- Diabetes drugmaker Novo Nordisk is partnering with Dewpoint Therapeutics in a deal aimed at uncovering new treatments for insulin resistance by targeting cellular droplets known as biomolecular condensates.
- Under a collaboration announced Wednesday, Dewpoint will receive $55 million upfront from Novo, which plans to develop small molecule drugs against targets discovered using Dewpoint’s technology. Success could earn Dewpoint additional milestone payments.
- The collaboration comes as longtime diabetes drug developers like Novo shift their focus to new types of treatments to control blood sugar and manage weight. Meanwhile, Novo, along with rivals Eli Lilly and Sanofi, recently cut prices for their older insulin products in the U.S.
Launched in 2019, Dewpoint is based on the work of Anthony Hyman, a researcher who was part of the team that discovered biomolecular condensates. Shape-shifting blobs, these condensates form inside cells and can contain proteins and other molecules. Researchers have started to explore how condensates affect chemical reactions in the cell and potentially play a role in disease.
Dewpoint is one of several biotechnology companies attempting to create new treatments through studying condensates. While Dewpoint is working across several different therapeutic areas, its metabolic research is what drew the attention of Novo, the pharma company that sells the in-demand diabetes drug Ozempic.
The partnership will focus on the discovery of small molecule drugs to treat insulin resistance and diabetic complications. The companies claim that undoing the dysregulation of condensates could help forestall development of insulin resistance, which is a key factor in Type 2 diabetes.
Treatment of insulin resistance usually involves lifestyle changes such as losing weight, increasing physical activity or taking medication to keep blood sugar in check.
Along with creating small molecule drugs with Dewpoint, Novo has an option to develop, using its own technology, non-small molecule drugs against condensates they identify.
Dewpoint is eligible for milestone payments of up to $690 million. If Novo decides to pursue non-small molecule approaches to targeting condensates, Dewpoint could receive up to $107.5 million in total per product.