25 April 2023

CBMR secures five-year funding extension from Novo Nordisk Foundation


Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research at the University of Copenhagen is awarded up to DKK 1 billion (€134.2 million) from the Novo Nordisk Foundation to support research toward innovative approaches to the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cardiometabolic diseases.


The prevalence of cardiometabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease 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.

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).

“We are thrilled by the upcoming extension of the Center and look forward to 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 world-class 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,” she says.

Moving away from ‘one size fits all’ solutions

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, explains CBMR Executive Director Professor Juleen R. Zierath.

“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,” she says.

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.

Investment in translation

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.

“With this grant, the Novo Nordisk Foundation enables the Center to achieve an even deeper understanding of the underlying causes 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 Professor Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, which has supported the Center since its establishment in 2010.

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.


CBMR inquiries:

Peter Andrew Stanners
Strategic Communications Officer, CBMR
+45 4272 1542, peter.stanners@sund.ku.dk 

Novo Nordisk Foundation inquiries:

Sabina Askholm Larsen
Senior Communications Partner, Novo Nordisk Foundation
+45 2367 3226, sla@novo.dk