Novo NordiskKallyope, Inc and Novo Nordisk A/S today announced that they have entered into a research collaboration and option agreement to discover novel peptide therapeutics to treat obesity and diabetes. Kallyope will receive an upfront payment and research support for activities conducted in the collaboration. Under the terms of the agreement, Novo Nordisk has an option to license exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialise up to six products discovered in the collaboration. Kallyope will receive a license fee if Novo Nordisk chooses to exercise an option to a therapeutic discovered and validated in the joint research plan and potential research, development and sales milestones. In addition, Kallyope will receive royalties on worldwide product sales of licensed products.

The gut and the brain are tightly linked via bi-directional communication pathways collectively termed the 'gut-brain axis'. These include released circulating peptides and metabolites, immune factors and direct neuronal innervation. The gut-brain axis is involved in many important aspects of physiology and plays a significant role in appetite regulation and energy homoeostasis.

Kallyope has developed an innovative platform to interrogate the gut-brain axis and discover new medicines in multiple therapeutic areas. The platform integrates single-cell sequencing, bioinformatics, functional and anatomical circuit mapping and organoids. It has enabled the discovery of new biological mechanisms, including multiple potential secreted products from the gut-brain axis that may play a role in metabolism.

Under a joint research plan, Kallyope and Novo Nordisk will collaborate on 'in vitro' and 'in vivo' studies to validate a number of product candidates. Following validation and option exercise, Novo Nordisk will assume responsibility for further preclinical and clinical development, manufacturing and commercialisation.

"Novo Nordisk is renowned for its expertise in the discovery and development of peptide therapeutics, as well as its commitment to and leadership in therapeutics for obesity and diabetes," said Nancy Thornberry, CEO of Kallyope. "Coupling Novo Nordisk's formidable capabilities with Kallyope's unique, sophisticated platform makes for a very attractive strategic collaboration that complements our small molecule focus."

"Novo Nordisk is very excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Kallyope. The company has developed a unique and innovative platform and is led by an outstanding leadership team. In combination with the experience that Novo Nordisk has in the disease biology understanding, peptidomics and peptide production, the projects that we will collaborate on hold potential to make a real difference for people living with diabetes and obesity," said Marcus Schindler, senior vice president, Global Drug Discovery in Novo Nordisk.

About Kallyope Inc.

Kallyope, headquartered at the Alexandria Center® for Life Science in New York City, is a platform biotechnology company dedicated to unlocking the therapeutic potential of the gut-brain axis. A cross-disciplinary team integrates sophisticated technologies in sequencing, bioinformatics, neural imaging, cellular and molecular biology and human genetics to provide an understanding of gut-brain biology that will lead to transformational therapeutics to improve human health. The company's founders are Charles Zuker, Ph.D., Lasker Award winner Tom Maniatis, Ph.D., and Nobel laureate Richard Axel, M.D.

About Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 95 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. This heritage has given us experience and capabilities that also enable us to help people defeat obesity, haemophilia, growth disorders and other serious chronic diseases. Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 42,700 people in 79 countries and markets its products in more than 170 countries.