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UC San Francisco, Sanofi to Partner on Diabetes Therapies

Diabetes Test (NIH)

(National Institutes of Health)

University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) and the French pharmaceutical company Sanofi have agreed to collaborate on diabetes research. Under the $3.1 million partnership, UCSF and Sanofi will share their expertise and identify new drug targets for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The collaboration is expected to bring together researchers in UCSF labs that have studied the biology behind diabetes with Sanofi scientists developing actual therapies from drug candidates. The UCSF labs have been studying beta cells that produce insulin, but are destroyed in type 1 diabetes and often produce too little insulin in type 2 diabetes.

Sanofi and UCSF researchers expect to assess and validate potential drug targets from the university’s library of some 100,000 small interference RNAs (siRNA) molecules that help turn on and off genes, including the gene that produces insulin. The team is also expected to identify Sanofi compounds that could regulate those siRNAs, study the impact of those compounds on UCSF lab models of diabetes, and assess their therapeutic potential.

This partnership is the first of its kind for the UCSF Diabetes Center that goes beyond traditional funded-research agreements to develop a two-way exchange in which scientists on both sides contribute technology and expertise to identify drug targets and test their potential. Sanofi has two other collaborations with UCSF, on brain trauma and oncology research, started after becoming an industry partner of the university in January 2011.

Read more: Sanofi-Aventis to Support UCSF Research Program

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