Novo Nordisk has unveiled plans to expand its R&D centre in Beijing, setting up a new diabetes research unit.

Staff levels will rise from currently 100 to 200 employees by 2015. The Danish group says that the future research scope will now be broadened to include "biopharmaceutical approaches to develop new treatments against diabetes as well as the conduct of pharmacological studies".

Novo added that the R&D team in China will "eventually take part in all aspects of drug discovery, from innovation to developing drug candidates for clinical studies". Chief scientific officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen said the expansion "acknowledges the achievements of the Chinese staff since the centre was established in 1997" and will help Novo get further access to "the tremendous resource of talents, ideas and innovation in China”.

As well as having its headquarters and R&D centre in Beijing, Novo also has two production plants in Tianjin and offices in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Wuhan, Jinan and Hong Kong. Currently, it employs around 3,000 people in China.