Novo Nordisk acquires Ziylo to accelerate glucose responsive insulin

Ziylo and Novo Nordisk have announced that Novo Nordisk has acquired all of the shares of Ziylo, a University of Bristol spin-out company based at Unit DX science incubator in Bristol, UK. Ziylo has been pioneering the use of its platform technology – synthetic glucose binding molecules – for therapeutic and diagnostic applications.

The acquisition gives Novo Nordisk full rights to Ziylo’s glucose binding molecule platform to develop glucose responsive insulins. The development of glucose responsive insulins is a key strategic area for Novo Nordisk in its effort to develop this next generation of insulin which would lead to a safer and more effective insulin therapy. A glucose responsive insulin would help eliminate the risk of hypoglycemia, which is the main risk associated with insulin therapy and one of the main barriers for achieving optimal glucose control. Thus, a glucose responsive insulin could also lead to better metabolic control and thus overall reduce the burden of diabetes for people living with the disease.

Prior to closing of the acquisition, certain research activities have been spun out of Ziylo to a new company, Carbometrics. Carbometrics has entered into a research collaboration with Novo Nordisk to assist with ongoing optimisation of glucose binding molecules for use in glucose responsive insulins. Carbometrics has licenced rights to develop non-therapeutic applications of glucose binding molecules, with a focus on developing continuous glucose monitoring applications.

Ziylo’s glucose binding molecules are synthetic molecules that were designed by Professor Anthony Davis at the University of Bristol. These stable, synthetic molecules exhibit an unprecedented selectivity to glucose in complex environments such as blood. The combination of this technology with state-of-the-art insulin engineering pioneered by Novo Nordisk aspires to realise the world’s first glucose responsive insulin and transform the treatment of diabetes.

Marcus Schindler, senior vice president, Global Drug Discovery, Novo Nordisk said, “We believe the glucose binding molecules discovered by the Ziylo team together with Novo Nordisk world-class insulin capabilities have the potential to lead to the development of glucose responsive insulins which we hope can remove the risk of hypoglycaemia and ensure optimal glucose control for people with diabetes,”

Harry Destecroix, PhD, chief executive officer and co-founder of Ziylo said, “Novo Nordisk is the ideal company to maximise the potential of the Ziylo glucose binding molecules in glucose responsive insulins and diabetes applications, and it brings hope of a truly groundbreaking treatment to diabetes patients. Novo Nordisk is the leader in the diabetes field, with deep clinical development and regulatory expertise and an established commercial infrastructure to deliver important new therapies to patients.”