Novo Nordisk has initiated a research collaboration with the Langer Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for what is hoped to be the next generation of drug delivery devices for the administration of peptides.
The aim of the research collaboration, which is conducted at both MIT in Boston and at Novo Nordisk's research facilities in Måløv and Hillerød, Denmark, is to develop the next generation of drug delivery devices as an alternative to parenteral or injection-based delivery of peptides.
Professor Robert Langer's laboratory are experienced in creating new approaches for delivering drugs such as peptides and proteins across complex barriers in the body such as the blood-brain barrier, the intestine, the lung and the skin. Together with Dr. Giovanni Traverso, a gastroenterologist and biomedical engineer at Harvard Medical School, and research affiliate of MIT, they will lead a team in the development of a platform enabling the oral delivery of peptides.
There are many challenges of developing and producing a reliable peptide delivery vehicle. They include avoiding premature degradation in the body, overcoming poor peptide transport over epithelial barriers, limiting variability of absorption (caused, for example, by interaction with food in the stomach), and producing both peptide and the delivery vehicle in sufficient scale and numbers cost-effectively. If these challenges can be overcome, as recent research suggests, drug delivery devices hold great therapeutic promise for a plethora of diseases where patients need to take frequent injections.
The collaboration will establish a number of research positions to be hosted by the Langer Laboratory and funded by Novo Nordisk. The initial term of the collaboration is three years with the option to extend for up to three additional years.