Danish healthcare company Novo Nordisk and the Swedish university consortium Combine have announced a two year research collaboration with a view to developing novel medicines for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), reports national daily newspaper Berlingske Tidende.
The collaborative effort will aim to develop a better understanding of immune system responses and try to discover why certain patients do not respond to current treatments. It is hoped this can lead to the development of more targeted treatments, which can be used to treat particular groups of patients.
Terje Kalland, head of Novo Nordisk’s Biopharmaceuticals Research Unit, says in a press release on the company's website: “We see this as a unique and innovative way of working with the academic community to help find better ways of treating patients suffering from severe inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.”
The agreement allows Combine members to test Novo Nordisk preclinical development compounds in patient tissue samples. Additionally, blood samples from patients will be analysed to help understand why some patients respond to a particular therapy while others do not.
Lars Klareskog, project coordinator at Combine, commented in the press release: “This collaboration has great potential for drug development for major diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and as a model for collaboration between the academic community, clinical care and the pharmaceutical industry.”
Headquartered in the Copenhagen suburb of Bagsværd, Novo Nordisk is world leader in diabetes care. The company also has strong market positions in haemostasis management, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy. Novo Nordisk employs approximately 29,000 employees in 81 countries, and markets its products in 179 countries.