Novo Nordisk, the world’s top maker of diabetes drugs, is investing $145 million in a new research centre based at the University of Oxford, despite Brexit.
The research centre will employing 100 academics and scientists and their aim will be finding new ways of treating type 2 diabetes. The investement will be spread over 10 ten years.
Speaking exclusively to the BBC, Novo Nordisk’s executive vice-president said the UK’s decision to leave the EU made the firm pause for thought: “Obviously we think the Brexit decision was unfortunate. That being said, Oxford University has been around for 800 years so the academic excellence and our company’s ability to turn that into medicines hasn’t really changed,” he said.
The roles among Novo Nordisk and University of Oxford already well defined and split: the centre in Oxford will do the disease research and molecular biology, while drugs or treatment developing and manufacturing will be done back in Denmark.
So if on one side the University will get some rewards for any success, Novo will have the largest part of the shares of any commercial income, as the most of the investment is made by the Danish Compnay.
James Johnson, a professor at the University of British Columbia and an expert on pancreas biology, insulin action and diabetes, is being named as possible candidate to manage the Novo Nordisk Research Centre Oxford.
Foreign companies and investor are important for UK’s research and univesrites as most of the funding comes from abroad and UK investors active in UK science are a small minority.
Other companies, despite Brexit, have decided to invest in UK : AstraZeneca is now finishing the $500 million Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC) and GlaxoSmithKline had annouced in July 2016 that it will invest about $360 million to expand manufacturing at three of its sites in the UK .
However, as consequences of Brexit, it is likely that EMA – the European Medicines Agency responsible for the scientific evaluation, supervision and safety monitoring of medicines developed by pharmaceutical companies for use in the EU – will leave its London offices to move to another EU.country. ( read also: Netherlands would like to host EMA– European Medicines Agency)
Novo’s decision has been welcomed by David Gauke, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, as “a vote of confidence in the UK’s position as a world-leader in science and research”. The move seems to be the icing on the cake for Theresa May’s new industrial strategy to rebalance Britain’s heavily services-based economy after it leaves the EU.
Source: BBC, Reuters