Novo Nordisk is the world’s leading diabetes therapeutics company, with 95 years’ experience of innovation in diabetes care. The company has a longstanding relationship with the University of Oxford, itself a global leader in metabolism research, and in 2017 the Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford (NNRCO) was launched as part of a strategic alliance between the two organisations.
Page updated 25/10/2019
The NOVO NORDISK RESEARCH CENTRE OXFORD (NNRCO)
Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford is an innovative target discovery and translational research unit with a focus on identifying novel, game-changing therapies for patients with diabetes and cardiometabolic diseases.
The centre employs advanced computational biology, state-of-the-art discovery screening technologies, genetics and human-centric cell systems to dissect pathophysiology and identify novel drug targets. The site is a fusion of the best of academia, biotech and big pharma in order to realize cutting-edge biology and start a target’s journey from bench to bedside.
The alliance between Novo Nordisk and Oxford aims to establish landmark collaborations for the advancement in research for diabetes and cardiometabolic disease with an aim to work towards innovative medicines that that make a difference in patients' lives.
Uniquely, the alliance has seen Novo Nordisk establish a presence onsite at the University of Oxford, with NNRCO employing up to 100 researchers between 2017 and 2021. These NNRCO researchers will work in new state-of-the-art laboratories in the Innovation Building on Old Road Campus, which officially opened on the 12th September 2018.
Collaborative projects have been jointly developed and co-funded via the Strategic Alliance Committee and NNRCO also participates in the training of the next generation of diabetes research scientists by co-sponsoring students. Find out more about funding from Novo Nordisk (Requires SSO).
NNRCO itself is led by Professor Bill Haynes and is composed of 4 departments Computational Biology, Discovery Technologies and Genomics and Discovery Biology and Pharmacology - Explore NNRCO Departments.
SUPPORT FOR THE ALLIANCE
The alliance is governed by a Joint Steering Committee, made up of parties from both the University of Oxford and Novo Nordisk. This joint governance structure allows for an alignment of research interests and offers an opportunity to work truly collaboratively. A collaboration committee has also been appointed that can act more swiftly to review and approve smaller collaborative opportunities.
The alliance benefits from a dedicated alliance manager, Dr Siobhan Dennis, who acts as a point of contact for both organisations and provides support for calls and projects. Please note that Dr Dennis is only able to advise Oxford University staff on collaboration and roles with Novo Nordisk, and is not able to comment on speculative applications.
NNRCO will be composed of multiple research departments, as well as a strategic and business operations department, led by Tore Karlsson. As of February 2018 NNRCO has several research departments established.
To identify novel targets and add value to other research projects, our teams are using in silico pipelines, novel algorithms and advanced machine learning activities. We achieve this by utilizing state-of-the-art data integration pipelines to analyze large scale data (e.g. clinical biobanks, GTEX, and all types of omics) that are generated by in-house experiments and external collaborators. We then use cloud based computational and flexible environments. Collaborations are an essential part of the group, to strengthen our research for the benefit of patients. Our current partnerships are with academic groups and biotechs.
Department head: Ramneek Gupta
Discovery Technologies and Genomics
We establish and apply state-of-the-art genomics and screening technologies to discover and validate novel therapeutic targets for cardiometabolic diseases using human-centric in vitro approaches. Our technologies include high throughput screening, high content imaging, single-cell sequencing, CRISPR editing, functional genomics, proteomics, peptidomics, and statistical modelling. By applying these technologies to human samples and human centric in vitro models, we interrogate disease pathogenesis, elucidate the function of genes and proteins, and identify targets and key biology to discover new disruptive therapeutics.
Department head: Carina Ammala (interim)
Discovery Biology and Pharmacology
We utilize cutting-edge technologies to follow research hypotheses from gene, to cell, to tissue, to organ cross-talk, to organism. To do this we capitalize upon stem cell biology, CRISPR and other genome engineering techniques, in vitro differentiation and multi-parametric cellular assays. We plan to extend the complexity of our systems using bioprinting and organ-on-a-chip technologies going forward. Our cellular studies focus on capturing physiologically-representative function and phenotypes to push the boundaries of translational research to validate novel targets in complex systems that mimic human tissues.
Department head: Carina Ammala
The Genetics Department generates and applies human genetics knowledge to improve drug target prioritisation by identifying novel targets and biomarkers, their tissue/cell-specific expression and potential contra-indications. We utilize approaches such as patient stratification from genetic risk scores for precision medicine; Mendelian Randomization screens for identifying causal risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases; perform in silico screens to go from associated variants to causal genes. In tandem with these approaches, we perform phenotypic screens to identify contraindications for any potential targets we identify. We work with the Discovery Technologies and Genomics Department and the Discovery Biology and Pharmacology Department to obtain in vitro validation of our candidate targets.
Department head: Joanna Howson
Page updated 28/04/2020
NOVO NORDISK pump priming fund
To facilitate collaborations between the University of Oxford and Novo Nordisk researchers, funds will be available with specific rounds from 2017 to 2020 to support pump priming applications. These pump priming awards aim to increase the likelihood that subsequent proposals for larger Research Projects are brought forward. Priority will be given to projects aligned with Novo Nordisk area of interest and those with translational potential that are likely to elucidate disease mechanisms and lead to new discoveries will be welcomed.
Novo Nordisk Fellowship Programme
The Novo Nordisk Fellowship programme aims to support the development of a new generation of exceptional young diabetes researchers, who will become future leaders in the field, while further developing scientific excellence within diabetes and ultimately improving the lives of patients.
EXPRESSION OF COLLABORATIVE INTEREST
NNRCO (Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford) encourages submission of expressions of interest for collaborative projects and interests from Oxford academics within the remit and research areas of the NNRCO. To align and develop any concepts, it is recommended that academics reach out to appropriate Novo Nordisk head of departments within the NNRCO early, to foster proposals before significant effort is undertaken.
Please contact Dr Siobhan Dennis (Business Development Medical Sciences) should you wish to discuss any potential collaborative ideas with the NNRCO. Please note that Dr Dennis is only able to advise University of Oxford staff on collaboration and roles with Novo Nordisk, and is not able to comment on speculative applications. External applicants interested in a role with Novo Nordisk should consult their website, or browse vacancies with the University of Oxford.
If you would like to contact Novo Nordisk or have any questions please contact Business Development Manager Dr Siobhan Dennis using the details provided below.
Please note that Dr Dennis is only able to advise University of Oxford staff on collaboration and roles with Novo Nordisk, and is not able to comment on speculative applications. External applicants interested in a role with Novo Nordisk should consult their website.
|Siobhan.Dennis@medsci.ox.ac.uk||+44 (0) 7860856772||Boundary Brook House, Old Road Campus, Headington, OX3 7LQ|
|Website||NNRCOinfo@novonordisk.com||NNRCO, Innovation Building, Old Road Campus, Oxford|