Aspect Biosystems and Novo Nordisk today announced a collaboration, development and license agreement around diabetes and obesity treatments.
The agreement focuses on bioprinted tissue therapeutics designed to replace, repair or supplement the body’s biological functions. Novo Nordisk and Aspect aim to deliver a new class of disease-modifying treatments for diabetes and obesity.
It leverages Aspect’s proprietary bioprinting technology and Novo Nordisk’s expertise across stem cell differentiation and cell therapies.
Under the agreement, Novo Nordisk receives an exclusive, worldwide license to Aspect’s bioprinting technology. This license covers the development of up to four products for treating diabetes and/or obesity. Aspect initially receives payments of $75 million, including an upfront payment, research funding and a convertible note investment. It can also receive up to $650 million in future development, regulatory, commercial and sales milestone payments per product. The agreement also includes tiered royalties on future product sales.
In total, the deal could reach a value of approximately $2.6 billion.
“We are thrilled to partner with Novo Nordisk, a global leader and pioneer in the fight against diabetes and chronic diseases, to create breakthrough therapeutics that could transform the lives of millions of people around the world,” said Tamer Mohamed, CEO, Aspect Biosystems. “This partnership leverages Aspect’s full-stack tissue therapeutic platform, talented team and bold vision, and reinforces our strategy to create bioprinted tissue therapeutics through partnerships with global industry leaders while also advancing our internal therapeutic pipeline.”
More about the Novo Nordisk-Aspect Biosystems partnership
Aspect’s platform technology could allow for the development of a novel class of cell-based medicines. These could offer biologically functional, immune-protective capabilities while remaining suitable for surgical implantation. Aspect also has an ongoing collaboration with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) around this technology.
Novo Nordisk’s expertise allows for the differentiation of stem cells into an array of cells that may replace damaged and lost cells. This can lead to a specific disease, like insulin-protecting beta cells in type 1 diabetes. Novo Nordisk also brings manufacturing capabilities to produce these cells at scale.
By combining the companies’ offerings, they aim to develop implantable bioprinted tissues to replace, repair or supplement biological functions. They plant o design the tissues as allogeneic. This means they derive cells from a single source, increasing the viability of future large-scale manufacturing.
Initially, the companies plan to develop bioprinted tissue therapeutics for maintaining normal blood glucose levels without needing immunosuppression. This could enable a “transformative treatment” for 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, VP of cell therapy R&D at 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.”