Denmark-based Novo Nordisk will establish a type I diabetes R&D center in Seattle, Wash.
The unique concept behind the new center is to pursue a translational research approach characterized by combining basic research and early proof-of-concept trials under one umbrella. This will give the new center the necessary scientific foundation to move early-stage discovery projects rapidly from animal models into small clinical exploratory trials in type I diabetes.
"Novo Nordisk has been passionate about helping people fight diabetes since the company was founded, and it is part of our mission to take type I diabetes research to the next level," said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, executive vice president and chief science officer at Novo Nordisk. "With the new type I diabetes R&D center, we hope to accelerate the process of finding new, innovative ways of treating people with this disease. Our vision is to prevent, treat and ultimately cure diabetes."
In the past decade, type II diabetes has been the main focus among diabetes researchers and pharmaceutical companies because of the dramatic rise in the number of people living with the disease. Type I diabetes is a different disease that requires life-saving treatment with insulin. There has been a lack of major scientific progress in this area in recent years.
Matthias von Herrath, M.D., will head the new diabetes research center. A world-renowned researcher in auto-immune diseases, von Herrath received the American Diabetes Association Outstanding Achievement Award in 2008.
Von Herrath currently is director of the Center for Type I Diabetes Research at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. He will continue to hold a part-time faculty position there. Von Herrath also serves as president of both the Immunology of Diabetes Society (IDS) and the Clinical Immunology Society (CIS).
The Novo Nordisk Type I Diabetes R&D Center is expected to open this summer, staffed by approximately 20 researchers who will be supported by corporate functions in the U.S. and Denmark. The new center will be located on the same premises as the Novo Nordisk Inflammation Research Center in Seattle.
Globally, approximately 6,000 employees are involved in R&D activities at Novo Nordisk, at its research facilities in Malov, Denmark, Beijing, China and Seattle.