Novo Nordisk has announced a drug discovery collaboration with New York–based Kallyope to develop peptide therapeutics to treat obesity and diabetes.

Under the terms of the agreement, the value of which was not disclosed, Kallyope will receive an up-front payment and research support in exchange for granting a option for Novo Nordisk to license exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize up to six products discovered in the collaboration. Kallyope will receive a license fee if Novo Nordisk chooses to exercise an option to a therapeutic discovered and validated in the joint research plan and potential research, development, and sales milestones. In addition, Kallyope will receive royalties on worldwide product sales of licensed products.

Kallyope has developed a platform to interrogate the gut–brain axis and discover new medicines in multiple therapeutics areas. This axis includes released circulating peptides and metabolites, immune factors, and direct neuronal innervation. According to the company, the platform integrates single-cell sequencing, bioinformatics, functional and anatomical circuit mapping, and organoids, and has had some success identifying multiple potential secreted products that may play a role in metabolism.

“Novo Nordisk is renowned for its expertise in the discovery and development of peptide therapeutics, as well as its commitment to and leadership in therapeutics for obesity and diabetes,” said Nancy Thornberry, CEO of Kallyope. “Coupling Novo Nordisk's formidable capabilities with Kallyope's unique, sophisticated platform makes for a very attractive strategic collaboration that complements our small-molecule focus.”

Under the collaboration, the two companies will conduct in vitro and in vivo studies to validate a number of product candidates. Following validation and option exercise, Novo Nordisk will assume responsibility for further preclinical and clinical development, manufacturing, and commercialization.

“Novo Nordisk is very excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Kallyope. The company has developed a unique and innovative platform and is led by an outstanding leadership team,” said Marcus Schindler, senior vice president, Global Drug Discovery at Novo Nordisk. “In combination with the experience that Novo Nordisk has in disease biology understanding, peptidomics, and peptide production, the projects that we will collaborate on hold potential to make a real difference for people living with diabetes and obesity.”

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