Aspect Biosystems and Novo Nordisk A/S have entered a collaboration, development, and licensing agreement to develop bioprinted tissue therapeutics designed to replace, repair, or supplement biological functions inside the body, with the aim of delivering a new class of truly disease-modifying treatments for diabetes and obesity. The collaboration will leverage Aspect’s proprietary bioprinting technology and Novo Nordisk’s expertise and technology in stem cell differentiation and cell therapy development and manufacturing.
Under the terms of the agreement, Novo Nordisk will receive an exclusive, worldwide license to use Aspect’s bioprinting technology to develop up to four products for the treatment of diabetes and/or obesity. Aspect will receive initial payments of $75 million, including an upfront payment, research funding, and an investment in the form of a convertible note. Aspect is also eligible to receive up to $650 million in future development, regulatory, commercial, and sales milestone payments per product, as well as tiered royalties on future product sales.
“We are thrilled to partner with Novo Nordisk, a global leader and pioneer in the fight against diabetes and chronic diseases, to create breakthrough therapeutics that could transform the lives of millions of people around the world,” said Tamer Mohamed, chief executive officer of Aspect Biosystems. “This partnership leverages Aspect’s full-stack tissue therapeutic platform, talented team, and bold vision, and reinforces our strategy to create bioprinted tissue therapeutics through partnerships with global industry leaders while also advancing our internal therapeutic pipeline.”
Aspect Biosystems has developed a platform technology that may allow for the development of a novel class of cell-based medicine designed to be biologically functional, encapsulated to be immune-protective, and suitable for surgical implantation. Novo Nordisk has developed expertise to differentiate stem cells into a wide array of cells that may be used to replace damaged and lost cells (which could lead to a specific disease, such as insulin-producing beta cells in type 1 diabetes, as well as manufacturing capabilities to produce the cells at scale).
By combining the strongholds of each company, the collaboration aims to develop implantable bioprinted tissues to replace, repair, or supplement biological functions. These tissues will be designed to be allogeneic – meaning the cells used are derived from a single source to increase the viability of future large-scale manufacturing.
“Novo Nordisk has built strong capabilities when it comes to producing functional and highly pure therapeutic replacement cells at the highest quality and at scale,” said Jacob Sten Petersen, corporate vice president of Cell Therapy R&D at Novo Nordisk. “Collaborating with Aspect Biosystems adds an important component to our strategy to develop comprehensive cell therapy products. We are excited to co-develop solutions for cell therapy delivery that could lead to life-changing treatments for those living with a serious chronic disease.”
The collaboration will initially focus on developing bioprinted tissue therapeutics designed to maintain normal blood glucose levels without the need for immunosuppression, which may represent a transformative treatment for people living with type 1 diabetes.