Novo Nordisk, Oxford University seeking inflammation markers

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune inflammatory disease where the body attacks its own tissues. There are treatments, but these aren't effective in all patients, and a collaboration between biopharma company Novo Nordisk ($NVO) and the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at Oxford University could lead to new biomarkers and treatments for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

The Kennedy Institute focuses on translational research, using diseased human tissue to validate drug targets and identify biomarkers of disease. The collaboration will combine this expertise with Novo Nordisk's drug development skills and experience to meet the unmet needs in rheumatoid arthritis.

"Despite advances, there is still a considerable unmet need in this area with many of the patients responding only partially to existing treatments. The need for new therapeutic options is imperative, " said Professor Feldmann, who heads up the institute. "We will work closely together with Novo Nordisk to apply the most advanced translational research approaches available for discovering new mechanisms and validating drug targets and candidates in autoimmune inflammatory disease in a variety of human disease tissue types and at different stages of disease to ensure comprehensive characterization of each compound's clinical potential."

Rheumatoid arthritis attacks not only the joints but other tissues in the body too, and affects as much as 1% of the world's population, leading to pain, distress, and lost days of work and other activities. Biomarkers could help the development of new drugs by pointing to new targets and selecting patients for clinical trials.

- read the press release

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