JDRF, The Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation Announce Innovative Diabetes Drug Discovery and Development Partnership

JDRF, The Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation Announce Innovative Diabetes Drug Discovery and Development Partnership

Program Focuses on Expanding Pipeline of Drugs For People with Type 1 Diabetes

Contact:
William Ahearn
212-479-7531
wahearn@jdrf.org

Joana Casas
212-479-7560
mcasas@jdrf.org

New York, NY, August 5, 2009 — JDRF said today that it has entered into a novel collaborative research agreement with the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF) to create a diabetes drug discovery and development platform.  The four-year program is one of the largest and most comprehensive collaborations in the 40 year history of JDRF, a leader in setting the agenda for diabetes research worldwide and the largest charitable funder and advocate of type 1 research.

“This agreement with GNF opens exciting new avenues for JDRF to speed the translation of basic research into drugs and treatments for type 1 diabetes” said Alan J. Lewis, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of JDRF.  “By creating this highly interactive collaboration with a world class organization with demonstrated expertise in discovering and developing innovative therapeutics for medical needs, we are looking to expand both the targets and the realm of possible treatments that can benefit people living with diabetes.” 

Based in San Diego, GNF was founded in 1999. Funded by the Novartis Research Foundation, its mission is to develop and apply innovative technologies to the discovery of new biologic processes and new or improved therapeutics for people.  With a team of 550 scientists and associates, it has an impressive track record of success in translational research, and has contributed significantly to Novartis’ pipeline of therapeutic candidates.

The partnership between JDRF and GNF aims to deliver a succession of drug candidates to the clinic over the next four years. The initial focus will be on pancreatic beta cell regeneration and survival, to restore beta cell function in diabetes. The program builds on current JDRF funding at GNF that has resulted in the discovery of beta cell regeneration drug targets and candidates, and allows for the inclusion of JDRF-funded projects and other discoveries into the program.

“Through this collaboration with JDRF, we are looking to create a unique program of translational research that fully exploits the strengths of each partner to produce a continuous source of novel insights, drug targets, and drug candidates,” said Peter Schultz, PhD, Lead GNF Investigator and Institute Director.

“This is an exciting evolution of JDRF’s research strategy for discovering and developing diabetes therapeutics,” said Richard A. Insel, MD, Executive Vice President for Research at JDRF. “The partnership provides JDRF access to a highly talented group of scientists, state-of-the-art drug discovery technology, and an organization with a proven track record of delivering drugs to the clinic to address a critical gap in research — advancing basic research, often arising from academia, into drug discovery and development.  The JDRF-GNF partnership should jumpstart the creation of a multi-product pipeline for beta cell regeneration, a therapeutic priority for JDRF.” 

Projects within the collaboration will be chosen and managed by a combined review committee of JDRF and GNF representatives, with oversight from a Scientific Advisory Board and JDRF volunteers.

About GNF
The Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation develops and applies integrated state-of-the-art technologies in chemistry, biology, automation, and information sciences in order to pursue new approaches towards the understanding of complex biomedical problems in cancer biology, immunology, neuroscience, and metabolic as well as infectious disease.  These technologies cut across the life sciences, and include genomics and proteomics tools, medicinal chemistry, cell-based ultra high throughput screening of genes or compounds, structural genomics, and forward/reverse mammalian genetics.

The mission of the Institute is to exploit these technologies to identify new biological processes and understand the underlying mechanisms involved in human disease. These discoveries are being translated into human therapeutics through an internal preclinical drug discovery effort coupled with further developmental activities with Novartis. Founded in 1999, the Institute is funded through the Novartis Research Foundation.

About JDRF

JDRF is the leading global organization focused on type 1 diabetes (T1D) research. Driven by passionate, grassroots volunteers connected to children, adolescents, and adults with this disease, JDRF is now the largest charitable supporter of T1D research. The goal of JDRF research is to improve the lives of all people affected by T1D by accelerating progress on the most promising opportunities for curing, better treating, and preventing T1D. JDRF collaborates with a wide spectrum of partners who share this goal.

Since its founding in 1970, JDRF has awarded more than $1.7 billion to diabetes research. Past JDRF efforts have helped to significantly advance the care of people with this disease, and have expanded the critical scientific understanding of T1D. JDRF will not rest until T1D is fully conquered. More than 80 percent of JDRF’s expenditures directly support research and research-related education.