Pharmaceutical company Sanofi has agreed to invest $3.1 million in research funding at the University of California, San Francisco to develop new therapies for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
The investment will also include collaboration between UCSF and Sanofi scientists at three of the school’s labs, the organizations said in a joint statement.
Researchers at UCSF aim to gain a deeper understanding of the biology of insulin-producing cells which are destroyed in type 1 diabetes and are reduced in production in type 2 diabetes. Researchers also hope they can identify Sanofi compounds that could be useful in regulating molecules that play a crucial role in genes that regulate insulin production, to assess the compounds’ treatment potential.
"UCSF is known for its deep understanding of the underlying biology of diabetes, while Sanofi has great expertise in screening compounds, identifying which molecules have potential, and moving them along to develop a new drug. Such an endeavor is almost impossible to accomplish in a single academic laboratory. Thus, both partners profit from the expertise of the other group," Matthias Hebrok, director of the UCSF Diabetes Center said in a statement.
Around 46 percent of adults in the U.S. had diabetes or pre-diabetes in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the agency predicts that a third of Americans will have the disease in 2050. The disease is the leading cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart disease and stroke, and is the seventh highest cause of fatalities.
The United States spends around $116 billion annually on diabetes care, and loses $58 billion in lost productivity and early mortality caused by the disease, according to the CDC.
Sanofi had also said in a separate statement that it will invest $125 million in new biotech startup in Boston called Warp Drive developing natural-product therapies with proprietary genomics technology, on Tuesday.