Novo Nordisk and Octagon Therapeutics of Massachusetts announced Tuesday that they have done so forged a research cooperation focuses on inflammatory diseases.
Novo Nordisk will leverage Octagon’s functional target discovery approach and novel chemistry strategy and direct these capabilities to disease areas in which it has expertise. Novo is known for its work in diabetes and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Uli Stilz, vice president of Novo’s Bio Innovation Hub, touted Octagon’s platform technology, which he says is capable of delving into functional biology in novel ways. Stilz added that the platform can identify new drug targets through clinical samples and primary immune cells.
“Combined with our understanding of disease at the cardiometabolic level and Octagon’s approach to target specific lymphocyte populations that drive disease progression, it will be exciting to see what therapeutic discoveries the collaboration can lead to,” Stilz said in a statement.
Octagon’s lead preclinical program aims to selectively target a population of pathologically activated B cells that contribute to autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus and vasculitis. The same approach used in these cells can be applied to other disease areas.
Octagon’s pilot project, conducted as part of the Novo Nordisk Co-creation Greenhouse Accelerator program, demonstrated the proof-of-concept in identifying atypical properties of other immune cells during disease. This could lead to the discovery of new therapeutic targets.
Isaac Stoner, Octagon’s chief executive officer, said the collaboration would allow it to expand its own technology into new areas.
$200 million investment in quantum computing
In addition to the partnership with Octagon, the Novo Nordisk Foundation 200 million dollars invested in the development of a full-fledged quantum computer that will be used to develop new drugs. In addition, the computer will be able to provide insights into climate change and the green transition.
The foundation aims to “create an international powerhouse in quantum research,” a field with enormous potential,” said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, in a statement.
The foundation works in partnership with the University of Copenhagen, which includes a team of quantum computing researchers from around the world.
The Novo Nordisk Foundation’s newly formed quantum computing program will focus on the development of the hardware and materials. The program intends to create a quantum computer capable of solving tasks currently unattainable for existing computers.
The quantum computer will be able to analyze huge genomic datasets and offer new insights into the microbiome.
In its life science applications, the foundation aims to provide new insights to treat unmet need disease indications with new, personalized medicines.