Eli Lilly will partner with Sigilon Therapeutics to develop encapsulated cell therapies as treatments for type 1 diabetes, through a collaboration that could generate up to $473 million-plus for the year-old startup, the companies said today.

Based in Cambridge, MA, privately held Sigilon focuses on discovering and developing “living therapeutics” through its Afibromer™ technology product platform. Afibromer stands for “afibrotic polymers which do not trigger a fibrotic response.”

“Insulin-dependent diabetes is a very compelling application of our Afibromer technology, with the challenge of providing dynamic protein delivery in response to specific conditions in the body,” Sigilon states on its website. “This requires a complex clinical development strategy that is best handled with an industry partner where together we can leverage the significant resources required for success.”

Sigilon plans to create proprietary products consisting of induced pluripotent stem cells, engineered into differentiated insulin-producing pancreatic ß-cells and encapsulated …