Sanofi SA, the French drug giant that bought Cambridge-based Genzyme Corp. for $20.1 billion last year, announced a research collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a teaching and research affiliate of Harvard Medical School.
The collaboration is focused on the immunology of type 1 diabetes.
Under the the agreement, researchers from both organizations will undertake studies for a novel approach to treat type 1 diabetes. Sanofi has an option to exclusively license intellectual property emerging from this collaboration.
Diabetes affects an estimated 346 million people worldwide, a number projected to double between 2005 and 2030.
Sanofi has been using its newly expanded presence in the Boston area to pioneer a research model that relies more on partnerships with outside innovators and less in-house.
In March, chief executive Christopher A. Viehbacher said the area’s focus on innovation makes it a perfect location to collaborate on drug development with academic researchers and biotech start-ups. Sanofi has made the Boston area its top US research hub.