Novo NordiskNovo Nordisk has announced that the company will establish a new obesity research unit in Seattle, Washington, in the US. The new unit is a result of Novo Nordisk's increasing focus on treatment of obesity. Its main task will be to identify novel approaches and targets for obesity treatments while increasing the scientific understanding of existing obesity targets.

"Our ambition is to drive scientific progress in the obesity disease area and through this identify and develop new treatment options for people with obesity," said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, executive vice president and chief science officer at Novo Nordisk.

Dr Kevin Grove has accepted the position as head of the Novo Nordisk Obesity Research Unit in Seattle. Grove is a renowned expert in endocrinology specialising in obesity and health-related quality of life, and joins Novo Nordisk from a position as senior scientist at the Oregon Health & Science University, and founding division chief, Division of Diabetes, Obesity & Metabolism.

"I'm looking forward to leading the Novo Nordisk Obesity Research Unit in Seattle and gather a team of preeminent researchers within the obesity and endocrinology field. We have a real opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the management of this disease that impacts so many people globally," said Dr Kevin Grove.

The Novo Nordisk Obesity Research Unit will initially employ around 10 people, supported by the current obesity research and corporate functions. When fully operational by the end of 2016, the unit is expected to employ around 60 employees. Globally, around 300 employees are working within obesity research and development at Novo Nordisk.

The Obesity Research Unit will be co-located with the Novo Nordisk Type 1 Diabetes Research Unit at the company's research centre in Seattle, which opened in 2009.

About Obesity
Obesity is a disease[1] that requires chronic management. It is associated with serious comorbidities including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), certain types of cancer and a decreased life expectancy[2-4]. The risk of morbidity and mortality increases with the severity of obesity. It is a complex and multi-factorial disease that is influenced by genetic, physiological, environmental and psychological factors[5].

The global increase in the prevalence of obesity is a public health issue that has severe cost implications to healthcare systems. In the US, approximately 35% of adults, or some 100 million people, live with obesity[6].

About Novo Nordisk
Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with more than 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. The company also has leading positions within haemophilia care, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy. Novo Nordisk employs approximately 40,700 employees in 75 countries, and markets its products in more than 180 countries.

1. American Medical Association, (AMA). Declaration to classify obesity as a disease. Annual Meeting Report. 19 June 2013.
2. WHO. Obesity and Overweight Factsheet no. 311. Available at:
3. Gami AS, Caples SM, Somers VK. Obesity and obstructive sleep apnea. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics of North America. 2003; 32:869-894.
4. Guh DP, Zhang W, Bansback N, et al. The incidence of co-morbidities related to obesity and overweight: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Public Health. 2009; 9:88.
5. Wright SM, Aronne LJ. Causes of obesity. Abdominal Imaging. 2012; 37:730-732.
6. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Kit BK, et al. Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. JAMA. 2014; 311:806-814.