Industry-Sponsored Research Week

Novo Nordisk launches €300M Center for Stem Cell Medicine, partnering with three research institutions


By David Schwartz
Published: December 21st, 2021

Seeking to deliver more real-world patient benefits from the huge potential of stem cell therapies, the Novo Nordisk Foundation is making a €300 million, 10-year investment to create the Center for Stem Cell Medicine (reNEW). The Center will be a collaboration between Novo Nordisk and three research institutions – Australia’s Murdoch Children’s Institute, the University of Copenhagen, and Leiden University Medical Center.

Professor Melissa Little from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute has been appointed CEO of the reNEW partnership and will also serve as executive director and the Center, which will have a governing hub based at the University of Copenhagen.

“I am very excited about the amazing opportunity that reNEW represents,” says Little. “Building on the stem cell research excellence that exists within all partner institutions, the Center will reach a critical mass that is required for translating fundamental discoveries into stem cell medicine. The international collaboration that forms the basis for the new Center will provide access to extensive technical and clinical translation expertise across all sites. Across the breadth of stem cell medicine this will lead to new drugs based on human stem cell models, cell and tissue therapies and novel cell and gene therapies.”

“Stem cell medicine truly promises to be a game changer when it comes to addressing some of the major health challenges facing the world today,” adds Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation. “With the establishment of this new Center, the aim is not just to further stem cell-based research through international collaborations, but also to strengthen the pathway from scientific discovery to targeted outcome, whether in the form of new medical technology or new forms of treatment for the benefit of patients.”

The reNEW model is focused on patient-centered outcomes focused on three research themes:

  • The reBUILD theme will focus on the use of stem cells to regenerate or recreate tissue after it has been damaged or destroyed. This will encompass stem cell-based therapies for Parkinson’s disease, congenital heart disease, diabetes, ulcerative colitis and chronic renal disease.
  • The reSOLVE theme will screen for potential drug candidates using stem cell-based models of human tissue, including lab-grown models of mini organs such as 3D gut organoids to screen for drugs to treat conditions such as chronic ulcers and inherited kidney and heart disease.
  • The reWRITE theme will use a combination of gene editing and stem cell technologies to develop new treatment strategies for genetically inherited diseases, such as immune deficiency disorders and progressive congenital muscle disorders.

Scientists at the three institutions will work in collaborative groups across all themes to provide new therapeutic options for patients with incurable diseases. Exchange programs and joint technology platforms in the reNEW model will fuel these collaborations and also the training of new generations of scientists in translational stem medicine.

Pro-Rector for Research at the University of Copenhagen David Dreyer Lassen says he’s looking forward to taking the first steps toward better stem cell-based medical interventions. “I am very pleased that the University of Copenhagen will host the governing hub and be a strong partner in this exciting international consortium, with a strong emphasis on translating excellent basic research into future stem cell-based treatments,” he stated.

Research activities within the Center are slated to begin in January.

Source: Novo Nordisk

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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