Devices & Diagnostics

PureTech, JDRF’s startup fund will help type 1 diabetes treatments cross the “valley of death”

PureTech Ventures will bring the business smarts while JDRF and other non-profits will bring the scientific knowledge to a new fund that’s hoping to turn potentially transformational type 1 diabetes discoveries into commercially viable products. The first investor, JDRF, has committed $5 million to the project, called T1D Innovations. The idea is that T1D Innovations […]

PureTech Ventures will bring the business smarts while JDRF and other non-profits will bring the scientific knowledge to a new fund that’s hoping to turn potentially transformational type 1 diabetes discoveries into commercially viable products.

The first investor, JDRF, has committed $5 million to the project, called T1D Innovations.

The idea is that T1D Innovations will fund breakthroughs in areas of unmet need while allowing foundations to make mission-driven investments and realize financial returns to then re-invest in other new technologies. That’s especially important as federal research funding is feeling the pinch of the sequestration, and the number of venture capital dollars invested in life science companies continues to fall.

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A Deep-dive Into Specialty Pharma

A specialty drug is a class of prescription medications used to treat complex, chronic or rare medical conditions. Although this classification was originally intended to define the treatment of rare, also termed “orphan” diseases, affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the US, more recently, specialty drugs have emerged as the cornerstone of treatment for chronic and complex diseases such as cancer, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.

JDRF said the project will help usher technologies across the biomedical “valley of death,” resulting in the formation of new startups. Particular areas of focus include beta cell therapies, immune therapies, an artificial pancreas, glucose control and technologies that prevent or treat complications associated with type 1 diabetes.

Other collaborators include Joslin Diabetes Center and data hub T1D Exchange, which will bring scientific, clinical and patient engagement expertise to the table.

T1D Innovations is part of a broader initiative by technology development company PureTech, which works with scientists and entrepreneurs to fund and translate new solutions to healthcare challenges like obesity, cognitive disorders and depression.

PureTech’s David Steinberg told diatribe that the group hopes to raise up to $25 million more to fund up to a dozen companies as part of the project.