Diabetes Research Unit to help China’s diabetes problem, says Novo Nordisk

By Alexandria Pešić

- Last updated on GMT

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Danish biopharma giant, Novo Nordisk is expanding its R&D Centre in China by introducing a new Diabetes Research unit and doubling its quota of employees from 100 to 200 by 2015.

China now has the second largest diabetes population after India, with nearly 40m sufferers of the chronic condition; a number expected to rise to 59m, say the Ministry of Health. “It is very important that [Novo Nordisk] works together with the government to help find a way to rectify the problem,”​ Matt Thompson, a spokesperson from Novo Nordisk, told in-PharmaTechnologist.

Novo Nordisk said it will strive to help overcome this problem by conducting local research and studying the Chinese population for differences in the genes of westerners and easterners, in addition to developing new technologies for global applications.

In 1997, Novo Nordisk became the first international biopharmaceutical company to establish R&D in China, and is now about to swipe another 100 employees from the country’s huge and inexpensive talent pool. The new additions to the R&D Centre at Zhongguancun Life Science Park in Beijing will develop drug candidates for clinical studies.

Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, executive vice president and chief science officer at Novo Nordisk, commented that “By doubling the current staff at our R&D Centre, we demonstrate our long term commitment to take part in the scientific and technological development of China,” ​as wells as gaining “access to the tremendous resource of talents, ideas and innovation in China.”

China’s Ministry of Commerce say the number of foreign R&D centres in the country has rocketed from 200 four years ago, to 750 today, with multinational drug giants such as Pfizer, Roche, Merck and Sanofi all having capitalised in building R&D capacities in China in recent years.

The company plan to broaden its horizons in biopharmaceutical research by developing new treatments and conducting pharmaceutical trials to meet demand in its fastest-growing market and contribute solutions to China’s increasing problem with diabetes.

Annual sales growth for Novo Nordisk in China met 30 per cent and its sales in the country are predicted to top $700m this year; a figure which contributes to 7 per cent of its global business.

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