Novo Nordisk, University of Oxford Partnership Created to Advance Diabetes Research

A new partnership between academia and pharmaceutical industries aims to improve diabetes treatment.

The University of Oxford and Novo Nordisk recently announced the launch of a novel partnership to further type 2 diabetes research.

Under the collaboration, scientists from both organizations will be able to work together to find new treatment approaches for patients with diabetes, according to a press release.

Additionally, Novo Nordisk will be investing in a new research center at the university to facilitate increased collaboration between the 2 institutions’ scientists. The new center will employ 100 Novo Nordisk researchers, and will cost approximately 115 million British pounds ($143,497,000 US dollars) over 10 years.

Specifically, the investigators working at the center will conduct innovative early stage research that may change the future of type 2 diabetes treatments, the university reported.

“This collaboration brings together some of the world’s sharpest minds in the field of diabetes to seek new targets for therapeutic innovation. It combines Novo Nordisk’s 90 years’ experience in developing treatments for diabetes with the expertise of world leading scientists from the University of Oxford,” said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, PhD, chief science officer and executive vice president of Novo Nordisk. “Our vision is that the unique combination of industrial and academic know-how will eventually lead to a new generation of treatments to improve the lives of people with type 2 diabetes.”

The pharmaceutical-academic partnership seeks to improve diabetes research through the collaboration between investigators from 2 different backgrounds, who may provide each other with new information and strategies.

“We see the collaboration with Novo Nordisk as an outstanding opportunity to mix competence embedded at our campus with Novo Nordisk’s groundbreaking research and results in diabetes. This collaboration underlines the importance of shared research and cutting-edge science across boundaries,” said Sir John Bell, Regius professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford. “Employees at Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford and researchers at the University of Oxford will have the opportunity for daily interaction to share knowledge and insights that will potentially produce new medicines for people living with type 2 diabetes and its complications.”

The new partnership builds upon a previous collaboration that was initially created in 2013, according to the press release.

Partnerships between academic institutions and pharmaceutical companies are increasingly popular, and may lead to novel treatments and strategies only possible through cross-institutional collaborations.

James D. Johnson, PhD, world-renowned diabetes researcher and professor at the university, has been chosen to run the new research center, Oxford reported.

“I welcome Novo Nordisk’s investment at Oxford University, which is a vote of confidence in the UK’s position as a world-leader in science and research,” said David Gauke, chief secretary to the Treasury. “A thriving science and technology sector is key to supporting economic growth, and the government has committed to support further research and innovation in all sectors with an additional £4.7 billion R&D spending by 2020-21.”