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Novo snaps up UK insulin specialist Ziylo in potential $800 million deal

Country : UK

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LONDON, 17 Aug (APM) - Novo Nordisk is buying UK biotech Ziylo in a $800 million deal to accelerate its development of glucose responsive insulins, the Danish group said on Friday.
It said in a statement the deal gives it full rights to Ziylo's glucose binding molecule platform to develop glucose responsive insulins, noting that these could transform diabetes treatment.
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, said Novo.
"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. Ziylo is itself a spin-out from the University of Bristol.
This new company, Carbometrics, has entered into a research collaboration with Novo to optimise glucose binding molecules. Carbometrics has licenced rights to develop non-therapeutic applications of glucose binding molecules, with a focus on developing continuous glucose monitoring applications.
Novo's drug discovery head Marcus Schindler said: "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."
The Danish company said the staged acquisition could be worth more than $800 million to Ziylo. Details of the upfront payment and milestones were not disclosed.

Synthetic molecules

Ziylo's glucose binding molecules are synthetic molecules that were designed by professor Anthony Davis at the University of Bristol.
Novo said these stable, synthetic molecules exhibit an unprecedented selectivity to glucose in complex environments such as blood.
"The combination of this technology with state-of-the-art insulin engineering pioneered by Novo Nordisk aspires to realise the world's first glucose responsive insulin and transform the treatment of diabetes," the company added.
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