Novo Nordisk says it has signed an agreement to set up a major research alliance with Chinese scientists.

The Danish firm and the Chinese Academy of Science have signed the deal which establishes a joint research foundation in the country which will be called the Novo Nordisk–Chinese Academy of Science Research Foundation. Its role will be to fund “activities of common interest within the fields of diabetes and biopharmaceuticals,” including related disciplines and technologies such as protein chemistry, immunology, inflammation, toxicology, oncology, endocrinology and drug delivery.

Prof Chen Zhu, CAS vice president, said “Chinese and Danish scientists share a history of excellent collaborations which the new foundation will further strengthen” and noted that Novo Nordisk is well recognised in China for its major role in preventing and treating diabetes.” The latter firm will provide $2 million in funding for the new alliance.

Novo Nordisk has been active in China for some time and in January 2002, it established “a world-class R&D centre” in Beijing, which is the first such facility to be established by international biopharmaceutical companies in the country.

"This cooperation illustrates the great attention Novo Nordisk pays to China as well as our long-term commitment to help in further developing the Chinese healthcare system," said its chief science officer Mads Thomsen.