The GMOs are handled under contained conditions and only GMOs classified as Class 1 are used in our production of pharmaceuticals. Class 1 is the lowest risk category, covering GMOs which have no known adverse effect on human health or the external environment.
Novo Nordisk's production is based on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in a contained environment. This means that all substances and fluids containing GMOs are kept in closed pipes and tanks throughout the entire production process.
The cells and micro-organisms that express the genes coding for a particular protein in most cases secrete the protein (pharmaceutical products) into the culture fluid. The GMOs are grown in large-scale growth facilities for production (fermentation tanks). The product is subsequently separated from the cells and transferred into the recovery and purification processes, followed by the formulation process, to prepare the product for human use.
Potential risks involved in the application of gene technology are thoroughly assessed at Novo Nordisk. Risk assessments are carried out prior to the use of GMOs for both research and production purposes, to remain compliant with regulations and the high Novo Nordisk standards.
Our contained use of approved GMOs for research and production is based on more than 25 years of risk assessments and safety records. No damage to human health or the environment has ever been recorded.
Over the years, we have developed modern insulins based on a new yeast strain, producing more product from each yeast cell. This has enabled us to reduce the consumption of water, energy and raw materials per produced unit.
The main waste product is an organic material known as yeast sludge, which is recycled as raw material for biogas generation.