JDRF sets up $42M Type 1 diabetes fund, aims to raise $80M

Diabetes nonprofit JDRF is launching a new $42 million investment fund for Type 1 diabetes research. It will support the commercialization of early-stage devices, treatments and vaccines for the disease.

JDRF will pony up $32 million, with the remaining $10 million to come from other donors. The JDRF T1D Fund aims to raise $80 million over the next two years and seeks to invest in companies working on ways to prevent, treat and cure Type 1 diabetes, the organization said in a statement.

“The T1D Fund will be the largest and most focused vehicle devoted exclusively to commercializing T1D therapies, devices, treatments, and vaccines,” said JDRF CEO Derek Rapp, CEO of JDRF. “We believe The T1D Fund will speed the attainment of our goal to do the greatest good for the most people in the shortest time.”

The fund is particularly interested in artificial pancreas, metabolic control, encapsulation and replacement, prevention and restoration therapies, according to the statement.

It will be governed separately from JDRF, which has bankrolled a number of projects, including ViaCyte’s encapsulated cell therapy, a potential replacement for insulin-producing cells, Sernova’s Cell Pouch System, an implant that secretes therapeutic cells to help control blood sugar and the University of Toronto’s skin patch that detects low blood sugar and automatically delivers glucagon to convert glycogen back into glucose.

The FDA approved Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G hybrid closed-loop system in September, the world’s first “artificial pancreas.” It is “hybrid” system because it regulates only basal insulin, meaning that patients must manually administer bolus insulin at mealtimes.  Meanwhile, Dexcom, Tandem Diabetes Care and TypeZero Technologies are developing a closed-loop system that will automate correction boluses as well as regulate basal insulin.