Novo Nordisk funds Oxford’s £115 million diabetes research centre
30 Jan 2017
Pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk is to fund a £115 million diabetes research centre at Oxford university.
The project – to which the Danish company has committed for 10 years – will be headed by pioneering academic James Johnson, from the University of British Colombia in Canada.
Its focus will be type-2 diabetes which now affects more than 420 million people globally, according to World Health Organisation statistics. The condition has quadrupled in little more than a quarter century, thanks to dietary changes.
Novo Nordisk’s decision has offered a partial reassurance to the UK pharma and biomed sectors amid fears that Brexit would see a loss of European investment.
A Novo Nordisk spokesman said the decision by Britain to withdraw from the European Union would not affect the partnership, which was prompted by Oxford’s global research reputation.
It is estimated that, when the project is fully launched, up to 100 of the Danish company’s scientists will be based at the university’s Headington campus.
Quoted in the Financial Times, Oxford professor of medicine, Sir John Bell pointed out that the number of companies who were carrying out early stage discovery research in the UK had declined from a peak of 11 down to just three, including GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and UCB.
He added he believed Britain could increase the number to “six or seven”.
* Sweden, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Austria and Hungary have all lobbied to be the new home for the European Medicines Agency.
The EMA currently employs around 900 people at its UK headquarters in London’s Canary Wharf but,after the Brexit vote, is likely to move to an EU member state.