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Foundation launches Harvard research hub

The Novo Nordisk Foundation is investing US$47.5m into a research collaboration with the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, intending to dive into the disease mechanisms of diabetes and obesity.

The foundation and the Broad Institute have joined up to launch the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Genomic Mechanisms of Disease, an initiative that will accelerate efforts to mine genetic data for insights into disease mechanisms, eventually resulting in “rationally designed treatments”.

The Center, which will be based at the Broad Institute in Cambridge is supported by a grant of up to US$47.5m from the foundation. It will generate systematic datasets to help researchers understand how human genetic variants affect risk for common complex diseases. Initially, the focus will be on Type 2 Diabetes as well as obesity. “All datasets will be shared freely with the research community,” the foundation stressed. The center will establish an exchange programme to provide opportunities for Danish scientists to study genomic technologies at the Broad Institute. In turn, these collaborations will contribute to expanding biomedical research in Denmark. Research will be carried out at the Broad Institute and at Danish institutions, with exchange of scientists and dedicated training programmes for Danish researchers.

“With its leading universities and hospitals, Boston is renowned as an international epicenter for biomedical research and innovation—and the Broad Institute has earned a reputation of being a key nexus in this rich ecosystem,” said Niels-Henrik von-Holstein-Rathlou, senior vice president, biomedicine and health sciences, the Novo Nordisk Foundation. “By establishing this new center with the Broad Institute, we seek to help drive global research in health for the benefit of many.”
“Starting with our roots in the Human Genome Project, the Broad community has long believed that international collaboration is critical to advancing our knowledge of human disease and getting benefits more quickly to patients,” addedTodd Golub, director of the Broad Institute. “The Center for Genomic Mechanisms of Disease is a natural extension of our deep commitment to global collaborations but also our pursuit of foundational research.”

Initially, the Novo Nordisk Foundation has committed itself for a five-year period, with the possibility of extending its support of the centre.