Using UK Biobank data to support the Novo Nordisk drug discovery and development pipeline
Principal Investigator: Dr Morten Kallberg
Approved Research ID: 45994
Approval date: February 4th 2019
In drug discovery and development, the attrition rates from idea to new treatment on the market remain substantial. Genetic validation from large case-control studies, and now cohorts like the UK Biobank, provides an opportunity for early assessment of important information such as likely efficacy and safety profile of new drug targets. The genetic information combined with the large catalogue of other information available for the UK Biobank participants also allows for stratification efforts for common diseases. The proposed research, therefore, aims to use UK Biobank data for risk stratification and identification and validation of novel drug targets for diseases within Novo Nordisk's therapeutic areas, which include chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular liver and kidney diseases, obesity, as well as haematological disorders (e.g. haemophilia). We will do so by: 1. Combining genetic data on the full UK Biobank cohort with the other data available on participants to the study (e.g. biomarkers, health records, imaging data) to evaluate existing and potential drug target genes and investigate whether some people with diseases within the Novo Nordisk portfolio can be stratified on underlying biological pathways. 2. Mining the electronic health records to identify patients with a certain phenotype, e.g., large weight changes vs. stable-weight patients, and explore the biomarker and genetic data in order to identify markers and biological pathways that are perturbed in these patients. 3. Integrating data derived from the UK Biobank with that from external studies to improve statistical power and validate findings. Through the proposed research Novo Nordisk will be able to better focus investment in targets with most human evidence and relevance - thus faster development of drugs with the greatest potential to improve the lives of people living with chronic conditions. Identification of the patients most needing these medicines will also lead to better targeted clinical trials, with less risk to patients and faster trial completion as a result. This proposal therefore fits well with the UK Biobank's purpose of improving the prevention and treatment of illness.