Participant Profile: Sigilon Therapeutics

Pioneering technologies that harness the total power of cell therapeutics.

Sigilon Therapeutics - intro image | Elsevier

Sigilon Therapeutics - logo image | Elsevier

Sigilon Therapeutics gets its name from the Spanish word “sigilo,” meaning stealth. The company’s mission is to develop therapies that can accomplish more by being less visible to the body’s immune system.


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Treating chronic disease by using novel biomaterials to keep implanted cells hidden from the immune system

Sigilon Therapeutics is developing improved treatments for chronic diseases using a novel type of therapeutic: implanted cells shielded by proprietary biomaterials from immune attack and the foreign body response (fibrosis). Treatments based on the Sigilon Therapeutics technology platform are designed to act as responsive “living therapeutics” that can provide more natural control for diseases which are currently treated with intermittent injection or infusion.

It was the discovery of novel biomaterials called Afibromers™ that prompted the founding of Sigilon Therapeutics. When cells are enclosed in Afibromer™ coated capsules, they are invisible to the immune system and do not trigger fibrosis—the scarring response that the body uses to isolate foreign bodies and which is responsible for nutrient deprivation and cell necrosis. The company’s proprietary cells are engineered to secrete therapeutic proteins and, in combination with the Afibromer™ technology, these implanted cells are hidden from the immune system. As a result, levels of the missing protein in the body can be restored for long periods of time following a single intervention.

Sigilon’s cell-driven therapeutics are designed to have advantages over traditional biologic therapies, including the restoration of protein levels at a constant rate, years of therapy without need for re-dosing, safe and reversible therapeutic modality, the delivery of proteins for previously untreatable diseases and more. These advantages can provide significant clinical outcome benefits and free patients from therapies that disrupt their quality of life.

Initial therapeutic areas of interest include diabetes and blood disorders

While Sigilon is confident its therapy could help patients with a variety of diseases that require chronic dosing of a biologic, the company has started by focusing on areas that will provide the most significant benefits for patients balanced with the shortest path to approval. These initial target areas include diabetes, blood disorders and lysosomal storage disorders.

Meet the team

Lauren Barney, PhD - portrait image | Elsevier

Lauren Barney, PhD

Scientist

Lauren Barney earned her PhD in chemical engineering from UMass Amherst, where she used biomaterial models to study cancer metastasis. With this foundation, Lauren joined Sigilon Therapeutics to optimize the process of cell encapsulation within Sigilon’s novel Afibromer™ technology, to ultimately create effective and durable living therapeutics.

Richard Heidebrecht, Jr. PhD - portrait image | Elsevier

Richard Heidebrecht, Jr. PhD

Director of Chemistry Research

Rich received a B.S. in chemistry from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and completed his graduate work at Indiana University and the University of Texas at Austin. These efforts resulting in the total synthesis of a neodollabellane diterpene, and the formal synthesis of a welwitindolinone alkaloid. Rich has worked at both large and small companies on diverse projects, and he was on the project team that invented Tarceva®.

Guillaume Carmona, PhD - portrait image | Elsevier

Guillaume Carmona, PhD

Senior Scientist

Dr. Guillaume Carmona is responsible for leading the Sigilon bleeding disorders therapeutic platform. Guillaume joined Sigilon Therapeutics after his postdoctoral training at MIT. He holds a M.S. degree in cell biology from the university of Grenoble and received a Ph.D. in life sciences from the Goethe university of Frankfurt.

Janet Huang - portrait image | Elsevier

Janet Huang

In Vivo Biology Lead

Janet received her B.Sc and M.Sc. from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, where she studied Microbiology and Immunology. After spending several years in a biotech company specializing in preclinical pharmacology, Janet joined Sigilon in 2017 and leads the preclinical development efforts in various programs.

Quotes

"The Hive gives me access to current literature related to biomaterials and cell therapy, which is necessary for effectively designing compelling and intelligent experiments. Without this resource, I’d be missing critical scientific and clinical information, ultimately resulting in inefficient and poorly designed work." Lauren Barney, Scientist
"The Hive program allows us to move at a fast past; so much information in one place, allowing our scientists more time to concentrate on their work in the lab." Richard Heidebrecht, Jr., Director of Chemistry Research
"With its wealth of tools, information and its user-friendly platform, The Hive is an invaluable resource for any biotech company. The Hive is helping us in our drug research and development programs and informed decision-making." Dr. Guillaume Carmona, Senior Scientist
"With so much work ahead of us, the Hive provides a tool that is invaluable." Janet Huang, In Vivo Biology Lead

Learn more about Elsevier's R&D solutions for drug discovery
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