Novo Nordisk centers juvenile diabetes work at new R&D hub

Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk ($NVO) trumpeted plans to translate discoveries from biotech and academia into immunotherapies for Type 1 diabetes at a soon-to-open R&D site in Seattle yesterday, building on the company's leading position in providing insulin to patients with the disorder.

Expected to open this summer, Novo's Type 1 Diabetes R&D Center will focus on ushering experimental treatments through animal testing and early human studies under one roof, according to the company. And the drugmaker is joining forces with the JDRF, a group that awards grants to study juvenile diabetes, to discover and develop drugs against the chronic disease.

The new R&D effort answers a call for increased research of Type 1 diabetes, which has attracted less investment in the pharma industry than Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease. In Type 1 diabetes, the immune system attacks insulin-making cells. And Novo plans to hire experts in immunology, bringing on 20 scientists for the new research effort. The researchers will be housed in labs at the existing Novo Nordisk Inflammation Research Center in Seattle. 

"It is not a coincidence that we are opening our new Type 1 Diabetes Research and Development Center in Seattle at that same time that we announce a scientific partnership between our company and JDRF," said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, executive vice president and chief science officer at Novo Nordisk, in a statement. "Our new R&D center is founded on the principle of reaching out to academia, biotechnology companies, and other key players in the international immunotherapy research community in order to join forces to develop the next treatment advance in the management of type 1 diabetes."

- here's the release about the R&D center
- and the announcement of the JDRF collaboration