Degeneration and death of pancreatic islet b-cells is the definitive cause of irreversible diabetes in both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes (T2D). Researchers at The University of Auckland are developing an early stage therapeutic peptide, Vesiculin, a putative islet beta cell growth factor that has shown potential to slow the degeneration of islet β-cells and/or even regenerate islet β-cells thus restoring a patient's ability to produce insulin. This would allow more effective long term control of T2D through slowing the onset of insulin resistance in T2D patients. Vesiculin is derived from IGF-II and is secreted from islet β cell granules. Genetic evidence and structural analysis supports the hypothesis that Vesiculin is a islet b-cell-specific growth factor, and its isolation from pancreatic β-cells suggests that it may well perform function(s) in that vicinity.Vesiculin may also play a role in the direct control of the glucose and glycogen balance, and so could be a potential alternative to insulin, especially in patients that have become insulin-resistant. Initial studies have shown that Vesiculin stimulates in vitro muscle glycogen synthesis, with an efficacy better than that of other peptides, including rat-derived insulin II and human IGF-II. On-going studies are being conducted to evaluate the efficacy and ADME profile of Vesiculin in vivo.


UniServices is seeking investment and partnerships with industry.

Unique Selling Propositions
  • Vesiculin has the potential to restore a patient's ability to produce insulin
  • Vesiculin may be used as a single agent or in combination with other treatments such as insulin
  • The second is a proprietary murine model of T2D which will be used to test the safety and efficacy of Vesiculin
  • Researchers have developed two key proprietary tools enabling further studies on Vesiculin:
  • The first is a methodology which provides the ability to distinguish Vesiculin from its precursor IGF-II and enable detection and determination of endogenous or synthetic Vesiculin and IGF-II levels in serum
  • Vesiculin represents an opportunity to develop a first-in-class therapy
  • Vesiculin may allow more effective control of T2D by slowing the onset of insulin resistance in T2D patients
IP Strategy

UniServices currently owns a patent family derived from PCTNZ2006/00078 filed 20/04/2006 and claiming priority back to US 60/673537 dated 20/04/2005. National Phase patent applications are pending in the USA, Europe and Japan. This patent family covers Vesiculin polypeptides and conserved variants and pharmaceutical formulations including such polypeptides.

Project Status

Proof of Principle - Laboratory demonstration of principle only