Novo Nordisk and the University of Oxford are poised to begin ground-breaking work on therapeutic targets for type II diabetes with new research facilities set to open next week.

The new Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford facilities at the Old Road Campus and the strategic alliance between the two parties will launch on September 12, housing novel research focused on type II diabetes and its associated complications.

The move follows the firm’s plans - revealed in January last year - to invest £115 million over 10 years into a new research centre housed by the University of Oxford, marking a major boost for UK life sciences.

Novo has since been working with the University to build the state-of-the-art laboratories where the drugmaker will operate and directly employ up to 100 researchers.

"Our vision is that the unique combination of industrial and academic know-how will eventually lead to a new generation of treatments to improve the lives of people with type II diabetes,” the company’s Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen said last year.

Ossianix deal

Meanwhile, Novo also said it has signed a research and option agreement with US group Ossianix on blood brain barrier delivery technology for proteins in diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

Under the terms of the deal, Ossianix, which has research labs in the UK, will use its patented single domain VNAR antibodies to deliver a predefined number of therapeutic agents able to cross the blood brain barrier to Novo, which will then take on their development and commercialisation.

Ossianix will receive upfront, preclinical, clinical and commercial milestone payments, R&D funding, as well as product royalties from Novo. In addition, the Danish drugmaker has a buyout option for each product on pre-agreed financial terms.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.