Novo Nordisk quits inflammation R&D and cuts jobs

Novo Nordisk is terminating its inflammatory disease R&D programmes after the company’s leading rheumatoid arthritis drug candidate failed in clinical trials. The move means 400 jobs will be cut, but the Danish diabetes specialist expects to be able to redeploy around half of those staff.

According to chief science officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, the arthritis failure puts back the firm’s earliest entry into anti-inflammatory medicine to the late 2020s, which is too far away to justify continuing the programme.

Instead, the firm will return to its core area of diabetes and related conditions like obesity. Novo said in June that it intends to expand its Danish staff by 6000 by 2022, and the firm is just about to launch a new insulin combination drug in Mexico. Ryzodeg contains a combination of long-acting basal insulin degludec, with a fast-acting mealtime variant, insulin aspart. The company says that the combination means patients need fewer daily injections than if they were using the drugs separately.

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