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Jan 31, 2017 08:11 AM EST

Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk has committed to fund Oxford University's diabetes research center. The center is estimated to cost £115 million and will be funded over 10 years. Financial Times reported that Oxford University will have a diabetes research center and Novo Nordisk will fund it for over 10 years. Sir John Bell, a professor of medicine at the university, said that the major investment may signal the revival of drug discovery research in the country.

Sir John Bell noted that there was a time when 11 companies did early-stage discovery research in the U.K. Now, however, there are just two or three. With the upcoming research center, it is likely that the number will bounce back to six or seven.

It is expected that about 100 Novo Nordisk scientists will be working at the Oxford research center to find new ways of treating type-2 diabetes. It will be built on the institution's growing biomedical campus in Headington.

Sir Bell added that only GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca as well as Belgium's UCB still continue with discovery research in Britain. Other companies are part of later-stage development work, such as clinical trials or sales, marketing and management.

Speaking to BBC, Novo Nordisk executive vice-president and chief science officer Mads Thomsen said that Brexit gave the company a pause but they ultimately decided to push through with the plan due to Oxford University's academic excellence. David Gauke, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, described the investment as a "vote of confidence."

According to Belfast Telegraph, Thomsen added that the collaboration between Oxford and Novo Nordisk will bring together some of the sharpest minds in the field of diabetes for therapeutic innovation. Professor James D. Johnson will be heading the facility.

Sir John Bell admitted that the collaboration would underline the importance of shared research and cutting-edge science regardless of boundaries. It would also allow researchers at Novo Nordisk and Oxford to share knowledge and insights that can be used to produce new medicine for type-2 diabetes.

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