Projects with Industry

SRP Diabetes reserachers have a long tradition of collaboration with the industry and where a few recent examples is given here. Some of the researchers are entrepreneurs themselves and have started their own companies.

SRP Diabetes-AstraZeneca Science for Life Lab project

”Genomic and metabolomic fingerprint of muscle insulin resistance and the adaptive response to exercise in diabetic patients”.

Short description of the project: The aim is to map the epigenome and transcriptome (including noncoding RNA such as miRNA), as well as the metabolome in skeletal muscle and peripheral blood lymphocytes/plasma from type 2 diabetic (T2D) patients and healthy subjects. The project will test the hypothesis that metabolic disease-relevant changes in the epigenome influence insulin sensitivity and that modifications in the epigenome influence the adaptive response to acute exercise training. To this end the largest cohort to date subjected to the above interventions and global molecular analyses will be formed.

This is a newly started collaborative research project between AstraZeneca (AZ) and SRP Diabetes in the AZ-SciLifeLab joint research program. The project is partly funded via a novel initiative established by AZ to support and develop front-line translational research utilizing resources within KI and SciLifeLab. The project was selected in stiff competition, where only 10 of 120 applications were successful (  (in Swedish).

The collaboration is set up as a consortium with 8 academic PIs with complementary expertise, located at 4 different universities – Karolinska Insitutet (KI), Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Umeå University (UmU) and Swedish Agricultural University (SLU) and several researchers at AZ, to accomplish the goals of the project. The work is divided into different work packages (WPs). Three WPs involve the different clinical interventions and subsequent collection of human biopsies and are located at Karolinska University Hospital (KUH) Solna, KUH Huddinge and Umeå University Hospital. There is a specific WP for global omics analyses, which will be performed at both the SciLifeLab Stockholm and Umeå nodes, as well as at AZ. One WP is organized for systems biology analyses and bioinformatics, where SciLifeLab Stockholm and AZ are responsible. Finally, a WP on validation efforts using animal and cell models is located at KI.

SRP Diabetes researchers involved:

Lead-PI Juleen Zierath, Co-PIs Anna Krook (validation), Erik Näslund (clinical), Mikael Rydén (clinical), Tommy Olsson (clinical), Karin Dahlman-Wright (omics),

KTH/SciLifeLab: Co-PI Lukas Käll (systems biology)

Swedish Agricultural University (SLU): Thomas Moritz, (metabolomics)

Karolinska University Hospital Solna: Kenneth Caidahl (clinical)

AstraZeneca: Stanko Skrtic (omics, bioinformatics)


Start-up companies founded by SRP Diabetes PIs

  • Betagenon AB, a biotech co-founded by Dr. Edlund that develops therapies for the treatment of obesity-related disorders including type 2 diabetes. The company has started a phase I clinical trial for a novel drug to improve the metabolic status and vascular function in obese and type 2 diabetic subjects.
  • BioCrine AB, a biotech co-founded by Dr. Berggren that focuses on the molecular mechanisms of insulin secretion, insulin resistance, and pancreatic beta cell function.
  • NephroGenex Inc, a drug development company co-founded by Dr. Tryggvason, focusing on kidney disease. The company has developed one drug, Pyridorin, which now is in phase III clinical trial for treatment of diabetes complications including nephropathy and acute renal failure.
  • BioLamina AB, a biotech company co-founded by Dr. Tryggvason, focuses on human recombinant laminins as substrates for culturing of stem cells, as well as differentiated cell types.


First-in-human renal cell implantation

In a collaborative project between the Dept. of Transplantation (Torbjörn Lundgren, PI-SRP), Dept. of Renal medicine (Peter Stenvinkel, PI-SRP), Vecura (Pontus Blomberg) and the US biotech company Tengion a first-in-human study on renal cell implantation have been conducted between Aug-Dec 2013 at Karolinska University hospital Huddinge. Five overweight type-2 diabetic patients with chronic kidney disease stage 4 have undergone standardized renal biopsy from which renal cells have been selected, cultured and after 8-12 weeks injected back (about 800 million cells) in the cortex of same kidney via a laparoscopic technique. Although this is primarily a safety study the patients will be followed with regard to effects on GFR (iohexol clearance), tubular functions, blood pressure, split kidney function (scintigraphy) and kidney volume (MRI).