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Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk bets $145 million on post-Brexit UK science

By Ben Hirschler

LONDON (Reuters) – Novo Nordisk, the world’s prime maker of diabetes medicine, is investing 115 million kilos ($145 million) in a brand new analysis centre in Britain, undeterred by Brexit.

The Danish firm stated on Monday it might make investments the cash over 10 years within the centre based mostly on the University of Oxford, which can make use of 100 scientists attempting to find new methods to deal with sort 2 diabetes.

Britain’s vote final yr to go away the European Union was disappointing however didn’t undermine the case for working with a famend centre of science, stated Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Novo’s chief scientist.

“There’s no doubt that Brexit created uncertainty for a period in our deliberations,” he informed Reuters.

“It is unfortunate, but we’ve passed that challenge and I’m convinced we’ve no need to worry…Oxford is a worldwide powerhouse in medicine.”

The determination was welcomed by the federal government of Prime Minister Theresa May, who final week highlighted life sciences when she laid out a brand new industrial technique designed to rebalance Britain’s closely services-based financial system after it leaves the EU.

Treasury minister David Gauke stated Novo’s transfer was “a vote of confidence in the UK’s position as a world-leader in science and research”.

Brexit has raised considerations within the life sciences sector, with teachers fretting over a possible hole in funding at present offered by the EU and drugmakers involved over future drugs regulation.

The European Medicines Agency – based mostly in London for now, however more likely to transfer after Brexit – at present presents a one-stop-shop for drug approvals, smoothing the sale of prescription drugs throughout borders.

Given these challenges, some drug firm executives have warned that Britain might lose its attraction as a centre for analysis and manufacturing.

Novo’s transfer is subsequently reassuring, though the majority of the corporate’s work in producing new diabetes remedies, together with large-scale drug improvement and manufacturing, will nonetheless be achieved in Denmark.

Significantly, Britain’s two huge home drugmakers have each dedicated to new investments within the nation lately.

AstraZeneca is ending a $500 million headquarters and analysis centre in Cambridge, whereas GlaxoSmithKline pledged $360 million to increase manufacturing in Britain in July, simply 5 weeks after the Brexit vote.

Novo Nordisk has constructed a booming enterprise during the last 20 years by focusing on diabetes, which is a rising drawback worldwide, pushed by weight problems and sedentary life. More just lately, nevertheless, it has struggled with squeezed costs in the important thing U.S. market.

It stated James Johnson, at present a professor on the University of British Columbia, had been appointed head of the Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford. Johnson is an professional on pancreas biology, insulin motion and diabetes.

The new set-up will permit for day by day interactions between teachers at Oxford and Novo’s industrial scientists.

(Editing by Ruth Pitchford/Keith Weir)

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