Novo Nordisk to open new AI hub in UK for drug discovery

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The new hub will be located in the King’s Cross Knowledge Quarter, London

Novo Nordisk has announced its plans to open a new, artificial intelligence (AI)-based research facility to advance drug discovery operations in London.

The new hub will be located in King’s Cross’s Knowledge Quarter (KQ), in the heart of leading science institutions and companies.

The Danish pharma company has rented out a new office in the area and intends to move into the space in the first quarter of this year.

In addition to this, the company also plans to build a new digital innovation hub at the KQ site, which will house around 40 employees from its existing research and development and IT divisions.

The site is currently home to multiple world-class science and technology companies and centres, which include GSK, AstraZeneca, the Wellcome Trust, the Francis Crick Institute and the Alan Turing Institute.

A spokesperson from the company said that the new location will accelerate “innovation and collaboration to create and apply AI in the discovery and development of new potential drug candidates”.

The site will represent “a vibrant and diverse AI research ecosystem” across fields including “AI, data science and engineering,” the spokesperson added.

The opening of the new hub aligns with the company’s aim to digitise processes across its businesses, including in research and development, where AI is beginning to contribute to new medicinal products.

Furthermore, it will allow Novo Nordisk to “better collaborate with leading research institutions, big tech and innovative start-ups and attract top talent,” said the company’s spokesperson.

Most recently, Novo Nordisk announced it had entered into a collaboration with Valo Health in September to discover and develop novel treatments for cardiometabolic diseases using AI.

Commenting on the collaboration, Novo Nordisk’s executive vice president and chief scientific officer, Marcus Schindler, said: “AI and machine learning hold the promise to positively impact drug discovery and development… which should lead to a better understanding of target biology.”

The new hub falls in alignment with the UK’s ambition to position the country as an international hub for AI, as encouraged by initiatives including the launch of a new AI Safety Institute by the government this past November.

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