Sanofi-aventis and Columbia University Medical Center announced a three-year research collaboration for the development of innovative diabetes medicines. This research collaboration, with the laboratory of Dr. Gerard Karsenty, will investigate the role of the osteoblast-secreted peptide, osteocalcin, in diabetes management.
In a landmark paper published in the research journal Cell in 2007, Dr. Karsenty, the Paul A. Marks Professor and Chair of the Department of Genetics and Development at Columbia University, and colleagues revealed that bone-forming cells called osteoblasts produce osteocalcin, a hormone that influences blood sugar levels and fat deposition. These findings provided the first in vivo evidence of endocrine regulation of energy metabolism by the skeleton and opened the door for an entirely new area of exploration for novel pathways, targets and therapies directed toward metabolic disorders, including diabetes.
Under the collaboration, Sanofi-aventis will sponsor research in Dr. Karsenty’s laboratory and has an option to license and develop existing patents and results that may arise from the research into potential diabetes treatments. Financial terms of this agreement were not disclosed.