Danish Novo Nordisk and BRI collaborate  

to speed-up translational research


Novo Nordisk, a global health care company headquartered in Denmark and Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI), a non-profit biomedical research institute in Seattle, US, announced a three-year collaborative agreement to potentially speed-up translational research of the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease and lupus.

The agreement establishes how Novo Nordisk and BRI research scientists and BRI clinicians will collaboratively develop studies to better understand changes in the immune systems of patients living with these autoimmune diseases. The intent is to develop better therapies and improve how these treatments are used.

“Translational research” describes a research approach that seeks to move discoveries made in laboratory, clinical or population studies more quickly into clinical care.  In this specific agreement, BRI scientists and Novo Nordisk researchers at the company’s Seattle research center will work together to study samples and data registered in BRI’s biobank of patients with these diseases, as well people with no history of autoimmune disorders.  The personal information of these patients will not be disclosed.

“This is the first time we have established a collaborative agreement like this and we’re pleased to be working so closely with Novo Nordisk to integrate scientific discovery, the development of diagnostic and treatment solutions and their clinical application,” says BRI Associate Director Jane Buckner, MD, a practicing rheumatologist and leader of the Kenneth R. Wilske Center for Translational Research at Virginia Mason in a press release.  “We anticipate that this will accelerate as never before our ability to better understand, diagnose and treat these illnesses.”

“Improving patient care through innovation is at the heart of our company culture and this agreement represents one way that we can work together with the larger health care research community to achieve this objective,” says Per Falk, Senior Vice President, Biopharmaceuticals Research Unit, Novo Nordisk.  “We’re pleased to be working closely with the Seattle scientific community, which is sharing its best and brightest with us in an effort to bring new medicines for patients.”

In the United States alone as many as 1.5 million people suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease, and more than one-half million people suffer from lupus.

A biobank, or biorepository, consists of the fresh and frozen blood and serum samples and medical and demographic information collected from people with a specific disease or condition. BRI actively maintains biorepositories for eleven different autoimmune disorders and immune mediated diseases including multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, inflammatory bowel disease, allergy, asthma, lung disease and transplant recipients. BRI also maintains a registry of healthy people for comparison purposes.

New Danish Biobank one of the world’s largest

Over the years the Danish society has invested huge sums in building up a range of national registers containing information about all residents in Denmark, and has routinely collected biological material from a large number of individuals through the public health care system.

These data are now used for a national Danish biobank that gives scientists from Denmark and abroad overview and access to more than 15 million biological samples in both existing and future collections.

Scientists will have the possibility to link information about biological samples from individuals with the large amount of information contained in Danish administrative registries. The Danish National Biobank will become one of the world’s largest biobanks and a unique resource for Danish as well as international researchers. 

Read more about the new Danish biobank and Danish biotech opportunities.

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Tine Hartmann Nielsen

Tine Hartmann Nielsen

+45 3392 1350


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