The Max Planck Institute (MPI) of Biochemistry in Martinsried has signed an agreement with GlaxoSmithKline GmbH & Co., to collaborate on the development of new drugs for the treatment of Type II diabetes.
The cooperation agreement, negotiated with assistance from the technology transfer organisation Max Planck Innovation, is worth several million euros over three years.
The joint research and development work is based on the research findings of Axel Ullrich, Director at MPI, who with fellow scientist Mathias Bäcker has uncovered the role of kinases in the development of Type II diabetes, in which insulin resistance gives rise to a raised blood sugar level. In the collaboration the scientists at MPI will look for inhibitors of this kinase activity.
In the 1970s Ullrich worked with scientists at the University of California in research to copy the human insulin gene into bacteria, leading to the development of recombinant insulin. “Developing innovative drugs to treat diabetes gives us the opportunity to directly influence defects in the molecular signal paths, which lie at the root of diabetes. That enables us to fight the actual causes of diabetes,” Ullrich said.Peter Gruss, President of the Max Planck Society, said the collaboration agreement with GSK testifies to the fact that Max Planck Institutes, with their leading edge in basic research, are, “sought-after partners in industry.”