Novo Nordisk Creates Four R&D Centers; Plans Staff Reductions
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Novo Nordisk has announced plans to restructure its research & development (R&D) organization to accelerate expansion and diversification of its pipeline across chronic diseases. To enable this increased biological and technological investment, approximately 400 employees will be laid off from R&D roles in Denmark and China. 

Novo Nordisk says it will set up four Transformational Research Units in 2018 to pursue new treatment modalities and platform technologies. The biotech-like units, based in Denmark, the US and the UK, will operate as satellites of Novo Nordisk’s central R&D function and will drive work in priority fields such as translational cardio-metabolic research and stem-cell research.

Additionally, to help molecule selection and development, Novo Nordisk will increase its investment in automation and digital capabilities, including machine learning and artificial intelligence. The integration of laboratory infrastructure and information-technology systems will also be prioritized to increase efficiency. 

“Delivering on our ambition of achieving even higher levels of innovation across a broader and more diverse range of chronic diseases requires that we have the optimum future skill base and allocate resources to our priority areas,” said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Chief Science Officer of Novo Nordisk in a September 18, 2018 company statement. “Unfortunately, this implies that a number of valued colleagues will lose their jobs in order to ensure that we have enough new research capabilities needed to support our long-term growth ambitions.”

This restructuring will be facilitated by the identification and pursuit of new therapeutic approaches based on external collaborations, a priority that Novo Nordisk plans to accelerate through the establishment of a new business development unit in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

To date in 2018, Novo Nordisk has announced a range of external agreements. The most recent occurred in August 2018 when the company acquired Ziylo, a biotechnology company spun off from the University of Bristol in the UK, for $800-million to enhance research within glucose-responsive insulins. Novo Nordisk’s agreements also include a number of partnerships with universities and biotechnology companies in the fields of cardio-metabolic and stem-cell research.

Source: Novo Nordisk

 

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