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Novo and Oxford University collaborate in research and development partnership for type 2 diabetes

novo_logoNovo Nordisk and Oxford University have struck a type 2 diabetes research partnership that will see the pharma company invest £115 million in a research base in the city.

The partnership will allow scientists from the two organisations to collaborate on discovering innovative treatments for type 2 diabetes.

Novo is also investing in a new research centre at Oxford University, which will employ up to 100 researchers.

The total investment from Novo Nordisk is expected to be around £115 million over 10 years.

The announcement is positive news for the UK government, as the investment reinforces confidence in the UK despite recent Brexit news.

Speaking to the BBC, Novo Nordisk’s executive vice-president and chief science officer Mads Thomsen said the Brexit vote made the firm pause for thought, however they then decided to take the long view.

oxford_uni_logo“Obviously, we think the Brexit decision was unfortunate. That being said, Oxford University has been around for 800 years so the academic excellence and our company’s ability to turn that into medicines hasn’t really changed,” he told the BBC .

The centre will focus on innovation within early stage research that has the potential to impact future treatment of type 2 diabetes and its complications.

The partnership builds on an existing collaboration between the two organisations – in 2013 they began working on an international postdoctoral fellowship programme. Which was then extended in 2015 and will include up to 32 fellows.

Novo announced at the end of last year that it had suffered an R&D setback, shelving an “insulin pill” because it would have been too expensive to manufacture.

In the nearer term, Novo has high hopes for its weekly injection, semaglutide, a successor to its GLP-1 drug Victoza, which is under review in the US and Europe and could launch this year. According to EP Vantage, sales could be as high as $2.2 billion by 2022.

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