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Novo Nordisk and Embark enter collaboration


Embark Biotech  and Novo Nordisk have entered into a research collaboration focusing on the discovery of novel treatments for obesity and its associated metabolic pathologies through mechanisms that increase energy expenditure.

The research platform of Embark Biotech, a recent spin-out from Center for Basic Metabolic Research at University of Copenhagen, builds on insights into receptors that stimulate energy expenditure without triggering the sympathetic nervous system (the ‘fight-or-flight’ response). The aim of the collaboration is to develop novel drug candidates that help people with obesity lose weight by burning off excess energy instead of storing it as fat. The potential addition of energy expenditure drugs would make a meaningful difference in the treatment of obesity. The work behind the research platform and the spin-out of Embark Biotech has been supported by Novo Seeds and the Novo Nordisk Foundation since 2016.

Next-generation anti-obesity therapies

As part of the collaboration agreement, Embark will receive research support for activities conducted in the collaboration, and Novo Nordisk has an option to license exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize products discovered in the collaboration.

“We are excited to get started on this project which aims at developing next- generation anti-obesity therapies,” says Marcus Schindler, senior vice president of Global Drug Discovery in Novo Nordisk. “There is a huge unmet medical need for treatment of obesity. While more than 650 million people are currently living with obesity[1], it is rarely acknowledged, diagnosed or treated as a serious chronic and complex disease. We believe that Novo Nordisk and Embark together have both the capability and capacity to explore this new mechanism of action.”

Image: Obesity R&D at Novo Nordisk A/S. Photo: Jesper Edvardsen