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Novo Nordisk to Add New Diabetes R&D Center in Seattle

Seattle skyline (Kelly Bailey/Flickr)The Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk says it will add a new research facility to study type 1 diabetes in Seattle, Washington. The lab is expected to open this summer and employ 20 researchers on the site of its current inflammation research center.

Novo Nordisk says the new lab will conduct translational studies that combine basic research on diabetes with proof-of-concept testing. This approach is expected to accelerate drug discovery on animals into early-stage clinical trials on humans.

The company says its focus on type 1 diabetes will help generate scientific progress in combating the disease, which affects five to 10 percent of people with diabetes. Much of the industry’s attention has been on type 2 diabetes, a different disease that has experienced a sharp rise in cases in recent years.

Type 1 diabetes is sometimes called insulin-dependent, immune-mediated, or juvenile-onset diabetes, although it can occur at any age. It is believed to be caused by an auto-immune reaction where the body’s defenses attack its own insulin-producing cells. Without enough insulin, glucose builds up in the bloodstream instead of going into the cells. The body is unable to use this glucose for energy, which leads to the symptoms of type 1 diabetes.

Novo Nordisk has named Matthias von Herrath, currently director of the Center for Type 1 Diabetes Research at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, to lead the new lab. “My dream has always been to see some of the treatments that my and other research teams have tested in animal models translated into better treatments for type 1 diabetes,” says von Herrath. “As head of the research center, I hope to pursue this dream, while also forging new public–private collaborations within this field.”

Read more: Potential Non-Insulin Type 1 Diabetes Treatment Discovered

Photo: Kelly Bailey/Flickr

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