Novozymes’ agreement with GSK brings payback closer

GSK is seeking approval in Europe for diabetes drug Eperzan

Danish enzymes manufacturer Novozymes is moving closer to getting a return on an investment of more than US$200m, reports Bloomberg, as GlaxoSmithKline seeks approval to sell its diabetes drug Eperzan (albiglutide) in Europe.

Svend Licht, Business Development Manager of Novozymes’ Biopharma division, told the news agency that Novozymes will receive a royalty in the low- to mid-single digit percentage on sales from supplying technology that prolongs the life of the drug while in the body.

GSK submitted a Marketing Authorisation Application to the European Medicines Agency last week after finishing testing. The UK drugmaker has already submitted an application in the US for albiglutide.

Licht told Bloomberg that approval would be validation for the effort put into its development.

‘We have believed that it will happen but the proof of the pudding is when it actually comes to market,’ he said.

The technology promises to increase the active life of the drug, meaning type 2 diabetes sufferers could inject once a week instead of daily. Novozymes uses genetically modified proteins that allow GSK to fuse its drug with albumin found in blood serum, fooling the body into accepting the active ingredients that it would normally expel.

Novozymes acquired the albufuse technology used in Eperzan when it purchased Delta Biotechnology from Sanofi in 2006. The Danish company’s scientists, working in a laboratory in the UK, have incorporated more flexibility into a newer second-generation version that has already been adopted by some drugmakers, Licht told Bloomberg.

Novozymes is also supplying technology for a Teva cancer treatment.

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