Novo Nordisk has acquired all of the shares of Ziylo, a University of Bristol spin-out company based at Unit DX science incubator in Bristol, UK.
The acquisition gives Novo Nordisk full rights to Ziylo’s glucose binding molecule platform to develop glucose responsive insulins. Ziylo’s glucose binding molecules are synthetic molecules that were designed by Professor Anthony Davis at the University of Bristol. These stable, synthetic molecules exhibit an unprecedented selectivity to glucose in complex environments such as blood.
“We believe the glucose binding molecules discovered by the Ziylo team together with Novo Nordisk world-class insulin capabilities have the potential to lead to the development of glucose responsive insulins which we hope can remove the risk of hypoglycaemia and ensure optimal glucose control for people with diabetes,” said Marcus Schindler, senior vice president, Global Drug Discovery, Novo Nordisk.
Novo Nordisk acquires all shares in Ziylo for an upfront payment and earn-outs with contingent milestone payments. Total payments under the agreement could ultimately exceed 800 million dollars upon the achievement of certain development, regulatory and sales milestones by Novo Nordisk.
A key strategic area
The development of glucose responsive insulins is a key strategic area for Novo Nordisk in its effort to develop this next generation of insulin which would lead to a safer and more effective insulin therapy, it reports. A glucose responsive insulin would help eliminate the risk of hypoglycaemia, which is the main risk associated with insulin therapy and one of the main barriers for achieving optimal glucose control. Thus, a glucose responsive insulin could also lead to better metabolic control and thus overall reduce the burden of diabetes for people living with the disease.
Prior to closing of the acquisition, certain research activities have been spun out of Ziylo to a new company, Carbometrics. Carbometrics has entered into a research collaboration with Novo Nordisk to assist with ongoing optimisation of glucose binding molecules for use in glucose responsive insulins. Carbometrics has licenced rights to develop non-therapeutic applications of glucose binding molecules, with a focus on developing continuous glucose monitoring applications.
Photo of Lars Fruergaard Joergensen, CEO Novo Nordisk