Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk bets £115m on post-Brexit UK science

University of Oxford base targeting type 2 diabetes to be built up over 10 years

Novo Nordisk diabetes research centre at the University of Oxford is to employ 100 scientists. Photograph: Novo Nordisk/PA Wire

Novo Nordisk diabetes research centre at the University of Oxford is to employ 100 scientists. Photograph: Novo Nordisk/PA Wire

 

Novo Nordisk, the world’s top maker of diabetes drugs, is investing £115 million (€134 million) in a new research centre in Britain, undeterred by Brexit.

The Danish company said on Monday it would invest the money over 10 years in the centre based at the University of Oxford, which will employ 100 scientists hunting for new ways to treat type 2 diabetes.

Britain’s vote last year to leave the European Union was disappointing but did not undermine the case for working with a renowned centre of science, said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Novo’s chief scientist.

The decision was welcomed by the government of prime minister Theresa May. Treasury minister David Gauke said Novo’s move was “a vote of confidence in the UK’s position as a world leader in science and research”.

Novo’s move is therefore reassuring, although the bulk of the company’s work in producing new diabetes treatments, including large-scale drug development and manufacturing, will still be done in Denmark.

Novo Nordisk has built a booming business over the last two decades by focusing on diabetes, which is a growing problem worldwide, driven by obesity and sedentary lifestyles. More recently, however, it has struggled with squeezed prices in the key US market. – (Reuters)