Novo crafts fast-track R&D model for new diabetes drug unit

Novo Nordisk ($NVO) is setting up a new R&D center in Seattle that aims at reengineering the model for early-stage drug work and speeding up development in the diabetes field.

Under the direction of noted investigator Matthias von Herrath (see photo at right), this new unit will specialize in the search for new treatments that can be used to treat Type 1 diabetes. The Novo Nordisk Inflammation Research Center in Seattle will host the new research unit, which is slated to open this summer with some 20 investigators devoted to basic animal research in the field tied directly to first-in-human studies.

Novo Nordisk, a market leader in diabetes, is after one of the Holy Grails of R&D: Faster, smarter investigative work that can offer a short cut to effective new treatments. The company says it's trying to break ground in the research arena by creating a new R&D model intended to move swiftly from animal research into small clinical studies, establish whether they have the kind of proof-of-concept data that will be worthy of bigger and more ambitious trials. And they plan to do it in a more open research environment, with new collaborators to help accelerate their work.

"My dream has always been to see some of the treatments that my and other research teams have tested in animal models translated into better treatments for Type 1 diabetes," said Dr. von Herrath." As head of the research center, I hope to pursue this dream, while also forging new public-private collaborations within this field."

- here's the press release