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Key appointments being made at new diabetes vaccine facility in Umeå

Pressmeddelande   •   Jun 18, 2020 08:04 CEST

Maja Johansson is new site manager at Diamyd Medical in Umeå.

Construction of Diamyd Medical's new vaccine manufacturing unit in Umeå is now underway, with a number of key roles being actively recruited to help staff the new facility. Newly-appointed site manager Maja Johansson is responsible for establishing the process for the production of GAD, the active substance in the study drug Diamyd.

“We are looking for people with drive and relevant experience of biological manufacturing and drug development to help us get the facility up and running quickly,” says Maja Johansson, who joined Diamyd Medical from Umeå University and Umecrine Cognition AB.

She will now oversee work on the new facility, which is located in premises previously operated by Sobi (Swedish Orphan Biovitrum) at Ersboda in Umeå.

“The facility is located right next door to the pharmaceutical manufacturer APL, which is logistically perfect as the last stage in the production of the Diamyd diabetes vaccine has been carried out by APL in Umeå for several years now,” says Maja Johansson.

It is anticipated more employees will be hired as production gets underway and increases.

“We can then increase production capacity even further. The long-term goal is for the facility in Umeå to not only produce enough GAD to meet the market demand for our Diamyd diabetes vaccine but also to be a key player in the production of biological substances for other drug projects - both our own and for external parties,” says Maja Johansson.

Diamyd Medical's new unit is around 1,000 square meters in size and contains clean rooms, laboratories and offices. The company is investing initially a total of around SEK 20 million into the facility.

The deciding factor when selecting Umeå as the unit’s location was the opportunity to rent premises already adapted for drug production. Ulf Hannelius, CEO of Diamyd Medical, says he is pleased Umeå was chosen as the site for Diamyd Medical's expanding operations.

“Umeå University and the University Hospital of Umeå make Umeå a city that is perfect for life science initiatives. Life science incubator Umeå Biotech Incubator's continuous business development of biotech companies has also stimulated interest in the sector and strengthened Umeå as a life science region,” says Ulf Hannelius.

Today there is no known cure for diabetes. Currently type 1 diabetes, the autoimmune form of diabetes that Diamyd Medical focuses on, can only be treated with insulin, which requires lifelong and often demanding treatment.

“The purpose of the Diamyd diabetes vaccine is to specifically and safely reprogram the body's immune system so that it stops breaking down the insulin-producing cells,” says Ulf Hannelius, adding:

“With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic a diabetes vaccine like ours is more important than ever because, unlike other drugs being developed for autoimmune diabetes, Diamyd does not downregulate the immune system and therefore does not increase the risk of infections”.

An exact date when the new manufacturing facility can start production has not yet been given.

“First we have to get all the key positions filled. We are convinced that our facility in Umeå will be world-leading and increase Umeå's growing reputation as a biotech hub,” says Maja Johansson.

For more information about career opportunities please contact:

Maja Johansson, Site Manager at Diamyd Medical, Umeå
maja.johansson@diamyd.com
+46 72 571 92 20

About Diamyd Medical

Diamyd Medical develops therapies for type 1 diabetes. The diabetes vaccine Diamyd® is an antigen-specific immunotherapy for the preservation of endogenous insulin production. Diamyd® has demonstrated good safety in trials encompassing more than 1,000 patients as well as significant effect in some pre-specified subgroups. Results from the Company’s European Phase IIb trial DIAGNODE-2, where the diabetes vaccine is administered directly into a lymph node in children and young adults with newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes, are expected to be presented in the third quarter of 2020. A new facility for vaccine manufacturing is being set up in Umeå with the first priority to receive the process technology for the manufacture of recombinant GAD65, the active ingredient in the therapeutic diabetes vaccine Diamyd®. Diamyd Medical also develops the GABA-based investigational drug Remygen® for regeneration of endogenous insulin production. An investigator-initiated Remygen® trial in patients living with type 1 diabetes for more than five years is ongoing at Uppsala University Hospital. Diamyd Medical is one of the major shareholders in the stem cell company NextCell Pharma AB and has holdings in the medtech company Companion Medical, Inc., San Diego, USA.

Umeå Biotech Incubator (UBI) is one of Sweden’s state-of-the-art business incubators within the life sciences. We help researchers to use their data to the benefit of patients and citizens, improving their health. We support and train entrepreneurs in the fields of pharmaceuticals, diagnostics and medical engineering, and act as a bridge between academia, medicine and the business community.

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