What They’re Talking About Around the Water Cooler

10,000 Babies Per Year to be Screened for Diabetes Risk Genes in Sweden

On May 26, Diamyd Medical of Stock-holm, Sweden, announced that efforts are now under way at the University of Lund in Sweden to identify individuals at risk for developing type 1 diabetes. This group may then be in need of diabetes prevention intervention with the diabetes vaccine Diamyd, contingent on this vaccine’s success in upcoming clinical phase II and III studies.

“About 10,000 newborns in the southern region of Sweden will be screened per year for diabetes risk genes and risk antibodies,” says Swedish professor Ake Lernmark of the University of Washington in Seattle.

Lernmark, also a member of Diamyd Medical’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board, estimates that 25 percent of these may be singled out as at-risk individuals, who will be closely monitored over the years to follow for development of diabetes-related antibodies such as GAD.

Diamyd Medical says parents of at-risk babies will not be informed if their babies are at risk until a safe and efficient diabetes prevention vaccine is available.

For more information, contact Diamyd Medical via email at info@diamyd.com, or log on to its Web site at www.diamyd.com.

Becton Dickinson Wins Patent Dispute Against Novo

On May 25, Becton Dickinson (BD) won a four-year-old insulin injection patent dispute. A Manhattan federal jury declared BD did not infringe on a patent held by Novo Nordisk on a 30-gauge pen and needle. The verdict means that BD can continue to manufacture and market its 30-gauge BD Ultra-Fine II and Micro-Fine+ short insulin pen needles without having to pay a licensing fee to Novo Nordisk.

New Minimally Invasive Meter to Start Clinical Trials

MicroSense International of St. Louis has successfully completed the design freeze milestone in the development of its Pushita minimally invasive glucose detector.

MicroSense says Pushita will allow people with diabetes the opportunity to sample glucose levels painlessly and without drawing blood.

“This milestone represents a material step forward in our effort to bring painless, minimally invasive glucose detection technology to the diabetic public,” says MicroSense founder and CEO, Eric Raskas. “Our next objective is to continue our aggressive investment in product development and reach initial clinical trials following completion of our production process validation.”

Raskas anticipates patient recruitment and clinical trials will commence during the fourth quarter of 2000.

For more information on Pushita, contact Patricia Schmidt at 314-862-2320 or via email at pschmidt@micro-sense.com.

Metabolex and Warner-Lambert Team up in $50 Million Diabetes Collaboration

On May 18, Metabolix of Hayward, California, announced the signing of a five-year collaboration in the field of diabetes research with Parke-Davis, the pharmaceutical research division of Warner-Lambert.

The focus of the collaboration is on the use of genomics in the discovery and development of new therapeutics that treat type 2 diabetes by counter-acting insulin resistance.

Metabolex will receive research funding from Warner-Lambert that could exceed $50 million. This will include an up-front license fee and an equity investment, as well as milestone payments according to the accomplishment of specific research objectives. In exchange, Parke-Davis will receive exclusive worldwide commercialization rights to products generated from the collaboration.

JDF Awards $10 Million to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

On May 11, the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation (JDF) announced it had awarded a $10 million grant to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh to establish the JDF Center for Gene Therapy Approaches to Type 1 Diabetes.

The center will bring together world-renowned experts in the areas of diabetes, gene therapy, immunology and transplantation with a common goal of finding a cure for diabetes through islet cell transplantation and genetic engineering.

“Islet cell transplantation is one of our most promising hopes of finding a cure,” said Dr. Sandra Puczynski, chair of research for the JDF. “The new JDF Center is an important building block in helping us put islet transplantation on a fast track.”

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