Novo Nordisk announces partnership with Innate Pharma  

2006.04.10
Denmark's Novo Nordisk has announced a major partnership with French biopharmaceutical company Innate Pharma, to develop new drugs targeting natural killer cells

Denmark's Novo Nordisk has announced a major partnership with French biopharmaceutical company Innate Pharma, to develop new drugs targeting natural killer (NK) cells*, part of the immune system's front line defences. Already a minority shareholder, Novo Nordisk has increased its stake in the French firm to 20% with a EUR 10 m (USD 12.2 m) investment in share equity.

The agreement between the companies is broadly strategic rather than limited to a specific disease area, and the parties will collaborate for at least the next three years. The focus will be on developing antibodies that influence NK cell activity, with the research spotlight chiefly on cancer, autoimmune diseases and infections. Both companies will contribute intellectual property rights, and for its contribution Innate Pharma will receive approx. EUR 25 m (USD 30.5 m) up front, with eligibility for up to EUR 25 m (USD 30.5 m) in total milestone payments per drug candidate.

The new deal provides further evidence of Novo Nordisk's strategic intentions to expand its activities into the oncology and inflammation area, and to make alliances with leading biotech companies. The new move also underscores Novo Nordisk's belief in the promise of NK receptor biology.

*NK cells are part of the innate immune system, making up about 10% of the white blood cells in the circulation. They can kill both malignant and virus-infected cells and form a natural front line defence against invading pathogens – Ed.

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