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Roche and SystemsX Collaborate in Diabetes Research

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Roche and the Competence Center for Systems Physiology and Metabolic Diseases (CC-SPMD) of SystemsX, have announced a three-year research partnership.

Scientists from Roche and the CC-SPMD will participate in a joint research project entitled "Systems biology of the beta cell–application to type 2 diabetes progressions".

The project aims to identify pathways for drug development in diabetes as well as biomarkers of beta cell failure for diagnostics.

A team of 15 scientists at Roche and the CC-SPMD, including researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich) and the University of Zurich, will collaborate and exchange research results.

The project will be financed by Roche at a cost of 2.1 million Swiss francs each year for three years.

"This new, systems-oriented research approach, the integration of several disciplines and collaboration of outstanding scientists from academia and industry will allow us to obtain new insights into the dysregulation of beta cells and their impact on type 2 diabetes progression," said Rene Imhof, Head of Pharma Research, Basel.

"We intend to translate this knowledge into innovative treatment options for patients."

"This holistic approach should prove that the whole is stronger than the sum of the parts and ultimately replace the key physiological pathways at the centre of our attention, which is critical for our understanding of metabolic disorders," said Jacques Mizrahi, Global Therapy Area Head of Metabolic and Vascular Diseases at Roche.

"I am very pleased that such a promising collaboration between a SystemsX project and Roche became reality so fast," said Prof. Ernst Hafen, President of the ETH Zurich and Chairman of the Board of Directors of SystemsX.

Prof. Alexander Borbely, Vice-President Research at the University of Zurich, emphasized, "The early incorporation of clinical scientists from the University of Zurich is a good example of an integrative approach to major scientific issues in medicine."

Willy Krek, Professor of Cell Biology at the ETH Zurich and Director of the CC-SPMD, said, "Working closely together with Roche we have designed an exciting project that will accelerate the effective conversion of basic discoveries into evidence-based therapies."