Novo Nordisk ‘thinking big’ in renewed collaboration with high-profile scientists Traverso, Langer
Three years ago, Novo Nordisk momentarily captured the center stage of the scientific world with the prototype for a whole new kind of delivery vehicle for insulin. Working with two world renowned scientists — Giovanni Traverso at Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and MIT’s Robert Langer — as well as the researchers in its labs, they designed a unique, leopard tortoise shell-shaped device that had the potential to land on the stomach wall and inject insulin into a patient’s blood stream.
The device was still years away from the clinic at the time, but Novo — which licensed sole rights — clearly loved the glow of attention for landmark advances. Insulin fit directly into their wheel house. And this delivery tech also had potential to expand far beyond insulin.
“Insulin is a proof of concept,” Langer told the New York Times when the story broke in 2019.
So it seems only natural that Novo Nordisk has now extended the pact begun in 2015, out to 2026.
This alliance is all about “thinking big, working with the best, and using our distinct capabilities to aim to achieve what might otherwise seem impossible,” enthused Marcus Schindler, executive VP and chief scientific officer of Novo Nordisk.
The scientists are pretty pleased as well.
“We continue to explore the immense potential for enhanced delivery of biologic drugs and stem cell-derived therapeutics through the platforms we are developing,” said Traverso.
As for Langer, he’s built a global rep around the biotechs he’s co-founded and the intricate network of advisory roles he plays for a host of biotechs, big and small. His foundational role in developing the lipid nanoparticle delivery tech for Moderna’s mRNA work earned him billionaire status, though there’s no sign he’s ever sold any of the company stock he got.
“I don’t believe in that,” he once told me about selling Moderna stock.
He does believe in continuing innovation, and shows no signs of letting up at the age of 73.