To address the underlying autoimmune process that is central to type 1 diabetes, JDRF in the USA and Novo Nordisk are partnering to discover and develop novel immunotherapies to prevent, treat, and help cure the disease. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the glucose-responsive, insulin-secreting beta cells of the pancreas, resulting in a lifetime requirement of insulin replacement therapy. The collaboration between JDRF and Novo Nordisk will focus on research originating from academia, biotechnology companies and from internal research projects at Novo Nordisk.
Dr Richard Insel, JDRF’s chief scientific officer, says, “JDRF is deeply committed to developing immunotherapies and especially auto antigen-specific immunotherapies for prevention and cure of type 1 diabetes. This collaboration with Novo Nordisk affords an exciting opportunity to accelerate the timeframe when these therapies may prove to make an impact in type 1 diabetes.”
The collaboration with Novo Nordisk will be run out of the company’s newly opened Type 1 Diabetes R&D Center in Seattle. The Center, led by Dr Matthias von Herrath plans to employ 20 immunotherapy researchers working in Seattle supported by corporate R&D functions in Princeton, NJ and Denmark. The Center’s goal is to use translational research methods to rapidly move early-stage discovery projects in immunotherapy from animal models into small clinical exploratory trials in type 1 diabetes.
Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, executive vice president and chief science officer at Novo Nordisk comments, “It is not a coincidence that we are opening our new Type 1 Diabetes Research and Development Center in Seattle at that same time that we announce a scientific partnership between our company and the JDRF. Our new R&D Center is founded on the principle of reaching out to academia, biotechnology companies and other key players in the international immunotherapy research community in order to join forces to develop the next treatment advance in the management of type 1 diabetes. At Novo Nordisk, our vision is to prevent, treat and ultimately cure diabetes, and every collaboration down that path brings us closer to that goal.”