AstraZeneca’s biologics R&D arm MedImmune is teaming up with the Joslin Diabetes Center in a three-year research collaboration to develop new drugs for the treatment of diabetes, obesity, and related metabolic disorders.

The organizations said they have been identified three initial projects with a focus on multiple key areas including protecting and regenerating the insulin-producing beta cells, increasing the caloric utilization of fat depots (“beiging” white fat or expanding brown fat), and replicating the beneficial effects of bariatric surgery pharmacologically.

According to C. Ronald Kahn, M.D., chief academic officer of Joslin Diabetes Center, who will head Joslin’s alliance team, the partnership combines the discovery research and clinical care expertise at Joslin with MedImmune’s development capabilities. MedImmune will provide research funding and has the option to license development and commercial rights to projects emerging from the collaboration.

Joslin Diabetes Center is working with big players in the field to utilize its metabolic disease expertise. Just last week, the organization announced it entered into a partnership with Johnson and Johnson Medical in Shanghai to improve glycemic control for people with diabetes who are hospitalized in Chinese hospitals. The goal of the alliance is to help Chinese providers adopt a multidisciplinary team-based approach for diabetes care.

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