The partnership is aimed at creating groundbreaking therapies for rare genetic disorders, as well as widely prevalent cardiometabolic diseases that have a significant impact on individuals' lives


Novo Nordisk partners with Life Edit Therapeutics to advance gene editing therapies. (Credit: PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay)

Novo Nordisk and Life Edit Therapeutics, a subsidiary of ElevateBio that specialises in innovative gene editing technologies and treatments, have recently joined forces through a collaborative research and development partnership. Their primary objective is to identify and advance gene editing therapies targeting specific therapeutic objectives.

In this collaboration, Novo Nordisk will primarily concentrate on enhancing base editing capabilities. By harnessing Life Edit’s comprehensive suite of gene editing technologies, they aim to achieve precise genome modifications.

The goal of this alliance is to create groundbreaking therapies for rare genetic disorders, as well as widely prevalent cardiometabolic diseases that have a significant impact on individuals’ lives.

Novo Nordisk executive vice president and chief scientific officer Marcus Schindler said: “At Novo Nordisk, we are committed to continuously building and leveraging technology platforms that open up new opportunities across our therapeutic areas to deliver potentially curative treatment options to people living with serious chronic diseases.

“We are excited about the opportunity to co-create novel treatments for multiple genetic diseases based on Life Edit’s gene editing technologies.”

Base editing is a gene editing technique that facilitates the conversion of one nucleotide base to another in DNA without the need for double-strand DNA breaks. This process involves combining a modified nuclease enzyme, which selectively cuts a single DNA strand, with a deaminase enzyme that modifies the target nucleotide base. This precise approach reduces the potential for off-target effects, making base editing a promising method for correcting genetic mutations associated with diseases.

The collaboration between Novo Nordisk and Life Edit Therapeutics enables the development of up to seven programmes. As per the agreement, Life Edit will receive an initial cash payment and is eligible for significant milestone payments, including those related to development, regulatory approvals, and commercial achievements.

For the first two development programmes, Life Edit stands to receive up to $335m per programme, and for the subsequent five programmes, up to $250m per programme. Novo Nordisk will bear all research and development costs, and Life Edit may also receive royalties based on future sales of therapeutic products, following a tiered structure. Additionally, Life Edit has the option to share in the global profits of one programme.

Furthermore, as part of ElevateBio’s $401m Series D financing, Novo Nordisk will make an equity investment in ElevateBio, the parent company of Life Edit.

Life Edit Therapeutics CEO and ElevateBio R&D president Mitchell Finer said: “The advancements we’ve made to our next-generation gene editing platform and base editing capabilities are opening the next frontier of treating disease through DNA editing.

“Combining our Life Edit platform and the ability to make any edit anywhere with Novo Nordisk’s deep disease biology and engineering expertise will bring us closer to delivering potentially curative therapies for some of the world’s most challenging genetic diseases.”

Life Edit Therapeutics is an integral component of ElevateBio’s comprehensive ecosystem, which encompasses a range of research and development (R&D) platform technologies, as well as end-to-end process development and cGMP manufacturing capabilities.