Novo Nordisk sets up stem cell manufacturing in California, US

By Flora Southey contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/CIPhotos)
(Image: Getty/CIPhotos)

Related tags: Novo nordisk, Stem cell

Novo Nordisk will take over the lease of a manufacturing facility in Fremont, California, where the company will make stem cell-based therapies with optionally licensed technology.

According to the agreement, Novo Nordisk will pay US biotech Asterias Biotherapeutics $1bn (€868m) to sublease the 44,000 square-foot facility through to December 31, 2021.

The site, located in Fremont, California, can be used to manufacture pluripotent stem cells, including human embryonic stem (hES) cells, under current good manufacturing practices (cGMP).

Asterias will maintain access to the site’s manufacturing, laboratory and administrative space during this time, to advance its neurological development programmes.

The companies have also signed a $1m option license agreement for Asterias’ intellectual property (IP) relating to culturing pluripotent stem cells, such as hES cells, in suspension.

According to Asterias, the ‘Suspension Culture IP’ “maximises the production capacity inside a cell culture vessel, allowing for bulk proliferation of hES cells in a more efficient and cost-effective manner, which facilitates commercial production of important products for use in human therapies”.

The announcement marks Novo Nordisk’s most recent investment in stem cell technology, following a licensing deal signed between the Danish firm and the University of California San Francisco in May this year.

According to the agreement, Novo Nordisk will use the university’s technology to generate human embryonic stem cell lines for the development of regenerative therapies.

In addition, last month Novo Nordisk announced plans​ to restructure global operations, which includes increasing stem cell research in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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