Duke-NUS, Novo Nordisk Join Hands to Study and Develop Stem Cell-based Therapy for Heart and Eye Diseases
By Laxmi Iyer
This five-year partnership aims to develop clinical-grade stem cell-derived cells to treat cardiomyopathy and macular degeneration
Duke-NUS Medical School (Duke-NUS) and Novo Nordisk A/S (Novo Nordisk), a Danish multinational pharmaceutical company, have joined hands to study and develop a novel stem cell-based therapy to treat two chronic conditions: heart failure and vision loss.
The partnership is the result of a December 2017 agreement between Duke-NUS and Novo Nordisk that will see funding support from Novo Nordisk for research at Duke-NUS to study and grow heart muscle and retinal cells to treat cardiomyopathy and macular degeneration. BioLamina, a Sweden-based biotechnology company, is a partner of this project and provides access to certain technologies proprietary to BioLamina.
Cardiomyopathy is a progressive disease affecting the heart muscle. In most cases, the heart muscle deteriorates and the heart stops pumping blood, usually leading to heart failure. Cardiovascular diseases are one of the leading causes of mortality worldwide and is responsible for nearly one in three deaths in Singapore.
Macular degeneration is a chronic irreversible medical condition that results in loss of vision because of damage to the macula, a part of the retina’s core. A person starts to go blind when the macula deteriorates. As the disease develops when a person ages, it is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is a major cause of blindness in those 60 years or older. In the West, more than 30% of its elderly population have some form of AMD. In Singapore, the figure is similar.
In the agreement between Duke-NUS and Novo Nordisk, Novo Nordisk will provide research funding for the next three to five years….
Source: Biotech Asia