"Novo Nordisk has been passionate about helping people fight diabetes since the company was founded, and it is part of our mission to take type 1 diabetes research to the next level," said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, executive vice president and chief science officer at Novo Nordisk. "With the new type 1 diabetes R&D center, we hope to accelerate the process of finding new, innovative ways of treating people with this disease. Our vision is to prevent, treat and ultimately cure diabetes."
The unique concept behind the new center is to pursue a translational research approach characterized by combining basic research and early proof-of-concept trials under one umbrella. This will give the new center the necessary scientific foundation to move early-stage discovery projects rapidly from animal models into small clinical exploratory trials in type 1 diabetes.
In the past decade, type 2 diabetes has been the main focus among diabetes researchers and pharmaceutical companies because of the dramatic rise in the number of people living with the disease. Type 1 diabetes is a different disease that requires life-saving treatment with insulin. Unfortunately, there has been a lack of major scientific progress in this area in recent years.
Matthias von Herrath, MD, has accepted the position as head of the new diabetes research center. A world-renowned researcher in auto-immune diseases, Dr. von Herrath received the American Diabetes Association Outstanding Achievement Award in 2008.
"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," said Dr. von Herrath." As head of the research center, I hope to pursue this dream, while also forging new public–private collaborations within this field."
Dr. von Herrath currently holds the position as director of the Center for Type 1 Diabetes Research at La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. He has been with the institute since 2001 and will continue to hold a part-time faculty position there. Dr. von Herrath also serves as president of both the Immunology of Diabetes Society (IDS) and the Clinical Immunology Society (CIS).
The Novo Nordisk Type 1 Diabetes R&D Center is expected to open this summer, staffed by approximately 20 researchers who will be supported by corporate functions in the U.S. and Denmark. The new center will be located on the same premises as the Novo Nordisk Inflammation Research Center in Seattle in order to foster natural research synergies between the two sites.