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Metabolic disease collaboration

Medimmune and Joslin enter metabolic disease collaboration

Aspects of the research will look at replicating the beneficial effects of bariatric surgery pharmacologically

MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, and Joslin Diabetes Center, have announced a three-year research collaboration to develop new medicines for the treatment of diabetes, obesity and related metabolic disorders.

MedImmune and Joslin researchers will work collaboratively on research projects to identify new drug candidates. Three initial projects have been identified, focusing on several key areas including:

  • protecting and regenerating the insulin producing beta cells
  • increasing the caloric utilization of fat depots (“beiging” white fat or expanding brown fat), and;
  • replicating the beneficial effects of bariatric surgery pharmacologically.

The collaboration is structured with the potential for more projects to be added as new compelling science is identified.

“Cardiovascular and metabolic disease (CVMD) is a main therapy area for MedImmune, and we are pleased to enter this new research partnership with Joslin Diabetes Center to identify and translate the most promising emerging science into novel drug development projects with the potential to help patients suffering with diabetes, obesity and other metabolic diseases,” said Cristina Rondinone, Vice President and Head, MedImmune’s Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease (CVMD) Innovative Medicines Unit.  “Joslin Diabetes Center is world-renowned for metabolic disease research, and will be an important partner for MedImmune and AstraZeneca as we continue our commitment to improve diabetes management and care through the development of innovative medicines.”

Under the terms of the agreement, MedImmune will provide research funding to Joslin and bring drug development expertise and capabilities to complement Joslin’s early metabolic disease research competencies and clinical care infrastructure.  MedImmune has the option to license development and commercial rights to projects emerging from the collaboration.

"This partnership combines the discovery research and clinical care expertise at Joslin with MedImmune’s great development capabilities to hopefully move these projects from important new concepts to treatments that could benefit the patients we treat in our clinic and the millions of others like them across the globe suffering from metabolic diseases,” said Dr C Ronald Kahn, Mary K Iacocca Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chief Academic Officer of Joslin Diabetes Center, who will head Joslin’s alliance team.

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