A new Center of Competence will be established at the German Diabetes Center (DDZ) during the next three years based on a total funding of about 3.5 Mio Euro provided by Northrhine-Westphalia and the EU. A consortium of eight partners from industry and academia will focus on the development of new diabetes therapies. The new center is coordinated by DDZ and aims at efficient translation of new research results into clinical application, finally improving therapeutic options for diabetic patients.
In Northrhine-Westphalia, excellent basic research in the field of clinical-experimental diabetes studies is conducted for a long time. However, translation of these results into clinical applications is not yet sufficient to generate an economic boost. For start-ups and small companies with high innovation potential it is often not possible to carry out extensive experimental and clinical research with sufficient critical mass. At this point, the new Center of Competence provides strategic support. Leading idea is to build up a sustainable infrastructure that combines expertise from management, medicinal chemistry, preclinical and analytical studies, toxicology and physiology, up to clinical testing.
This novel research infrastructure provides a strong boost for the pharma and biotech sector in Northrhine-Westphalia and supports innovation and competitiveness in NRW. The project is funded within the program “EFRE.NRW – Investitionen in Wachstum und Beschäftigung” supported by NRW and the Europen Union.
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“Together with our partners we aim to establish a sustainable infrastructure, to bring innovative approaches of diabetes therapy rapidly and directly to the patients” explains Prof. Michael Roden, scientific Director of the German Diabetes Center and coordinator of the new Center of Competence for Innovative Diabetes Therapy (KomIT). “Our joint activities aim to bundle expertise, finally leading to scientific and technological break-throughs in diabetes research”.
In addition to the German Diabetes Center, the other partners are: Algiax Pharmaceuticals GmbH, Taros Chemicals GmbH & Co. KG, Lead Discovery Center GmbH, vivo Science GmbH, A&M Labor für Analytik und Metabolismusforschung Service GmbH, PROFIL Institut für Stoffwechselforschung GmbH, and TU Dortmund with the Drug Discovery Hub Dortmund (DDHD).
Diabetes is becoming one of the most widespread health problems. Worldwide prevalence of diabetes among subjects over 65 years was 123 million in 2017, a number that is expected to double in 2045. In Germany, the number of type 2 diabetic patients will increase to 12 million in 2040.
Older patients with diabetes have a higher risk of common geriatric syndromes, which have an important impact on quality of life and may interfere with anti-diabetic treatment. Because of all these factors, clinical management of type 2 diabetes in elderly patients currently represents a real challenge for the physician. Management of glycemic goals and antihyperglycemic treatment has to be individualized in accordance to medical history and comorbidities, giving preference to drugs that are associated with low risk of hypoglycemia.
At present, a limited number of anti-diabetic drugs is available including metformin (the first-line agent), pioglitazone, dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitors, glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists, and and SGLT-2 inhibitors. All therapeutic approaches are limited by beta-cell failure and innovative therapies need to focus on beta-cell protection and restoration of beta-cell function. The vision of KomIT is to contribute to this novel approach.