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May 18, 2018

Novo Nordisk bolsters focus on stem cell-based therapies

Novo Nordisk has announced an increased commitment to stem cell therapies and an expansion into other serious chronic diseases beyond type 1 diabetes.

Novo Nordisk has announced an increased commitment to stem cell therapies and an expansion into other serious chronic diseases beyond type 1 diabetes.

This comes after Novo Nordisk achieved a milestone in developing human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines under its partnership with the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).

Under the deal, the company has licensed technology designed to generate hESC lines and has the right to advance them into regenerative medicine therapies.

Earlier this month, Novo Nordisk and UCSF achieved a milestone upon opening a good manufacturing practice laboratory at the university.

The university and the company will jointly work at the facility to derive quality cell lines to be used in stem cell therapies.

The development of stem cell lines with UCSF has allowed the company to foray into areas of other serious chronic diseases.

“Our collaboration with UCSF is also expected to accelerate current and future partnerships to develop stem cell-based therapies for treatment of other serious chronic diseases.”

Novo Nordisk executive vice-president and chief science officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen said: “Finding a cure for diabetes is part of Novo Nordisk’s vision and recent progress in our stem cell research and the access to robust and high-quality cell lines raises hopes for people with type 1 diabetes.

“Our collaboration with UCSF is also expected to accelerate current and future partnerships to develop stem cell-based therapies for treatment of other serious chronic diseases.”

Research by Novo Nordisk on the differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into insulin-producing beta cells has achieved preclinical proof-of-concept.

The company is also working with Cornell University to develop an encapsulation device to protect beta cells transplanted into patients against attack from the immune system.

Novo Nordisk has already launched operations under its alliances with Biolamina and Lund University to develop stem cell-based therapies for Parkinson’s disease.

A separate collaboration with Biolamina and the DUKE National University Singapore Medical School is focussing on chronic heart failure and age-related macular degeneration.

The company intends to form additional partnerships to develop other disease treatments.

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