Novo Nordisk teams up with Aspect Biosystems on bioprinting tech for new diabetes treatments

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Novo nordisk Cell therapy

Aspect Biosystems and Novo Nordisk have announced a collaboration, development, and licence agreement to develop bioprinted tissue therapeutics to replace or repair biological functions in the body: with the aim of creating a ‘new class of truly disease-modifying treatments’ for diabetes and obesity.

The tech will be used create solutions that may be used to replace damaged and lost cells, such as insulin-producing beta cells in type 1 diabetes, with the companies teaming up on four cell therapy candidates.

Insulin-producing beta cells in type 1 diabetes

The collaboration will leverage Aspect’s proprietary bioprinting technology and Novo Nordisk’s know-how in stem cell differentiation and cell therapy development and manufacturing.

The tech will help Novo Nordisk explore new methods of cell therapy delivery; with another attraction being that the allogeneic tissues could increase the viability of large-scale manufacturing in the future.

Novo Nordisk will pay Aspect $75m (including an upfront payment, research funding and an investment in the form of a convertible note) for an exclusive, worldwide license to use the bioprinting technology to develop up to four products for the treatment of diabetes and/or obesity.

Aspect is also eligible to receive up to $650m in future development, regulatory, commercial and sales milestone payments per product, as well as tiered royalties on future product sales.

Founded in 2013, Vancouver-headquartered Aspect says the deal with Novo Nordisk ‘reinforces our strategy to create bioprinted tissue therapeutics through partnerships with global industry leaders while also advancing our internal therapeutic pipeline.’

It has developed a platform technology that may allow for development of a novel class of cell-based medicine designed to be biologically functional, encapsulated to be immune-protective and suitable for surgical implantation.

Novo Nordisk, meanwhile, has developed expertise to differentiate stem cells into a wide array of cells that may be used to replace damaged and lost cells which could lead to a specific disease, such as insulin-producing beta cells in type 1 diabetes, as well as manufacturing capabilities to produce the cells at scale.

The goal of the collaboration is to develop implantable bioprinted tissues to replace, repair or supplement biological functions. These tissues will be designed to be allogeneic, meaning the cells used are derived from a single source to increase the viability of future large-scale manufacturing.

The collaboration will initially focus on developing bioprinted tissue therapeutics designed to maintain normal blood glucose levels without the need for immunosuppression, which may represent a 'transformative treatment' for people living with type 1 diabetes.

“Novo Nordisk has built strong capabilities when it comes to producing functional and highly pure therapeutic replacement cells at the highest quality and at scale,” said Jacob Sten Petersen, corporate vice president of Cell Therapy R&D, Novo Nordisk. “Collaborating with Aspect Biosystems adds an important component to our strategy to develop comprehensive cell therapy products. We are excited to co-develop solutions for cell therapy delivery that could lead to life-changing treatments for those living with a serious chronic disease.”

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