BEAt-DKD - An IMI project for precision medicine in diabetic kidney disease

BEAt-DKD (“Biomarker Enterprise to Attack Diabetic Kidney Disease”), a unique public private partnership, has announced the launch of a 5-year project with the aim to improve prevention and management of Diabetes Kidney Disease (DKD). University of Helsinki is one of the coordinating organisations for this project.

BEAt-DKD is funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), member companies from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the state of Switzerland. The total budget of the project is 28.9 Million Euro.

Leading experts from 21 academic institutions, six EFPIA pharmaceutical companies, one biotechnology company and JDRF launched BEAt-DKD to provide a holistic systems medicine view of the pathogenesis and heterogeneity of DKD, with the goal to identify targetable mechanisms and pathways underlying initiation and progression of DKD, as well as to identify and validate biomarkers of disease progression and treatment.

The BEAt-DKD team is committed to deliver better stratification of patients and more effective tools for use in innovative clinical trials, resulting in improved prevention and management of DKD, i.e. steps towards precision medicine. Results from this project are expected to translate into patient benefits and decreased societal costs associated with DKD.

"I am excited about BEAt-DKD, the largest ever funding granted for diabetic kidney disease and its novel biomarkers. This success acknowledges the global leadership and systematics in building Finnish diabetes and kidney research over the years. The program joins together best international research teams of the field and, importantly, the Big Pharma companies, with their firm commitment for further investments at all levels of drug development. Together this provides an unforeseen springboard for further successes", states Harry Holthöfer, vice-coordinator of the program, from the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland FIMM at the University of Helsinki.

The number of DKD patients is increasing in Finland


"Traditionally, diabetes has been grouped into two broad categories, type 1 and type 2 diabetes. We are, however, convinced that there are many more subgroups and that better stratification helps in identifying the patients at high risk for DKD. We will bring our expertise and the latest technical solutions in this area to the project”, said FiDiPro Professor Leif Groop, leader of one of the work packages.

Diabetic kidney disease is the most common form of chronic kidney disease, which at present affects more than 10% of the world population. DKD has reached epidemic dimensions and is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease.

“In Finland, the prevalence of diabetes in general is very high. Thus also DKD, affecting about one-third of the patients, is of great importance and remains a large unmet medical need. Maintaining tight glycemic control decreases the risk for DKD but presently there are no means to effectively prevent or cure the disease”, said Professor Per-Henrik Groop from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Helsinki.

BEAt-DKD participants are Lunds universitet, University of Helsinki, Academisch Ziekenhuis Groningen (University Medical Center Groningen), University of Oxford, University of Eastern Finland, University of Dundee, University of Exeter, Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, University of Turku, Universitätsklinikum Freiburg, University of Bristol, University of Leeds, University of Hull, CHU Hopitaux de Bordeaux, University Clinic Erlangen, Medizinische Universität Innsbruck, Klinikum der Universität Regensburg,  Medizinische Universität Wien, Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro, Lipotype, University of Michigan, Swiss Institute of Bioinformatics, JDRF International, AbbVie, Sanofi-Aventis, Astellas, Eli Lilly and Company, Bayer and Novo Nordisk.

From the University of Helsinki, researchers from the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland FIMM and the Faculty of Medicine are participating in the project. FIMM is one the operational units of the recently established Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE).

About IMI:

The Innovative Medicines Initiative is Europe’s largest public-private initiative aiming to improve health by speeding up the development of, and patient access to, innovative medicines, particularly in areas where there is an unmet medical or social need. It does this by facilitating collaboration between the key players involved in healthcare research, including universities, the pharmaceutical and other industries, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), patient organisations, and medicines regulators. IMI is a partnership between the European Union (represented by the European Commission) and the European pharmaceutical industry (represented by EFPIA, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations).


More information:


Professor Harry Holthöfer

Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland FIMM

Phone: +38 40 557 4525



Project Coordinator: Prof. Maria Gomez, Lund University Diabetes Centre


Phone: +46 40 39 10 58