Strategic Alliance “Novel Targets for the Therapy of Obesity-Linked Diabetes”


Sanofi and the Institute of Diabetes and Obesity (IDO) at Helmholtz Zentrum München have entered a new strategic research alliance in the field of diabetes and obesity research.

From 2013 on, the alliance “Novel Targets for the Therapy of Obesity-Linked Diabetes” will focus on the identification and validation of new targets and screening methods. Here new technologies shall be used for the development of innovative approaches to treat patients with diabetes and obesity. Another component of the strategic alliance will be an exchange program for scientists of the two partners.

The newly established institute at Helmholtz Zentrum München, which is a member of the initiative of the German Center for Diabetes Research, is directed by Matthias Tschöp, Alexander von Humboldt Professor and one of the most renowned experts in the field of diabetes and metabolic research. The advantages of the Institute include access to animal models and epidemiological cohort studies at Helmholtz Zentrum München as well as the participation of clinical cooperation partners. Thus, the Institute will create a unique environment for translational approaches in the field of diabetes research.

“We are delighted at the prospect of working with Professor Tschöp in target research,” said Philip Just Larsen, global head of research and translational medicine of the Diabetes Division at Sanofi. “Through the collaboration with Germany’s preeminent researcher in the field of energy homeostasis and obesity,” he added, “we hope to develop new treatments for patients with type 2 diabetes. We are confident that the combination of Professor Tschöp’s creative scientific approach and Sanofi’s extensive expertise in drug development are the key to achieving further pharmaceutical breakthroughs.” Matthias Tschöp emphasized the importance of the strategic alliance between Sanofi and diabetes research at Helmholtz-Zentrum München: “This alliance will facilitate the development of innovative targets for new drugs and treatment approaches for the benefit of diabetes patients. To achieve this, we have recruited an ambitious international research team, established state-of-the-art methodological approaches and can rely on Sanofi’s outstanding expertise in the field of pharmacological validation and molecular optimization.”

Both partners have agreed to launch two collaborative projects in which genome-wide RNAi screening will be used to identify metabolic pathways and new proteins that regulate energy homeostasis and to validate these in vivo.

Helmholtz Zentrum München and the Diabetes Division of Sanofi will complement each other by means of their unique expertise in target identification and validation as well as in the field of drug discovery and will benefit in equal measure from this partnership.