Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Novo Nordisk -VLST Corp. Partnership Speaks Volumes

Back in August 2008, I reported that Novo Nordisk was opening a research facility in the Seattle area to pursue "inflammation" treatments aimed at addressing autoimmunity (see here and here for background information on that). Novo is considerably behind its global rivals, including Eli Lilly and Company (who signed a deal with Maryland-based MacroGenics, Inc.) and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd., which both have treatments much further along in development.

Regardless, Novo's move this summer was an acknowledgment of sorts that the company simply had to pursue this field or risk being left behind. In a move that is very similar to the Lilly-MacroGenics deal, today, Novo Nordisk announced a partnership with biotechnology company VLST Corp. Here's a quick excerpt from the press release:

"Novo Nordisk and VLST Corporation, a Seattle-based biotechnology company focused on the development of therapeutics for autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, today announced that the companies have entered into an exclusive, worldwide collaboration agreement to develop therapeutic targets utilising VLST's technology platform in the fields of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders."

Another article included the following statement:

"VLST's platform technology provides a promising avenue for Novo Nordisk to continue expanding and enhancing its research and development in the field of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders," said Terje Kalland, senior vice president and head of Biopharmaceuticals Research Unit at Novo Nordisk. "As Novo Nordisk continues to build its presence in Seattle, the collaboration with VLST marks an important step in our overall strategy to develop therapeutics for autoimmune and inflammatory disorders."

Obviously, Novo Nordisk realizes they are pretty far behind on the development curve for treatments in this category, and has therefore decided to pursue a partnership strategy to accelerate the company. By itself, this is a a landmark, as traditionally, Novo Nordisk does all development in-house, enabling the company to avoid sharing any of the profits from its products, so the mere fact that they are partnering now speaks volumes about how far (or rather, how far behind) Novo's efforts' actually are in the inflammation field.

Regardless, we can all hope this partnership accelerates the development time-frames these treatments will require, and will yield results in the not-too-distant future. However, this could very well be executive posturing, too, meant to send shareholders a message that Novo is moving ahead in the inflammation field. Only time will tell!

1 comment:

BetterCell said...

As you know Scott, there is a large Inflammatory Component that is a part of T1DM and most all other auto-immune Diseases.

As such, I could care less if Lilly or Novo Nordisk are the first to Market their new Drug.
Another effective Tool to be used for T1DM and other auto-immune Diseases.