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JDRF announces diabetes research program with Johnson & Johnson

NEW YORK, Dec. 17, 2009 The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a leader in setting the agenda for diabetes research worldwide, said today that it will begin working with The Johnson & Johnson Corporate Office of Science and Technology, and its affiliates, to speed the development of drug targets and pathways to promote the survival and function of insulin-producing cells in people who have diabetes. The program will look to fund research at academic centers around the world that could eventually lead to novel drug targets and industry collaborations for the treatment of type 1 diabetes.

The joint program will solicit grant proposals from academia and medical research foundations for one- or two-year research projects. The research will focus on agents and compounds that safely promote survival and function of beta cells the cells within the pancreas that produce insulin, and that are lost in the immune attack that causes type 1 diabetes. Preserving or maintaining beta cell mass and activity in people with type 1 diabetes can reduce insulin requirements, make controlling the disease easier and more effective, and lower the risk of both short and long-term complications of the disease..

"This program will clearly help accelerate the translation of basic research into therapies useful in the treatment of diabetes," said Alan J. Lewis, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of JDRF. "By creating this novel incubator program to support early stage research with a company known for first-class research and significant experience in the commercialization of products, we believe we can increase the number of viable drug targets identified and fundamentally change the pace of diabetes research."

Funding decisions will be led by a combined review committee consisting of representatives from the JDRF and The Johnson & Johnson Corporate Office of Science and Technology and its affiliates, with oversight from a Scientific Advisory Board and JDRF volunteers.

"Beta cell survival is a critical research focus to advance the understanding of the natural history of diabetes and importantly, where to intervene to slow or arrest the progression of this disease," said Martin Fitchet, M.D, Therapeutic Area Head, Cardiovascular and Metabolism for Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development, L.L.C. "Establishing this alliance with The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation is a part of our commitment to access external innovation to drive discovery and development of new therapies for the patients who most need them."

The program aims to contribute to medical research funding in the discovery of better treatments for diabetes, facilitating cooperation between the pharmaceutical industry and universities in with the potential to lead to drug targets and products.


Contact: Jillian Lubarsky
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International

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