Novo Nordisk Acquires Ziylo in Potential $800-Million Deal

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The acquisition will support Novo Nordisk’s development of glucose-responsive insulins.

Novo Nordisk announced that it has acquired all shares of Ziylo, a University of Bristol spin-out company based at Unit DX, a science incubator in Bristol, UK.

Under the terms of the transaction, Novo Nordisk acquired all shares in Ziylo for an upfront payment and earn-outs with contingent milestone payments. Total payments under the agreement could ultimately exceed $800 million upon the achievement of certain development, regulatory, and sales milestones by Novo Nordisk.

Novo Nordisk reports that, prior to closing the acquisition, certain research activities have been spun out of Ziylo to Carbometrics, a new company that has entered into a research collaboration with Novo Nordisk to assist with ongoing optimization of glucose-binding molecules for use in glucose-responsive insulins. Carbometrics has licensed rights to develop non-therapeutic applications of glucose-binding molecules with a focus on developing continuous glucose-monitoring applications.

The acquisition gives Novo Nordisk full rights to Ziylo's glucose binding molecule platform to develop glucose responsive insulins. According to Novo Nordisk, the development of glucose responsive insulins is an important strategic area its effort to develop next-generation insulin.


Ziylo's glucose-binding molecules are synthetic molecules were designed by Professor Anthony Davis at the University of Bristol. These stable, synthetic molecules exhibit an unprecedented selectivity to glucose in complex environments such as blood, according to the company. The combination of this technology with newer insulin engineering pioneered by Novo Nordisk aims to develop the world's first glucose-responsive insulin.

"We believe the glucose-binding molecules discovered by the Ziylo team together with Novo Nordisk world-class insulin capabilities have the potential to lead to the development of glucose-responsive insulins which we hope can remove the risk of hypoglycemia and ensure optimal glucose control for people with diabetes," said Marcus Schindler, senior vice president, Global Drug Discovery, Novo Nordisk, in an Aug. 17, 2018 company press release.

Source: Novo Nordisk