Medtronic Inc.’s diabetes division in Northridge is partnering with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the Helmsley Charitable Trust (HCT) to advance the development of artificial pancreas systems.

The partners hope to accelerate the development of Medtronic’s sensor system which combines two sensing technologies in one device. The effort was awarded further support from the JDRF-Helmsley Charitable Trust collaboration’s Sensor Initiative, which was launched three years to accelerate the development and delivery of more accurate and reliable continuous glucose sensors—key to the artificial pancreas system. The three-year partnership is contributing up to $17 million to the development effort and depends on Medtronic’s ability to meet certain milestones.

Medtronic’s diabetes unit in Northridge has been working on the development of improved CGM devices to help control Type 1 diabetes. Medtronic has said it is probably five years from having a system that provides continuous, accurate monitoring and a fully automatic insulin pump that works in conjunction with it.

“Accurate and reliable sensor technology has long been identified as a necessity for the realization of an artificial pancreas,” Jeffrey Brewer, president and CEO of JDRF said in a prepared statement. “We are excited to bring our long-standing partnership with Medtronic to a new level through this Sensor Initiative, which could improve the outcomes of people with diabetes.”

“Today marks another great milestone in our partnership with the JDRF in collaboration with the Helmsley Charitable Trust,” Katie Szyman, president of the diabetes business of Medtronic said in a statement. “We are also excited to unveil the optical based glucose sensing technology we acquired several years ago. Advancing sensor accuracy and reliability is core to both organizations’ missions to enable people with diabetes to live longer, healthier lives.”

JDRF is the largest charitable supporter of type 1 diabetes research, with $1.5 billion donated to the effort since the organization’s founding.

Judy Temes