Islet Sheet Medical, San Francisco
“My colleagues at Islet Sheet Medical have succeeded in inventing valuable medical technologies, so we know what success looks and feels like.”
— Scott R. King
Islet Sheet Medical’s mission is to create cell-based therapies to treat diseases through the application of its proprietary encapsulation technology. Its current objective is to cure diabetes by means of a thin-sheet bioartificial pancreas.
Islet Sheet Medical LLC (ISM) was founded in 1995 to create a retrievable bioartificial pancreas, the Islet Sheet. For three years the inventors worked to devise the methods needed to purify alginate polymer and cast thin sheets that would support islet function in vivo. Their success was crowned with patents on the sheets and methods to make them. They published their findings on the ten criteria needed for success, which have become the standard in the field.
In 1998 the company began four years of work with academic collaborators to refine Islet Sheet production and demonstrate sheet utility. Collaborators included the University of Cincinnati, University of Chicago, VA Hospital Louisville, and the University of Alberta, Edmonton. The crucial results came in 2000 with the demonstration that the sheets are compatible with implantation in large animals at various sites under the skin and in the peritoneal cavity. (Some of these results were published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences in 2001.)
In late 2001 it became clear that funding was not available for risky biomedical projects (especially in the field of cell transplantation). Reluctantly ISM put the Islet Sheet research program on hold, while continuing to seek funds from investors and foundations, and turned to work on other projects. In 2008 an offer of funding from the Hanuman Medical Foundation coincided with the decision by the University of California, Irvine, to hire Jonathan Lakey to head islet transplant research. ISM quickly reached agreement with UCI on a collaborative research program with Lakey’s group in Irvine.
As described elsewhere, the research program is embarking on large-animal studies to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the Islet Sheet. The goal is to begin clinical studies as soon as possible. The members of ISM’s medical team are:
Scott R. King
President and CEO of the company and one of its founders, Scott received a BS in chemistry from the University of Chicago in 1977 and an MA in biochemistry from Harvard University in 1978. He was an investment analyst specializing in biological and medical technology at F. Eberstadt & Co. in New York and at Montgomery Securities in San Francisco from 1979 to 1986. He wrote Wall Street’s first investment report on the diabetes industry. He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1978, and has sought a cure ever since. He has more than 35 years of experience in diabetes research as well as previous ventures in the islet transplantation field, including Transtech Medical and Metabolex. He is also president of PlasmaSeal LLC. He composes music in his spare time. E-mail Scott King.
Randy Dorian is senior vice president and chief science officer of research for the Company, and one of its founders. He has 35 years of experience in academic and industrial research and development. He received a BS in biochemistry from the University of California at San Diego in 1975 and was awarded an honorary doctorate in aerospace medicine (AMD) by the U.S. Air Force Systems Command, Aerospace Medical Division, for his pioneering work in genetic manipulation. He was director of research and development of Babagene, Inc. (1985-1987); senior scientist in charge of cell isolation technology at Bio Response, Inc. (1981-1985); and senior scientist and director of process development at Transtech Medical (1991-1994). He is skilled in biotechnology, biochemistry, applied mathematics, and bioengineering design and fabrication. He has a proven ability to figure out solutions to complex biological problems and reduce inventions to practice quickly. Mr. Dorian is an expert on monkeys.
“I am confident we have the best team assembled to make islet transplantation practical.”
Richard W. Storrs, is vice president of research. He received his BA in chemistry from Amherst College (magna cum laude) in 1984 and a PhD in biophysical chemistry from UC Berkeley in 1992. While at Stanford University School of Medicine, he was awarded an NRSA fellowship from the NIH for noninvasive detection of apoptosis. From there he joined DepoTech Corp., now Pacira, where he headed their hemostasis and anti-inflammatory programs. This corporate experience gave Rick an appreciation for the regulatory and quality assurance aspects of the industry. He is a highly capable, versatile pair of hands, co-inventor of the sheet fabrication methods, and all-around operations guy. His passion is adventure travel to unlikely parts of the globe.
“I am excited by the broad range of potential applications for this technology. Diabetes is just the start.”