Novo Nordisk Returning to Seattle, Hiring 80 People by 2010

8/5/08Follow @xconomy

Novo Nordisk, the world’s biggest insulin producer for diabetes, apparently has a thing for Seattle. The Denmark-based drug maker is establishing a new research site in Seattle, that aims to employ 80 people by 2010, according to this job posting at nwsource.com.

The news, first reported by the Seattle P-I’s Joe Tartakoff, represents a bit of a homecoming for Novo Nordisk. It acquired one of Seattle’s founding biotech companies, ZymoGenetics, in 1988 and kept it as an American research wing until Zymo spun off as an independent company in 2000. Novo still owns a 30 percent stake in ZymoGenetics, according to the company’s latest quarterly report with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Novo is apparently looking for director-level people and scientific staff in cellular immunology and molecular immunology assay technology. The Seattle research center plans to identify and test protein drug candidates for autoimmune and inflammatory diseases like multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and inflammatory bowel disease. It all sounds quite similar to the kind of work being done at ZymoGenetics on its drug candidate called atacicept.

ZymoGenetics CEO Bruce Carter told Tartakoff that a former vice president at his company, Don Foster, is thought to be running the new center. Company spokeswoman Susan Specht said Foster left ZymoGenetics in March. In one of those lovely words from his British vocabulary, Carter told the P-I that the two companies are “chums.” I suppose he can say that as long as Novo doesn’t appear to threaten one of the most promising drugs in his company’s pipeline.

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