Novo Nordisk (Novo) and Aspect Biosystems (Aspect) have announced a partnership to develop a new class of disease-modifying treatments for diabetes and obesity.
In a deal potentially worth up to 2.6bn, the collaboration will utilise Aspect’s proprietary bioprinting technology, as well as Novo’s capabilities in stem cell differentiation and cell therapy development and manufacturing to develop bioprinted tissue therapeutics designed to replace, repair or supplement biological functions inside the body.
Under the terms of the agreement, Novo Nordisk will receive an exclusive, worldwide licence to use Aspect’s bioprinting technology to develop up to four products for the treatment of diabetes, obesity or both.
In exchange, Aspect will receive initial payments of $75m and will also be eligible for up to $650m in milestone payments per product, which could add up to 2.6bn for all four products, as well as tiered royalties on future product sales.
Jacob Sten Petersen, corporate vice president of cell therapy R&D at Novo, said: “Novo Nordisk has built strong capabilities when it comes to producing functional and highly pure therapeutic replacement cells at the highest quality and at scale.
“Collaborating with Aspect Biosystems adds an important component to our strategy to develop comprehensive cell therapy products. We are excited to co-develop solutions for cell therapy delivery that could lead to life-changing treatments for those living with a serious chronic disease.”
The partnership will initially focus on developing bioprinted tissue therapeutics designed to maintain normal blood glucose levels without the need for immunosuppression in patients with type 1 diabetes, the companies said
Tamer Mohamed, chief executive officer of Aspect Biosystems, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Novo Nordisk, a global leader and pioneer in the fight against diabetes and chronic diseases, to create breakthrough therapeutics that could transform the lives of millions of people around the world.”
Earlier this month, Novo’s weight-loss drug was recommended by the European Medicines Agency’s human medicines committee for use in adolescents aged 12 years and older with obesity and a minimum weight of 60kg.
The positive opinion from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) follows the recent approval of semaglutide, also known as Wegovy, in the EU for adults who are either obese or overweight with at least one weight-related health condition.