Eleven Therapeutics and Novo Nordisk have announced a research partnership to identify novel nucleic acid molecules to treat cardiometabolic diseases by leveraging Eleven’s DELiveri platform.

DELiveri uses machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) in combination with DNA-encoded libraries (DELs) to find conjugates that can transport therapeutic molecules. The partnership allows Novo Nordisk exclusive rights to specific cell types and applications developed using the DELiveri platform in a staged approach.

In the ongoing competition between pharma companies vying for a spot in the obesity and metabolic disorders drug landscape, Novo Nordisk has established itself as a formidable opponent. The company’s Wegovy (semaglutide injection), a GLP-1 receptor agonist is a leading drug approved for chronic weight management in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and exercise.

Nucleic acid therapeutics is an emerging pharmaceutical area, with GlobalData reporting the filling of more than 633,000 patents listing nucleic acid active pharmaceutical ingredients in the last three years. The field exploded with the approval and success of Covid-19 mRNA vaccines.

GlobalData is the parent company of Pharmaceutical Technology.

“Our research collaboration with Eleven Therapeutics builds on Novo Nordisk’s commitment to advancing precision medicine and opens up the opportunity to learn from one another as we explore novel cell-specific targeting strategies,” said Uli Stilz, Head of Novo Nordisk’s Bio Innovation Hub in Boston, US, in a press release. The collaboration will focus on developing treatments for cardiometabolic diseases.

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In September 2022, Novo Nordisk signed a strategic partnership with Microsoft to utilise big data and AI to facilitate drug discovery and development. Multiple companies have since signed partnerships to leverage AI to expedite drug discovery. GlobalData forecasts the AI platform market for the healthcare industry to hit $4.3bn by 2024, which includes drug discovery, sales, and optimisation of clinical trials.

This deal is part of a series of investments made this year by Novo Nordisk, including an expansion of its manufacturing facilities in Hillerød, Denmark, and a partnership with Aspect Biosystems to develop bio-printed pancreatic tissue therapies for diabetes.