Novo Nordisk has acquired all of the shares of Ziylo, a University of Bristol spin-out based at Unit DX science incubator in Bristol, UK.
The deal gives the Danish drugmaker full rights to Ziylo’s glucose binding molecule platform to develop glucose responsive insulins, which it highlights as “a key strategic area” in its effort to develop this next generation of insulin.
A glucose responsive insulin would help eliminate the risk of hypoglycaemia, the main risk of insulin therapy and a key barriers to achieving optimal glucose control.
“Thus, a glucose responsive insulin could also lead to better metabolic control and thus overall reduce the burden of diabetes for people living with the disease,” Novo says.
Before closing of the acquisition, certain research activities were been spun out of Ziylo to a new company, Carbometrics, which has entered into a research collaboration with Novo to assist with ongoing optimisation of glucose binding molecules for use in glucose responsive insulins.
Carbometrics has licenced rights to develop non-therapeutic applications of glucose binding molecules, with a focus on developing continuous glucose monitoring applications.
“We believe the glucose binding molecules discovered by the Ziylo team together with Novo Nordisk world-class insulin capabilities have the potential to lead to the development of glucose responsive insulins which we hope can remove the risk of hypoglycaemia and ensure optimal glucose control for people with diabetes,” said Marcus Schindler, senior vice president, Global Drug Discovery, Novo Nordisk.
“Novo Nordisk is the ideal company to maximise the potential of the Ziylo glucose binding molecules in glucose responsive insulins and diabetes applications, and it brings hope of a truly groundbreaking treatment to diabetes patients,” said Harry Destecroix, PhD, chief executive officer and co-founder of Ziylo.
Specific financial details were not revealed but Novo said it will acquire all shares in Ziylo for an upfront payment and earn-outs with contingent milestone payments, and that total payments under the deal could ultimately overshoot $800 million on the achievement of certain development, regulatory and sales milestones.