Novo Nordisk likely to offer stem cell therapy for diabetes treatment

Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk A/S is known to be the world leader in diabetes. Now in their hunt for diabetes drug, the company is trying to take the help of stem cell research.In this effort, they have launched a new collaboration to develop a treatment for type 1 diabetes by programing stem cells to turn into insulin-producing cells.

Until now, drugmakers have been wary about the early-stage nature of much stem cell research and anxious about controversy surrounding the use of cells derived from embryos.But Novo and its partners now believe the technology has advanced to a stage where it may be possible to develop a cell therapy for treating insulin-dependent diabetes and, in the longer term, a cure.

Under the terms of the agreement Novo will have exclusive rights to develop and commercialize potential diabetes treatments, while Cellartis has rights to certain other products.

Cellartis, which specializes in human embryonic stem cells, will get a technology access fee as well as potential development and sales milestones of more than 100 million euros ($129 million).It will also receive royalties on eventual worldwide sales of any diabetes care products resulting from the collaboration, plus funding from Novo Nordisk for the joint research program.

In a statement, Peter Kurtzhals, senior vice president for Diabetes Research at Novo Nordisk, said,

“Finding a cure for diabetes is part of Novo Nordisk’s vision. Today’s agreement is an important first step in achieving our goal.”

The collaboration builds on existing work between the partners but takes it a significant step further by trying to program stem cells to turn into insulin-producing beta cells that can be used for the treatment of diabetes.

Source: Reuters

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