Vertex, TreeFrog Therapeutics Collaborate to Enhance Cell Therapy Production for Type 1 Diabetes

Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (Nasdaq: VRTX) and TreeFrog Therapeutics have announced an exclusive licensing agreement, granting Vertex access to TreeFrog’s cutting-edge cell manufacturing technology, C-Stem™. This collaboration aims to optimize the production of Vertex’s cell therapies tailored for treating type 1 diabetes (T1D). Together, TreeFrog and Vertex will work on scaling up the C-Stem™ process to generate and amplify cells essential for Vertex’s T1D treatments.

C-Stem™, TreeFrog’s proprietary technology, is engineered to replicate the natural microenvironment, enabling exponential cell growth in three dimensions (3D). By leveraging this innovative platform, Vertex aims to bolster its capability in generating substantial quantities of fully differentiated cells crucial for its portfolio of T1D cell therapies.

Morrey Atkinson, Ph.D., Executive Vice President, Chief Technical Operations Officer, and Head of Biopharmaceutical Sciences and Manufacturing Operations at Vertex, expressed their ambition to revolutionize T1D treatment. He highlighted the promising potential of Vertex’s stem cell-derived, fully differentiated islet cell VX-880 Ph 1/2 program and emphasized their enthusiasm for exploring TreeFrog’s C-Stem™ to upscale stem cell production, addressing the significant needs of T1D patients.

Frédéric Desdouits, Ph.D., CEO of TreeFrog Therapeutics, expressed delight in partnering with Vertex Pharmaceuticals, a leading figure in T1D cell therapy. He underscored the opportunity to apply and advance their C-Stem™ technology in developing a groundbreaking cell therapy for addressing a substantial unmet medical need. Desdouits emphasized TreeFrog’s commitment to partnering with industry leaders like Vertex to deliver transformative therapies to patients.

Under the terms of the agreement, TreeFrog will receive a $25 million upfront payment, an equity investment from Vertex, and up to $215 million in milestone payments linked to the development of a scaled-up process for fully differentiated islet cells. Additionally, TreeFrog stands to earn up to $540 million in clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestones for up to two future products, along with tiered single-digit royalties. Vertex will cover all research and development expenses associated with the collaboration and will be responsible for the development and commercialization of its cell therapies.

Vertex is a renowned global biotechnology company dedicated to scientific innovation in creating transformative medicines for severe diseases. Its portfolio includes approved medications addressing the underlying causes of multiple chronic, life-threatening genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, and transfusion-dependent beta thalassemia. With ongoing clinical and research programs, Vertex continues its pursuit of breakthrough therapies across various diseases, including T1D, leveraging its profound understanding of human biology.

Founded in 1989, Vertex has its global headquarters in Boston and international headquarters in London, along with research and development sites and commercial offices worldwide. The company is consistently recognized as a top employer in the industry, reflecting its commitment to innovation and excellence in the biopharmaceutical field.

For more information about Vertex and its innovative endeavors, visit or follow the company on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.

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