type 2 diabetes

Researchers from the University of Oxford and Novo Nordisk are collaborating to develop better treatments for type 2 diabetes

Together with the University of Oxford, Novo Nordisk is taking its commitment to treat and eventually alter the course of diabetes forward by forming a strategic alliance and establishing the new Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford (NNRCO). Type 2 diabetes affects around 3.5 million people in Britain today, accounting for approximately 90% of all diabetes cases. Worldwide, diabetes is the world’s fastest-growing chronic disease, fuelled by the global obesity epidemic.

A serious commitment building on 20 years of partnership

This strategic alliance builds on more than 20 years of fruitful cross-fertilisation between the University of Oxford and Novo Nordisk, the world’s leading diabetes care company. In 1999, funding from Novo Nordisk contributed to the establishment of the Oxford Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (OCDEM) and in 2013, the Novo Nordisk Fellowship Programme was launched. The programme is one of the company’s largest external fellowship investments, currently funding up to 32 postdoctoral and clinical research training fellows at the University of Oxford. It will deliver a cohort of young diabetes researchers with the skills to work across the academia-industry interface and accelerate the delivery of new medicines.

The vision for the research alliance is set by a joint steering committee, with members from the University of Oxford and Novo Nordisk, whose aim is to build successful partnerships with fruitful outcomes.

New research centre to open on University of Oxford campus

In mid-September 2018 the new building for the NNRCO will be inaugurated and provide space for cutting-edge research and technology. The new centre will be near several university departments and units, including the Big Data Institute and OCDEM. Novo Nordisk researchers and post docs will work there, providing a significant new resource to find solutions and innovative treatments for the care of type 2 diabetes.

A focus on translational research for type 2 diabetes and its complications

The collaboration between the University of Oxford and Novo Nordisk is an innovative one, focusing on the translation of early-stage research that has the potential to substantially impact future treatment of type 2 diabetes. The strategic alliance has a bold aim to incorporate the best practices of pharma with the cutting-edge research being undertaken at the University of Oxford. A multi-disciplinary team of scientists will combine industry expertise with Oxford’s existing strength in diabetes and metabolism research.

The new centre also presents a terrific opportunity for researchers in the Novo Nordisk Oxford fellowship scheme to enjoy rich and regular engagement with Novo Nordisk team, maximising their scientific learning and understanding of how the pharma industry works.

Funding model to fuel the creation of projects

To kick-start collaborative research between the University of Oxford and Novo Nordisk researchers, funds are available to support pump priming awards to drive the creation of collaborative ideas. Pump-priming awards reflect the partnership’s aim not only to discover new and exciting avenues of research, but also to initiate work on collaborative ideas early in development.

Once the NNRCO is established, it is the ambition to share translation expertises in human-centric and state-of-the-art cellular and molecular tools. This includes image based high-throughput screening, stem cell models, single-cell genomics, bioinformatics and mass spectrometry, to name a few of the technologies which will be housed in the new centre.

Proven partnership model

Projects, spanning genetics, advanced imaging and in-vitro cellular modelling, have been funded, enabling researchers from both institutes to work on potential collaborative ideas.

The extensive skills and experience of the outstanding scientists working in this collaboration create a unique opportunity for knowledge and technology-sharing and development. For example, Novo Nordisk scientists will share their experience in early translational discovery and drug development through a series of lectures open to all. This is, besides the research, a crucial element and core strength of the partnership.

Please note: this is a commercial profile


Anette Spahn Klausen

Communications Partner

Novo Nordisk



Artist impression by MAKE architects of the Novo Nordisk Research Centre to open on the University of Oxford Campus. Due for completion mid September 2018


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