National agenda aims to speed up development of new diabetes drugs

Published 2013-02-05 00:00. Updated 2013-11-26 10:24

[PRESS RELEASE 4 February 2013] In an endeavour to translate the results of diabetes research into more efficacious drugs and therapies, several leading players in the field are to embark on a national cooperative venture.

As part of Vinnova's research and innovation agenda initiative, Lund, Uppsala and Umeå universities, Karolinska Institutet, Karolinska Institutet Innovations, R&D Centre Skåne, Karolinska Trial Alliance and AstraZeneca are joining forces to produce a common innovation agenda.

The purpose is to increase the pace of innovation, above all in the field of diabetes, as well as to strengthen Swedish competitiveness and create a climate more favourable to Swedish innovation.

"This we hope to do by creating better opportunities for bridging the gap between academic basic research and innovation, and by encouraging a greater commitment to innovation by the healthcare sector," says agenda project leader Sylvie Bove, innovation officer at Lund University's Diabetes Centre and EXODIAB (Excellence of Diabetes Research in Sweden), a strategic research initiative between Lund and Uppsala universities.

The global number of diabetes patients is expected to increase from today's 370 million to 550 million in the next 20 years. In Sweden alone there are predicted to be more than 600,000 diabetics in 2030.

"Our vision is for basic research to play a greater part in innovation than it does at present, and to combine with industry and healthcare to create the breakthroughs needed for more effective diabetes care," says Ms Bove.

The first concrete proposals will be discussed in February, when representatives of the academic, pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors will be meeting with specialists working in biotechnology, biobanks and innovation systems, investors and politicians involved in translational research/commercialisation of research findings.

"Gathering people from all parts of the innovation chain, from academic researchers to companies, will enable us to produce proposals that take account of their different circumstances," says Dr Stefan Nobel, programme coordinator of the Strategic Research Programme in Diabetes at Karolinska Institutet.

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