"Finding a cure for diabetes is part of Novo Nordiskâs vision. Today's agreement is an important first step in achieving our goal of developing a cure for type 1 diabetes. The collaboration brings together a highly talented team in stem cell research, which provides an excellent building block to develop potential treatments," said Senior Vice President for Diabetes Research in Novo Nordisk, Peter Kurtzhals.
Under the terms of the agreement Novo Nordisk acquires the exclusive rights to further develop and commercialise potential products for the treatment of diabetes, while Cellartis acquires the exclusive rights to further develop and commercialise certain other products resulting from the technologies developed under the collaboration.
The collaborative agreement builds on a long-standing research collaboration between Cellartis, Professor Henrik Semb and Hagedorn Research Institute, Novo Nordiskâs basic research centre in Denmark. To date, the collaboration between the three parties has focused on understanding how the formation of insulin-producing cells during embryonic development can be mimicked by directing stem cells in culture.
The collaborative agreement now takes these developmental and stem cell biology research activities a step further. The aim is to generate new knowledge about how to 'program' stem cells to turn into insulin-producing beta cells that can be used for the treatment of diabetes.
"This very important collaboration will strengthen the stem cell research in diabetes at the Lund University Stem Cell Center. I can think of no stronger partner in the area of diabetes than Novo Nordisk," said Professor Henrik Semb, director of Lund University Stem Cell Center and co-founder of Cellartis.
"We are delighted that Novo Nordisk has chosen to collaborate with Cellartis in the area of stem cell therapy. It clearly demonstrates that our human embryonic stem cell platform has the potential to achieve clinical breakthroughs in the future. We are particularly proud that the collaboration will enable us to participate in the differentiation of our stem cells towards beta cells using Cellartis' sophisticated technologies. The collaboration will be a positive influence on our operations at both the Scottish/UK and the Swedish sites," said CEO of Cellartis, Mats Lundwall, when the agreement was announced.
Cellartis will receive a technology access fee as well as potential development and sales milestones of more than 100 million euros. If a product is successfully commercialised, Cellartis will receive royalties on worldwide sales of any diabetes care product developed under the collaboration. In addition, Cellartis and Professor Henrik Semb will receive financial funding from Novo Nordisk for the joint research programme. Further financial terms of the agreement will not be disclosed.
Cellartis AB is a premier provider of human embryonic stem cell (hES) derived products and technologies which will drive unprecedented innovation in drug discovery and regenerative medicine today and in the future. Today, alongside fully characterised, ethically derived human embryonic stem cell lines, the company offers custom prepared human cardiomyocytes and mesenchymal progenitors derived from hES cells along with stem cell antibodies and tools. Cellartis is engaged in programmes for the production of homogenous populations of hepatocytes suitable for use as bio-tools in industrial applications. In addition, Cellartis has built the world's first large-volume automated production facility for human ES cells and can provide human ES cells for screening campaigns. The company was founded in 2001, has over 50 employees and is located in Gothenburg, Sweden and Dundee, Scotland/UK. For more information, please visit www.cellartis.com.
About Lund University
Lund University was founded in 1666. With eight faculties and a multitude of research centres and specialised institutes, it is today one of the largest units for research and higher education in Sweden and Scandinavia. At Lund University a European cultural tradition going back hundreds of years lives side by side with dynamic developments in education and research for the benefit of society, today and tomorrow. Our university has all the advantages of a wide academic range and highly-qualified staff. We offer a rich and diverse academic environment with creative links between students and teachers, international cutting-edge researchers and between university and community.
About Hagedorn Research Institute
HRI is fully owned by Novo Nordisk A/S - a world leader in insulin-based diabetes therapy. HRI functions as an independent research unit within its mission to find a cure for diabetes and its complications. The research at HRI is characterised by internationally oriented collaborative networks with an increasing share of its support as competitive funding coming from external international grant agencies (JDRF, NIH and EU). The success in obtaining competitive external funding ensures not only international peer review of research projects but also strategic international contacts of scientific interaction and collaboration.
About Novo Nordisk
Novo Nordisk is a healthcare company and a world leader in diabetes care. In addition, Novo Nordisk has a leading position within areas such as haemostasis management, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy. Novo Nordisk manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products and services that make a significant difference to patients, the medical profession and society. With headquarters in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 26,550 employees in 80 countries, and markets its products in 179 countries. Novo Nordisk's B shares are listed on the stock exchanges in Copenhagen and London. Its ADRs are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol 'NVO'. For more information, visit www.novonordisk.com.