The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has announced the launch of the JDRF T1D Fund, a venture philanthropy vehicle devoted to identifying and funding early-stage high-impact opportunities with the potential to accelerate efforts to cure, treat, and prevent type 1 diabetes.
With a $32 million investment from JDRF and about $10 million in pre-launch contributions from donors, the fund hopes to raise a total of $80 million over the next two years. To be administered as a separate entity, the fund will focus its investments on early opportunities in the areas of artificial pancreas, metabolic control, encapsulation and replacement, prevention, and restoration therapies. Structuring the fund as a venture philanthropy vehicle ensures that any realized gains will be re-deployed toward its mission, magnifying the impact of donor gifts.
To that end, the fund will make the case to individual donors and institutional funders that attractive investment opportunities with potentially high impact exist in the T1D space. And by partnering with the fund, investors may be able to reduce their risk by gaining access to JDRF’s scientific and clinical trial knowledge and regulatory and reimbursement expertise. Currently, some 1.25 million Americans live with T1D, an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas stops producing insulin, and that number is expected to increase to five million by 2050.
"Research advances in T1D are accelerating at an unprecedented pace," said Jon Behr, managing director of the JDRF T1D Fund. "T1D research is at a critical inflection point, and the T1D Fund has been created to catalyze major investment in the commercialization of the great research discoveries of the last decade. We believe this disciplined and focused effort is essential to our mission of curing, treating and preventing T1D."
"The T1D Fund will be the largest and most focused vehicle devoted exclusively to commercializing T1D therapies, devices, treatments, and vaccines," said JDRF chief executive Derek Rapp. "We believe the T1D Fund will speed the attainment of our goal to do the greatest good for the most people in the shortest time."