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Novo Nordisk to develop oral insulins

Novo Nordisk has entered a licence agreement with Emisphere Technologies to develop and market oral insulins

Novo Nordisk has entered a licence agreement with Emisphere Technologies to develop and market oral insulins.

The two companies will use Emisphere's Eligen technology to create oral formulations of insulins already marketed by Novo Nordisk in non-oral treatments.

Eligen is a drug delivery platform that uses synthetic chemical compounds, known as Emisphere delivery agents, to allow small and large molecule drugs to be taken orally without their chemical form being altered by processes in the body.

Emisphere will see $5m upfront payment, as well as a total of $57.5m in potential product development and sales milestones. The US-based biopharma company will also be able to receive royalties on sales.

"This is an encouraging agreement on a promising technology for oral administration of proteins," said Peter Kurtzhals, senior vice president, Diabetes Research Unit at Novo Nordisk. "We are delighted to continue working with Emisphere and their Eligen Technology. It fits very well with Novo Nordisk's strategy within diabetes research."

The two companies have a previous licence agreement, signed in 2008, concerning the development of oral formulations of GLP-1 receptor agonists to stimulate the release of insulin in type 2 diabetes patients. A potential drug developed through this agreement is currently in a phase I clinical trial.

In further diabetes-related news this week, sanofi-aventis (S-A) has acquired the global rights to a diabetes drug-delivery technology from Ascendis Pharma.

21st December 2010

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