Novo Nordisk and Combine in research collaboration

Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk and the Swedish university consortium Combine are to collaborate on research into autoimmune diseases.

Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk and the Swedish university consortium Combine are to collaborate on research into autoimmune diseases.

Under the agreement, Novo Nordisk will work with scientists from the six universities (the Karolinska Institute and the universities of Uppsala, Gothenburg, Linkoeping, Lund and Umea) that make up the consortium to develop a better understanding of how the immune system responds in patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.

The aim will be to develop novel therapies for the treatment of such diseases. The collaboration will also try to determine why certain patients do not respond to current treatments and how autoimmune diseases develop over time. It is hoped this will lead to the development of more targeted treatments.

The agreement allows Combine members to test Novo Nordisk preclinical development compounds in patient tissue samples. Combine members routinely collect such samples from patients with autoimmune disease. Blood samples from patients with autoimmune diseases who are being treated with conventional therapies will also be analysed for specific biomarkers to help understand why some patients respond to a particular therapy and why others do not.

The collaboration will run for an initial period of two years and cover three projects. The financial terms of the agreement were not revealed.

"We see this as a unique and innovative way of working with the academic community to help find better ways of treating patients suffering from severe inflammatory diseases," said Terje Kalland, head of Novo Nordisk's Biopharmaceuticals Research Unit.

Companies