Christian Petersen lives in Spain and has type 2 diabetes.

DISEASE AREAS

Type 2 diabetes

Discovering new treatments for type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a complex chronic disease that occurs when the body cannot make enough insulin or use it effectively. People living with type 2 diabetes need treatment in order to keep their insulin and blood sugar levels under control.

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that controls the amount of glucose in the blood. Too little insulin means the body cannot absorb glucose from the food we eat. When this happens, blood glucose levels rise, and over time, these increased levels can damage blood vessels and reduce the supply of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the body’s organs and nerves.

People living with type 2 diabetes, whose bodies do not respond well, or are resistant to insulin, may need treatment to help their bodies better process glucose. This can help prevent long-term complications.

Every day, we are working to improve treatment options for people living with type 2 diabetes. From more effective medicines to the way they are taken, we leave no stone unturned.

Meet Maricarmen from Mexico City living with type 2 diabetes.

Living with type 2 diabetes

Life changes after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. There will be new routines and habits that are important to ensure good health and avoid serious complications.

For people newly diagnosed, it may be possible to control blood sugar levels with a healthier diet and more exercise. But many times, type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease, and most people living with type 2 diabetes will need to start medication, such as a GLP-1 or insulin treatment.

Meet Maricarmen in the video above and hear her formula for keeping  her blood sugar levels in a healthy range.

The facts of type 2 diabetes

90%

of all diabetes cases are type 2 diabetes globally.

380m

people live with type 2 diabetes globally.

2-4x

the increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

7x

the increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes for someone living with obesity.

Meet one of our scientists, Jian Wu, and hear about our team pursuing a GLP-1 tablet for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Discovering better ways to improve life with type 2 diabetes

Our scientists work with a simple purpose - find the unmet needs in chronic disease and translate them into new therapeutic solutions. One of those ideas is advancing type 2 diabetes treatment from injections to tablets. 

This has been a goal for many years, but the challenge has been the body’s digestive system. Once swallowed, biological medicines, like insulin, are digested by enzymes in the body, the same way food is broken down. We needed to find a way for biological medicines to get through the digestive system intact and get into the blood.

We have recently succeeded and shown that a synthetic version of the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) hormone can be taken in a tablet. The GLP-1 hormone is naturally produced in the gut and gets released in response to food. When released, GLP-1 stimulates insulin production in the pancreas, which again lowers the amount of glucose in the blood.

This is the world’s first oral treatment for type 2 diabetes with a GLP-1 receptor agonist. We hope that it will not be too long before we will be able to offer a broader range of oral treatments. Not only for diabetes, but for the  other serious chronic diseases in our research portfolio.

Type 2 diabetes illustration displaying a city outline.

A strong pipeline focused on the patients’ needs

We have been innovating how insulin is injected for almost 100 years, driven by the challenge to make drug delivery as simple and convenient as possible.

Our starting place is the people living with type 2 diabetes, listening to their challenges when self-treating, and understanding how to make treatment safer and easier.

We use scientific methods from anthropology to biochemistry to provide data and direction to our research and engineering skills, and experience.

Within the field of type 2 diabetes, we are currently researching into the following areas:

  • Glucose-responsive insulins
  • Connected devices
  • Oral antidiabetics
  • Cardiovascular benefit
  • Weight reduction

Follow our progress as our scientists’ work on new treatments for type 2 diabetes.

Explore our ambitious R&D pipeline.

Chief Scientific Officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen

The technology behind tablets

What if medicines injected by millions could be delivered in tablets? Our research and development team is finding answers to this enduring question.  

 Our Chief Scientific Officer, Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, is leading the way.  Read Mads's reflections on the magnitude of the scientific challenge and the progress made in his laboratories.

Discover the technology behind tablets

PATIENT SUPPORT

Need help with type 2 diabetes?

Our patient support site, DiabetesWhatsNext, is for people living with type 2 diabetes. Here, you can get advice and guidance to help you.