Embark and Novo Nordisk enter collaboration to discover novel therapeutics for obesity and metabolic disease

Novo NordiskEmbark Biotech ApS and Novo Nordisk A/S have entered into a research collaboration focusing on the discovery of novel treatments for obesity and its associated metabolic pathologies through mechanisms that increase energy expenditure.

The research platform of Embark Biotech, a recent spin-out from Center for Basic Metabolic Research at University of Copenhagen, builds on novel and unique insights into receptors that stimulate energy expenditure without triggering the sympathetic nervous system (the 'fight-or-flight' response). The aim of the collaboration is to develop novel drug candidates that help people with obesity lose weight by burning off excess energy instead of storing it as fat. The potential addition of energy expenditure drugs would make a meaningful difference in the treatment of obesity.

The work behind the research platform and the spin-out of Embark Biotech has been supported by Novo Seeds and the Novo Nordisk Foundation since 2016.

"The present project builds on the frontline insight into energy expenditure of the group of Zach Gerhart-Hines, who we recruited from the US to Center for Basic Metabolic Research just few years ago. Zach's group has fully exploited the special knowledge we have in cell surface receptor pharmacology to generate several innovative drug discovery projects, and we see the research collaboration with Novo Nordisk, a global leader within obesity care, as the optimal way of developing the technology to ultimately benefit the patients," says Thue W. Schwartz, professor at Center for Basic Metabolic Research and co-founder of Embark.

As part of the collaboration agreement, Embark will receive research support for activities conducted in the collaboration, and Novo Nordisk has an option to license exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialise products discovered in the collaboration.

"We are excited to get started on this project which aims at developing next- generation anti-obesity therapies" says Marcus Schindler, senior vice president of Global Drug Discovery in Novo Nordisk. "There is a huge unmet medical need for treatment of obesity. While more than 650 million people are currently living with obesity[1], it is rarely acknowledged, diagnosed or treated as a serious chronic and complex disease. We believe that Novo Nordisk and Embark together have both the capability and capacity to explore this new mechanism of action."

About Embark

Embark Biotech ApS is a spin-out platform biotech company from University of Copenhagen, dedicated to deciphering the therapeutic potential of energy expenditure. The academic founders include Professor Thue W Schwartz, Associate Professor Zach Gerhart-Hines, Postdoc Jakob Bondo Hansen and CEO, Casper Tind Hansen.

The research platform and spin-out of Embark Biotech has been supported by exploratory pre-seed and pre-seed grants from Novo Seeds administered on behalf of the Novo Nordisk Foundation and by starting grants from the European Research Council (ERC) and the Danish Council for Independent Research, as well as proof-of-concept grants from the European Research Council and the University of Copenhagen Tech Transfer Office.

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 43,200 people in 79 countries and markets its products in more than 170 countries.

1. NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC). Lancet 2017:390;2627-42

Most Popular Now

Scientists uncover SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell immu…

The study by scientists from Duke-NUS Medical School, in close collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, Singapore Ge...

Common FDA-approved drug may effectively neutraliz…

A common drug, already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), may also be a powerful tool in fighting COVID-19, according to research published this week in ...

Neutralizing antibodies isolated from COVID-19 pat…

Researchers at Columbia University Irving Medical Center have isolated antibodies from several COVID-19 patients that, to date, are among the most potent in neutralizing ...

Another mRNA-based vaccine candidate protects anim…

An experimental messenger RNA (mRNA)-based vaccine against severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) elicits protective immune responses in mice and no...

GSK and CureVac announce strategic mRNA technology…

GlaxoSmithKline plc (LSE/NYSE: GSK) and CureVac announced the signing of a strategic collaboration agreement for the research, development, manufacturing and commercialis...

Pfizer and BioNTech granted FDA Fast Track designa…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX, "BioNTech") announced that two of the companies' four investigational vaccine candidates from their BNT162 mRNA-bas...

Novartis launches first-of-its-kind not-for-profit…

Novartis announced a new initiative to help patients in low-income and lower-middle-income countries (LIC; LMIC) access affordable medicines to treat the major symptoms o...

COVID-19 vaccine AZD1222 showed robust immune resp…

Interim results from the ongoing Phase I/II COV001 trial, led by Oxford University, showed AZD1222 was tolerated and generated robust immune responses against the SARS-Co...

Pfizer and BioNTech announce an agreement with U.S…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) announced the execution of an agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of...

Pfizer and BioNTech choose lead mRNA vaccine candi…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) announced the start of a global (except for China) Phase 2/3 safety and efficacy clinical study to evaluate a singl...

Experimental COVID-19 vaccine protects upper and l…

Two doses of an experimental vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) induced robust immune responses and rapidly controlled the coronavirus in the upper an...

Pfizer and BioNTech announce agreement with the Un…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) announced an agreement with the United Kingdom to supply 30 million doses of their BNT162 mRNA-based vaccine candid...