHP began to fluctuate and increase markedly, and insulin injections needed to be resumed. It was thus demonstrated that the tightly controlled blood glucose levels and insulin independence was entirely due to well-functioning HIP p-islets.

The publication is available for online viewing at

About Hypoimmune Platform
Sana’s hypoimmune platform is designed to create cells ex vivo that can evade the patient’s immune system to enable the transplant of allogeneic cells without the need for immunosuppression. We are applying the hypoimmune technology to both donor-derived allogeneic T cells, with the goal of making potent and persistent CAR T cells at scale, and pluripotent stem cells, which can then be differentiated into multiple cell types at scale. Preclinical data published in peer-reviewed journals demonstrate across a variety of cell types that these transplanted allogeneic cells are able to evade both the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system while retaining their activity. Our most advanced programs utilizing this platform include an allogeneic CAR T program targeting CD19+ cancers, an allogeneic CAR T program for B-cell mediated autoimmune diseases, an allogeneic CAR T program targeting CD22+ cancers, and stem-cell derived pancreatic islet cells for patients with type 1 diabetes.

About Sana Biotechnology
Sana Biotechnology, Inc. is focused on creating and delivering engineered cells as medicines for patients. We share a vision of repairing and controlling genes, replacing missing or damaged cells, and making our therapies broadly available to patients. We are a passionate group of people working together to create an enduring company that changes how the world treats disease. Sana has operations in Seattle, Cambridge, South San Francisco, and Rochester. For more information about Sana Biotechnology, please visit

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements about Sana Biotechnology, Inc. (the “Company,” “we,” “us,” or “our”) within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including those related to the Company’s vision, progress, and business plans; expectations for its development programs, product candidates and technology platforms, including its pre-clinical, clinical and regulatory development plans and timing expectations; the potential of an anti-CD47 antibody to serve as a safety strategy for Sana’s engineered allogeneic, hypoimmune (HIP)-modified pancreatic islet cells; the potential impact if the preclinical data translate into the clinic; the potential of the publication and the IST to provide insights toward Sana’s SC451 program; the potential of Sana’s hypoimmune technology as a treatment for diabetes; the ability to use the HIP platform to create cells ex vivo that can evade a patient’s immune system and enable the transplant of allogeneic cells without the need for immunosuppression and the potential benefits associated therewith; and the ability to apply the HIP technology to allogeneic T cells to make potent and persistent CAR T cells at scale and to pluripotent stem cells, which can then be differentiated into multiple cell types at scale. All statements other than statements of historical facts contained in this press release, including, among others, statements regarding the Company’s strategy, expectations, cash runway and future financial condition, future operations, and prospects, are forward-looking statements. In some cases, you can identify forward-looking statements by terminology such as “aim,” “anticipate,” “assume,” “believe,” “contemplate,” “continue,” “could,” “design,” “due,” “estimate,” “expect,” “goal,” “intend,” “may,” “objective,” “plan,” “positioned,” “potential,” “predict,” “seek,” “should,” “target,” “will,” “would” and other similar expressions that are predictions of or indicate future events and future trends, or the negative of these terms or other comparable terminology. The Company has based these forward-looking statements largely on its current expectations, estimates, forecasts and projections about future events and financial trends that it believes may affect its financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. In light of the significant uncertainties in these forward-looking statements, you should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause the actual results to vary materially, including, among others, the risks inherent in drug development such as those associated with the initiation, cost, timing, progress and results of the Company’s current and future research and development programs, preclinical and clinical trials. For a detailed discussion of the risk factors that could affect the Company’s actual results, please refer to the risk factors identified in the Company’s SEC reports, including but not limited to its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q dated November 8, 2023. Except as required by law, the Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements for any reason.

Investor Relations & Media:

Nicole Keith 

Sana achieved lasting glucose control and insulin independence without immunosuppression in non-human primates using HIP-modified pancreatic islet cells.

The administration of anti-CD47 antibody demonstrated graft ablation as a potential safety strategy.

Sana's research has the potential to revolutionize type 1 diabetes treatment by eliminating the need for insulin injections or immunosuppression.

The publication on the study can be viewed online at
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sana biotechnology is focused on utilizing engineered cells as medicines for patients. the ability to modify genes and use cells as medicines will be one of the most important advances in healthcare over the next several decades. sana is building differentiated capabilities across the spectrum of cell and gene therapy. three aspirations drive sana as we look to discover treatments for patients with poor outcomes or currently untreatable diseases. the first is the ability to repair and control the genes in any cell in the body. we are advancing novel delivery technologies with the goal of being able to deliver any payload to any cell in a specific, predictable, and repeatable manner, paving the way for next-generation in vivo gene therapy. next is the ability to differentiate pluripotent stem cells ex vivo into immune-cloaked functional cells with the aspiration of being able to replace any missing or damaged cells in the body. last is a belief we can enable broader access to ou