Danish healthcare company Novo Nordisk has signed an agreement with Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics, a biotechnology company of Japanese conglomerate Fujifilm, to develop iPSC-derived cell therapies.

Under the terms of the agreement, Novo Nordisk will obtain a non-exclusive right to use Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics’ iPSC platform for research and development purposes.

The Danish drugmaker can use the GMP-grade iPSC cell lines for the clinical development and commercial manufacturing of iPSC-derived cell therapies for serious chronic diseases.

Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics has previously licenced its iPSC platform to several biotech companies Cynata Therapeutics, Sana Biotechnology, and Lonza, among others.

Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics chief executive officer Tomoyuki Hasegawa said: “Our goal is to drive the iPSC field forward by building strategic partnerships.

“Novo Nordisk is strongly positioned to be a pioneer in delivering cell-based treatments to tackle serious chronic diseases based on iPSC-derived therapeutics.”

Novo Nordisk said that it is advancing the cell therapy research, and aims to deliver cell therapies that can halt a disease for people living with chronic diseases.

The partnership with Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics will provide access to a variety of GMP-grade pluripotent stem cell lines, said Fujifilm.

Novo Nordisk cell therapy R&D corporate vice president Jacob Sten Petersen said: “We have the ambition to deliver cell therapies with the potential to halt a disease or even reverse its progress for people living with serious chronic diseases.

“In order to fulfil that ambition, we need access to a variety of GMP-grade pluripotent stem cell lines, and we are very excited about this agreement with Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics that provides us access to their state-of-the-art iPSC platform.”

In a separate development, Novo Nordisk received the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its weight-loss medication, Wegovy.

Wegovy is an injectable semaglutide-based prescription medication, initially approved in June 2021 specifically for chronic weight management in obese adults.

It was indicated for adults who are overweight with at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol.

The current FDA approval expands the indication of the anti-obesity drug to include patients, aged 12 years and above.

The FDA approved the paediatric indication based on the results from a clinical trial conducted at the University of Minnesota, in 201 adolescents with obesity.