New centre opens in Oxford to search for next generation of diabetes treatment

Novo Nordick research centre

A new centre for research to develop a new generation of medicines that will transform the lives of people living with diabetes has opened in Oxford today.

Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, attended the opening of the Novo Nordisk Research Centre, along with Danish Science Minister Tommy Ahlers.

The number of people with diabetes is expected to increase in the next two decades from 3.9 million people in 2017, to 4.9 million in 2035, according to Public Health England statistics. The centre will collaborate with the University of Oxford using its scientific excellence to conduct new research, including on:

  • new medicines to treat diabetes
  • understanding the relationship between insulin resistance and other health conditions
  • analysing complex data to earlier detect type 2 diabetes

Novo Nordisk will invest around £115 million over a period of 10 years and the new centre will mean up to 100 research jobs in the coming years.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “This centre has the potential to transform the way diabetes is treated in the future and improve the lives of people around the world. Our universities and research institutes are world beating and this international investment in the UK is a vote of confidence in both the talent we have and the quality of research and products our scientists develop.

“This is our modern Industrial Strategy in action as we strive towards more public and private research and development investment to upgrade our economy and build a Britain fit for the future.”

Professor Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CSO and EVP at Novo Nordisk, said: “I am very excited to see the strategic alliance between Novo Nordisk and the University of Oxford flourish and set the bar for international collaborative cutting edge scientific research to spearhead collaboration on new treatment for people with type 2 diabetes and other serious chronic diseases.”

In the modern Industrial Strategy the government has set the ambitious target to reach 2.4% of gross domestic product investment in research and development by 2027. In December 2017, the Life Sciences Sector Deal was announced to maintain the UK’s place as a world leader in developing innovative research into future treatments and pioneering medicines.