Aspect Biosystems and Novo Nordisk have signed an agreement to develop bio-printed tissue therapeutics, designed to replace, repair, or supplement biological functions inside the body to treat diabetes and obesity.

The partnership will leverage Aspect’s bioprinting technology and Novo Nordisk’s expertise and technology in stem cell differentiation and cell therapy development and manufacturing.

Under the terms of the agreement, Denmark-based Novo Nordisk will receive an exclusive global licence to use Aspect’s bioprinting technology to develop up to four therapeutic products for diabetes and obesity.

Canada-based biotech firm Aspect will receive initial payments of $75m, including an upfront payment, research funding and investment in the form of a convertible note.

The biotech company is also eligible to receive up to $650m in future milestone payments per product and tiered royalties on sales of the products emerging from the collaboration.

Novo Nordisk corporate vice president and cell therapy R&D head Jacob Sten Petersen said: “Novo Nordisk has built strong capabilities when it comes to producing functional and highly pure therapeutic replacement cells at the highest quality and at scale.

“Collaborating with Aspect Biosystems adds an important component to our strategy to develop comprehensive cell therapy products.

“We are excited to co-develop solutions for cell therapy delivery that could lead to life-changing treatments for those living with a serious chronic disease.”

Aspect Biosystems is a biotechnology company focused on developing bio-printed tissue therapeutics to transform the current treatment of incurable diseases.

The company developed a platform technology that enables a novel class of cell-based medicine that is biologically functional, encapsulated, and suitable for surgical implantation.

It has developed the platform using its full-stack tissue therapeutic platform, which combines its unique bioprinting technology, therapeutic cells, biomaterials, and computational design.

Novo Nordisk has expertise in differentiating stem cells into different cells that may be used to replace damaged and lost cells which could lead to a specific disease.

The company also has the manufacturing capabilities to produce these cells at scale.

The collaboration aims to combine the strengths of both companies to develop implantable bio-printed tissues to replace, repair or supplement biological functions.

It will initially focus on developing bio-printed tissue therapeutics designed to maintain normal blood glucose levels for people living with type 1 diabetes, eliminating the need for immunosuppression.

Aspect Biosystems CEO Tamer Mohamed said: “We are thrilled to partner with Novo Nordisk, a global leader and pioneer in the fight against diabetes and chronic diseases, to create breakthrough therapeutics that could transform the lives of millions of people around the world.

“This partnership leverages Aspect’s full-stack tissue therapeutic platform, talented team and bold vision, and reinforces our strategy to create bio-printed tissue therapeutics through partnerships with global industry leaders while also advancing our internal therapeutic pipeline.”