Novo Nordisk is pulling out of inflammatory disorder R&D to increase its diabetes and obesity efforts, following the failure of an investigational  rheumatoid arthritis drug.

The decision to discontinue comes after the Danish firm ended Phase II development of NN8226, which targeted interleukin-20 (IL-20). Novo’s R&D inflammatory pipeline included another treatment for RA, one for lupus and two Phase II compounds for Crohn’s disease.

Chief scientific officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen said the discontinuation of anti-IL-20 “delays our earliest possible entrance into the market for anti-inflammatory therapeutics to the late 2020s”, so “we have therefore decided to further increase our R&D efforts within diabetes which is our main business area".

Some 400 employees will be affected by the decision but Novo hopes to offer other positions within the company to more than half of those staff. Cashwise, it expects to incur a non-recurring cost of around 700 million Danish kroner (about $125 million).

Ryzodeg launched in Mexico

In better news for Novo, the company has launched its type 2 diabetes treatment Ryzodeg in its first market, Mexico.

Ryzodeg combines Tresiba (insulin degludec) and insulin aspart and the approval makes it the first combination of a basal insulin with an ultra-long duration of action and a well-established mealtime insulin in one pen, says Novo. It has been approved in a variety of territories, including the European Union and will be launched elsewhere within the next year.