Novo Nordisk and VLST Corporation, a Seattle-based biotechnology company focused on the development of therapeutics for autoimmune and inflammatory disorders, have entered into an exclusive, worldwide collaboration agreement to develop therapeutic targets utilising VLST's technology platform in the fields of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.

Under terms of the agreement, Novo Nordisk and VLST will jointly undertake a research programme to identify collaboration targets and develop product candidates within the field of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. In exchange for Novo Nordisk's rights to pursue the targets generated, VLST will receive an upfront payment and equity investment totalling 12 million US dollars as well as milestone payments which are dependent upon clinical and regulatory milestones across multiple disease indications worldwide.
In addition, Novo Nordisk will support the research programmes through the committed funding of VLST personnel working on the collaboration targets over the next three years. Novo Nordisk will provide resources to move programmes through preclinical development, clinical development and commercialisation for each product candidate resulting from the collaboration. The collaboration structure will allow Novo Nordisk to build programmes in autoimmunity and inflammation while providing VLST with the ability to develop its own programmes that are not part of this collaboration either on its own or with other partners. The research collaboration will run for three years with an option to extend.

"VLST's platform technology provides a promising avenue for Novo Nordisk to continue expanding and enhancing its research and development in the field of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders," said Terje Kalland, senior vice president and head of Biopharmaceuticals Research Unit at Novo Nordisk. "As Novo Nordisk continues to build its presence in Seattle, the collaboration with VLST marks an important step in our overall strategy to develop therapeutics for autoimmune and inflammatory disorders.”

"We are pleased to collaborate with industry leader Novo Nordisk to develop innovative therapeutic candidates from the VLST technology platform," said Martin Simonetti, president and chief executive officer of VLST. "Novo Nordisk has a long history of successful collaborations in Seattle. We look forward to building on this success to advance VLST's programmes with Novo Nordisk. We believe this significant collaboration reflects the promise of VLST's platform technology to deliver novel therapeutic targets to a range of therapeutic indications and look forward to expanding this potential with other partners."