Novo Nordisk and Combine in research collaboration for the treatment of autoimmune diseases

Novo NordiskNovo Nordisk and the Swedish university consortium Combine have announced a research collaboration in the field of autoimmune diseases. Under the agreement, Novo Nordisk will work with scientists from the six universities that make up the Combine consortium, to develop a better understanding of how the immune system responds in patients with autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus.

The aim will be to develop novel therapies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. The collaboration will also work on determining why certain patients do not respond to current treatments and how autoimmune diseases develop over time. It is hoped this can lead to the development of more targeted treatments, which can be used to treat particular groups of patients.

The agreement allows relevant Combine members to test Novo Nordisk preclinical development compounds in patient tissue samples. Such samples are routinely collected by Combine members from patients with autoimmune disease. Additionally, blood samples from patients with autoimmune diseases who are being treated with conventional therapies will be analysed for specific biomarkers to help understand why some patients respond to a particular therapy and why others do not.

The collaboration will run for an initial period of two years, and covers three projects. The collaboration can be expanded to contain more projects if needed. The financial terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.

"We see this as a unique and innovative way of working with the academic community to help find better ways of treating patients suffering from severe inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis," Terje Kalland, MD, PhD, head of Novo Nordisk's Biopharmaceuticals Research Unit, said.

"This collaboration has great potential for drug development for major diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and as a model for collaboration between the academic community, clinical care and the pharmaceutical industry," said Lars Klareskog, project coordinator at Combine and principal investigator at the Karolinska Institutet.

About Novo Nordisk
Novo Nordisk is a healthcare company and a world leader in diabetes care. In addition, Novo Nordisk has a leading position within areas such as haemostasis management, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy. Novo Nordisk manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products and services that make a significant difference to patients, the medical profession and society. With headquarters in Denmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 29,000 employees in 81 countries, and markets its products in 179 countries. For more information, visit

About Combine
The six universities participating in the consortium are the Karolinska Institute, University of Uppsala, University of Gothenburg, University of Linköping, University of Lund and University of Umeå. The overall aim of Combine is to create a network of scientists, clinicians, patients and industrial representatives, which together can use unique Swedish advantages to improve understanding of why inflammatory diseases develop, what are the most essential goals for patients to achieve, and to develop and implement novel prevention and therapy for these diseases. The operational strategy is to create infrastructure and programs where systematic capture of data takes place in routine healthcare and is utilised in research, and where the same infrastructure is used to feed information from research back to healthcare. For more information, visit