Novo Nordisk Launches innovation Platform in China

15.03.2019 -

Under the name INNOVO, Danish diabetes giant Novo Nordisk has launched an innovation platform for China in a drive to accelerate the transformation of scientific research into new drugs or improve older drugs by strengthening collaboration.

“We want to share our in-house expertise with local partners to build a new ecosystem nurturing innovation together," said Lars Fogh Iversen, senior vice president of Global Research Technologies at the Danish company.

Since setting up shop in Beijing 25 years ago, Novo Nordisk said it has steadily expanded its local presence, opening a manufacturing plant in Tianjin in 1995 and an R&D center in Beijing in 1997, the first multinational pharmaceutical firm to do so in China.

"As Beijing is intensifying its efforts to build a national sci-tech innovation center, the establishment of INNOVO will drive innovation with our strong alliances in China to achieve win-win outcomes and benefit patients," Iversen said.

Novo Nordisk Research Center in China will operate INNOVO, steering it through cooperation with partners ranging from academic institutions to bio-tech startups and incubators to apply research results more quickly and eventually offer protection from chronic diseases like diabetes, the company said.

Along with diabetes, the platform will focus on drug discoveries related to obesity, cardiovascular diseases, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis and chronic kidney diseases, as well as pursuing innovation in key technological areas such as protein engineering and preparations, oligonucleotide and stem-cell therapy.

Su Jing, president of the Chinese R&D Center, said China’s government “is providing a valuable opportunity for healthcare companies like Novo Nordisk," as part of a bid to expand treatment to a huge patient population with unmet needs in the country.

The drugmaker’s new-generation insulin is now under consideration to be listed under the medical insurance scheme, Su said.  Novo Nordisk cites an estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO) that more than 110 million people in China now live with diabetes, with the number expected to increase to 150 million by 2040.