Private regenerative medicine firm ViaCyte is tightening its link with Johnson & Johnson group Janssen Biotech as the firms step up their search for a cure for type I diabetes.

In 2014, J&J streamed $20 million into ViaCtye for the option to acquire its a early-stage diabetes type I therapy. Now, J&J is merging Janssen’s BetaLogics assets with the firm to create a single clinical-stage group that will pursue a cure for the disease.

The agreement provides ViaCyte with an exclusive license to all BetaLogics intellectual property in the field of metabolic disease, including diabetes, and the transfer of related assets to ViaCyte.

“For more than a decade BetaLogics and ViaCyte have been independently working toward a stem cell-derived therapy for diabetes. By combining the intellectual property and other assets of BetaLogics with ViaCyte, we will further strengthen our advanced program focused on insulin-dependent diabetes and solidify our leadership in the field,” said Paul Laikind, chief executive of ViaCyte, commenting on the deal. “We look forward to delivering effective new treatments for this difficult disease.”

The deal gives ViaCyte exclusive access to an additional 145 issued patents and an additional 565 pending applications, for a combined portfolio of the companies of 360 issued patents and 710 pending. 

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it was noted that ViaCyte remains independent and no commercialisation rights to future products were conveyed as a result of this transaction.