The T1D Fund: turning imagination into reality

The T1D Fund: turning imagination into reality

By: Hadeel Saab

A world without type 1 diabetes: can you imagine what it would look like and how we’d actually get there? If imagining this isn’t coming easily to you, don’t worry. To help you fuel your imagination, read on to learn about the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund (JDRF) T1D Fund and its incredible mission bringing us closer to a T1D-free world.

Founded in 1970, JDRF is currently the largest nonprofit organization dedicated to T1D. Whether it’s through funding T1D research, helping T1D patients navigate their health journeys, or advocating for T1D patients at insurance companies and government agencies, JDRF has spent five decades committed to serving and connecting the T1D global community. Its ultimate vision is no surprise: a world without T1D.

One pivotal moment to its impact was its launch of the T1D Fund in 2015, a venture philanthropy fund aimed at creating a new investment market that would help translate research discoveries into meaningful impact in T1D patients’ lives. With the goal to “accelerate life-changing solutions to cure, prevent and treat T1D”, all hands must be on deck – the pharmaceutical, biotech, and venture capital industries. It’s generally pretty risky to make a big investment in a single, specific disease, but the T1D Fund’s philanthropic contribution of over $55 million to a portfolio of over 20 companies has drawn over $325 million of outside new venture capital investment. 

That’s $375 million invested in T1D programs in less than only four years after the initial launch of the fund. 

The investment portfolio has three branches — beta cell therapies, immunotherapies, and improving lives, and the companies all share two traits: potential for significant clinical impact and financial return. The first one is a given, but the second is interesting. Having financial return is not only beneficial in that it will attract more investors, but it also allows the T1D Fund to put its own financial returns back into its investments. This creates a magnificently cyclical source of funding for all these promising companies who are developing therapeutics, diagnostics, devices, and vaccines.

Can you imagine a T1D-free world yet? ‘Cause we sure can.

To learn more about the T1D Fund visit: https://t1dfund.org

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