Novo Nordisk (NYSE: NVO) donated a license for its very extensive small-molecule compound library to the National Center for Drug Screening [NCDS], which is affiliated with the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences. The compound library contains an estimated 325,000 chemical structures. Because Novo Nordisk is turning its attention from small-molecule drugs to protein-based compounds, the company wanted the library, accumulated over decades of research, to be put to good use. It feels that NCDS will be able to accomplish that by using the library to find drugs for unmet needs.
The NCDS will screen the library’s compounds and its database for drug candidates that can treat and prevent the infectious tropical diseases that afflict people in poor countries. In this endeavor, the NCDS will be aided by the World Health Organization-based Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases [TDR].
The TDR will select targets and screens to support the identification of new drug candidates or leads for infectious tropical diseases, including malaria, tuberculosis, African sleeping sickness, dengue, Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis, filariasis, onchocerciasis and soil-transmitted helminths. It will also bring in young scientists from developing countries, especially Africa, to be trained at the institute, combining scientists from developing and developed countries.
Novo Nordisk was the first international pharmaceutical company to establish an R&D center in China, building a Center of Excellence in Beijing in 2002. Previously, the company constructed a manufacturing facility to make insulin in Tianjin in 1996. Novo Nordisk has been selling diabetes-related products in China since the 1960s.