Belfast Telegraph

Danish firm to set up Oxford University diabetes research centre despite Brexit

Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk is to invest £115 million in a new diabetes research centre in Oxford despite the unfortunate "uncertainties" created by Brexit.

The move is to go ahead despite last year's vote for the UK to leave the EU, with the company citing "world-leading scientists from the University of Oxford" as the reason for the decision.

A spokesman for the company said: "Right now, there are a lot of uncertainties when it comes to the consequences of Brexit. Obviously, less uncertainty would have been preferable.

He added: "The uncertainties of Brexit are unfortunate but do not challenge this next step of a long collaboration between Novo Nordisk and University of Oxford."

The company also said it would have to "navigate" any potential issues as they emerge.

The centre will employ up to 100 researchers based in an Oxford University research centre, with total investment expected to be around £115 million over 10 years.

World-renowned researcher in the fundamental biology of pancreatic islets, insulin action, diabetes and related conditions Professor James D Johnson has been appointed head of the facility.

Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, chief science officer and executive vice president of Novo Nordisk, said: "This collaboration brings together some of the world's sharpest minds in the field of diabetes to seek new targets for therapeutic innovation.

"It combines Novo Nordisk's 90 years' experience in developing treatments for diabetes with the expertise of world-leading scientists from the University of Oxford.

"Our vision is that the unique combination of industrial and academic know-how will eventually lead to a new generation of treatments to improve the lives of people with Type 2 diabetes."

Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine, University of Oxford, said the collaboration was an opportunity to mix competence at the campus with the company's groundbreaking research and results in diabetes.

He added: "This collaboration underlines the importance of shared research and cutting-edge science across boundaries.

"Employees at Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford and researchers at the University of Oxford will have the opportunity for daily interaction to share knowledge and insights that will potentially produce new medicines for people living with Type 2 diabetes and its complications."