We’re working at the forefront of stem cell research

For serious chronic diseases caused by the loss or damage of specific cell types, pluripotent stem cells can potentially be used to generate new cells, providing a cure by replacing those cells destroyed. For almost two decades, Novo Nordisk has been researching the directed differentiation of pluripotent stem cells into insulin producing beta cells for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. We have now expanded our commitment to stem cell-based research to other serious chronic diseases, with the hope of continuing to offer life-changing treatments for even more patients in the future.


Watch two of our R&D leaders explain our expanded commitment to stem cell-based research as of May 2018.

Building our stem cell technology platform

In an exclusive collaboration with the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), Novo Nordisk is developing Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) compliant human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines, with the goal to further develop these into future regenerative medicine therapies. In 2018, employees from UCSF and Novo Nordisk started working together in a new GMP laboratory at UCSF on deriving the cell lines that are expected to define a new quality standard in production of stem cell-based therapies.


USCF California


“It has been a pleasure to work with our colleagues from Novo Nordisk who are uniformly collegial and collaborative.”

Michael McMaster
Professor in the department of Cell and Tissue Biology
University of California San Francisco

Michael McMaster

Partnering to pursue stem cell-based therapies

The development of GMP stem cell lines in collaboration with UCSF has enabled Novo Nordisk to expand our focus on serious chronic diseases beyond diabetes. Some of the challenges to overcome in stem cell-based research are the development of differentiation protocols for specific cell types as well as cell encapsulation technologies for transplantation purposes. In Novo Nordisk, we collaborate with scientific leaders around the world to overcome these barriers to stem cell-based treatment across a range of disease areas:


Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease
Stem cell-based treatment in collaboration with Biolamina and Lund University    

Chronic heart failure

Chronic heart failure
Stem cell-based treatment in collaboration with Biolamina and DUKE National University Singapore Medical School

eye disease

Dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
Stem cell-based treatment in collaboration with Biolamina and DUKE National University Singapore Medical School    

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes
Encapsulation device in collaboration with Cornell University

“After two decades of intense stem cell research, we’re now at a turning point.”

Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, Chief Scientific Officer, talks about the exciting potential of stem cells to cure serious chronic diseases, and Novo Nordisk increased commitment in the field.


Read Mads’ perspective

Our position on stem cells ethics

Novo Nordisk only works with human embryonic stem cells derived from surplus material from in vitro fertilisation treatment that are donated with voluntarily given informed consent.


Read our position on stem cell bioethics

What are stem cells?

Careers in R&D

We are looking for scientific talent to join us. If you are interested in joining our research and development teams, explore your opportunities at our careers page.

View R&D jobs



Where to meet us

We attend partnering events all over the world to meet with new potential partners. If you wish to arrange a meeting, please contact us.

Our events calendar

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