CBMR secures five-year funding extension from Novo Nordisk Foundation

University of Copenhagen
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4. maj 2023 grant, metabolism

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded CBMR up to DKK 1 billion (€134.2 million) to support research toward innovative approaches to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cardiometabolic diseases.

Staff Scientists Dawei Geng in the Metabolomics Platform

The prevalence of cardiometabolic diseases continues to increase globally. The number of people living with diabetes has quadrupled over the past forty years, while the rate of obesity has tripled over the same period. Today, more than one billion people live with cardiometabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

More effective approaches to diagnosing, preventing, and treating these diseases are needed to address this growing public health crisis.

To support this need, the Novo Nordisk Foundation is continuing its support for the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR) at the University of Copenhagen, with a new grant of up to DKK 1 billion (€134.2 million).

“With this grant, the Novo Nordisk Foundation enables the Center to achieve an even deeper understanding of the underlying courses of cardiometabolic diseases. This is needed for us to develop better prevention and treatment options. Ultimately, we hope this knowledge will lead to development of solutions that are tailored to the individual – an approach we also refer to as precision health,” says Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, which has supported the Center since its establishment in 2010.

Goodbye to the “average” patient?

Over the coming years, the Center will continue and evolve its fundamental research into the biological mechanisms underpinning cardiometabolic diseases. Through its interdisciplinary and collaborative research culture, the Center’s scientists will also join forces and address challenging questions. One key research goal is to sort patients with cardiometabolic disease into subtypes and identify their distinct genetic and molecular markers.

“We now know that cardiometabolic diseases have many distinct patient groups. That means that there is no ‘average’ patient and no ‘one-size-fits-all’ treatment. However, we still have a lot to learn about the differences between patient subgroups, and how they are influenced by factors such as genetics, lifestyle and the environment,” says CBMR Executive Director Professor Juleen R. Zierath.

The Center will also increase its investments in innovation to drive the translation of its discoveries into transformative treatments and therapies and support the development of precision health globally. Since 2018, the Center scientists have submitted 10 patents and started 5 spin-out companies based on discoveries and innovations made at CBMR.

Educating the next generation

As an integrated part of the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, the Center’s impact is not limited to its scientific discoveries. The Center will continue to contribute to the education of under- and postgraduate students, whose impact is felt at the Center and beyond, whether in industry, academia or elsewhere.

“We are thrilled by the upcoming extension of the Center and look forward towards even more ground-breaking research in the field of basic metabolic research – for the potential benefit of patients across the globe,” says Bente Merete Stallknecht, Dean at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, while also highlighting CBMR’s role as a catalyst for talent development:

“The Center is home to worldclass scientists and provides a platform for the next generation of talented researchers at our university – something essential for the future of metabolic research in Denmark.”

The Center also collaborates closely with a range of partners in the Greater Copenhagen regional research ecosystem. They include clinical partners such as Rigshospitalet and Gentofte Hospital, as well as the pharma and biotech industry in the Danish-Swedish life science cluster Medicon Valley.

Over the coming years, the Center will further strengthen its research alliances with international academic partners, including with the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Genomic Mechanisms of Disease at the Broad Institute in Boston, USA. These alliances will support the Center in translating human genetic discoveries into cardiometabolic disease mechanisms and provide the Center with the knowledge, expertise and framework to launch a precision health cohort.

Read media coverage in Berlingske newspaper (paywall): Stenrig fond uddeler over ni milliarder kroner i år – en milliard går til at revolutionere behandlingen af overvægt og diabetes

About the Center

Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR) was established at the University of Copenhagen in 2010.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has supported the Center since the establishment, and with the new five-year grant, the Center has received a total of DKK 2.585 billion (€347 million) from the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

 Find more information about the Center here.