Oxford-based e-therapeutics partners with Danish pharma giant Novo Nordisk

The new agreement will see e-therapeutics and Novo Nordisk work together to identify new therapies for a "specific area" of type 2 diabetes.
By Leontina Postelnicu
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Novo Nordisk opened a new research centre in Oxford, UK earlier this year, located on the third floor of a new building at Oxford University; illustration: Novo Nordisk

Oxford, UK-based e-therapeutics has announced this week that it is entering a research partnership with Novo Nordisk that will see them use its proprietary Network-Driven Drug Discovery (NDD) platform to identify potentially new biological mechanisms and therapies for a “specific area” of type 2 diabetes.

According to the International Diabetes Federation, around 425 million people are estimated to have diabetes worldwide. Type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90 per cent of all cases.

The NDD platform developed by e-therapeutics includes computational tools able to interrogate biological information available in both public and private databases, according to the company, employing techniques such as machine learning, AI and data analysis tools.

Novo Nordisk will be able to license relevant IP generated under the new deal, which covers an initial period of 12 months, while e-therapeutics will be reimbursed for its work. 

Dr Ray Barlow, e-therapeutics CEO, said the new partnership was "the result of a systematic and rigorous business development exercise over the past year".

"This collaboration highlights the use of our Network-Driven Drug Discovery (NDD) platform to understand and potentially create new treatments for complex diseases of great relevance to society, medicine and the industry,” Dr Barlow added.

The new project will be used to identify if the new technology could "support some of the early target discovery efforts" currently being built by the Danish pharma giant at their new research centre in Oxford, said Jan Nygaard Jenses, Novo Nordisk Head of Bioinformatics.

The company announced at the beginning of 2017 that it would invest £115m over a 10-year period in a new research facility through a collaboration with Oxford University, set to advance type 2 diabetes research, bringing together up to 100 scientists working in four departments: discovery bioinformatics; advanced genomics; stem cell engineering; and high-throughput imaging. 

Both UK Business Secretary Greg Clark and Danish Science Minister Tommy Ahlers attended the opening of the new centre in September this year.

Financial terms of the deal unveiled this week were not disclosed.

Twitter: @1Leontina
Contact the author: lpostelnicu@himss.org