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Janssen, Univ. of Alberta Partner on Diabetes Research

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19 March 2014. Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies, a division of Johnson & Johnson, is joining with University of Alberta in Edmonton to fund research on diabetes with commercial potential. The $600,000 fund, with contributions from Janssen and matched by the government of Alberta and Alberta Diabetes Foundation, will support studies on type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The Alberta Diabetes Institute – Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Research Fund will support research by single investigators or teams based in Alberta, with grants of up to $50,000 for one year, covering both direct and indirect costs. Letters of intent to Alberta Diabetes Institute are due on 30 April 2014. Researchers with the most promising ideas will be invited to prepare full proposals.

The letter of intent instructions call for preclinical studies with the “potential to alter the course of existing treatment or diagnosis for type 1 or 2 diabetes patients.” The studies should seek out novel and highly innovative ideas with a high potential for commercialization. Findings are expected to lead to further development of drugs, devices, cell therapies, and processes, covering all aspects of diabetes diagnosis, treatment, and management.

A review committee from Alberta Diabetes Institute, in University of Alberta’s medical school, and the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in Menlo Park, California will review letters of intent and select the leading candidates by 23 May 2014. Full proposals from the finalists will be due by 25 July, with the selected researchers notified by 26 September.

University of Alberta is no stranger to diabetes discoveries. A method of pancreatic islet transplantation, known as the Edmonton protocol, to improve blood glucose control and reduce the need for insulin injections, was developed at the university in 2000. The protocol recommends a combination of medications to suppress the immune system and reduce the risk of rejection from the transplants.

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