SCN industry partner, Aspect Biosystems, secures US$2.6 billion deal with Novo Nordisk for diabetes and obesity

April 12, 2023 (Ottawa, ON) – Today Aspect Biosystems and Novo Nordisk announced a US$2.6B partnership to develop bioprinted tissue therapeutics for diabetes and obesity – a game-changing investment into the life sciences sector made possible in part by research funded by the Stem Cell Network (SCN).

The collaboration, which will leverage Aspect Biosystems’ proprietary bioprinting technology and Novo Nordisk’s expertise and technology in stem cell differentiation and cell therapy development and manufacturing, was supported in part by an SCN-funded research project with Dr. Timothy Kieffer from the University of British Columbia in partnership with Aspect Biosystems.

In early 2020, Dr. Kieffer was awarded $500,000 through SCN’s Fueling Biotechnology Partnerships Program to advance Aspect Biosystems’ implantable 3D bioprinted cell therapy for delivering insulin-producing cells to treat type 1 diabetes – a chronic disease affecting more than 300,000 Canadians.

The Aspect-Novo Nordisk collaboration will initially focus on developing bioprinted tissue therapeutics designed to maintain normal blood glucose levels without the need for immunosuppression, which may represent a transformative treatment for people living with type 1 diabetes.

From 2019-2025, SCN has committed over $6M in funding in innovative diabetes research and clinical trials.


“The power of the Stem Cell Network is in catalyzing and funding partnerships between scientists and companies to advance cell-based technologies that will provide life-changing therapies for Canadians and those around the world. Today’s announcement demonstrates the strength of Canadian stem cell research, which continues to punch above its weight. On behalf of the Stem Cell Network, a very big congratulations to our long-time industry partner, Aspect Biosystems and Dr. Timothy Kieffer, a leader in stem cell and diabetes research.” – Cate Murray, President and CEO, Stem Cell Network

“Aspect Biosystems’ collaboration with Novo Nordisk will allow us to create breakthrough therapeutics that could transform the lives of millions of people around the world. The Stem Cell Network has been a key supporter of Aspect and plays a critical role in catalyzing world-class research in Canada.” – Tamer Mohamed, President & CEO, Aspect Biosystems

“Stem cell-based therapies are showing incredible promise for the treatment of type 1 diabetes, and today’s collaboration announcement by Aspect and Novo Nordisk gets us one step closer to transforming the futures of those living with the disease. It is also thanks to organizations like SCN, with their vast network, collaboration opportunities, and continued funding of Canadian stem cell and regenerative medicine research, that allows Canada to remain on the global stage.” – Timothy Kieffer, PhD, Professor & SCN-funded investigator, University of British Columbia


About the Stem Cell Network:
The Stem Cell Network (SCN) is a Canadian not-for-profit that supports stem cell and regenerative medicine research; training the next generation of highly qualified personnel; and knowledge mobilization and transfer of stem cell and regenerative medicine research. From the lab to the clinic, SCN’s goal is to power life-saving therapies and technologies through regenerative medicine research for the benefit of all. Created in 2001, with support from the Government of Canada, the Network has grown from a few dozen labs to more than 230 world-class research groups, supporting over 225 research projects and more than 25 clinical trials. Since its inception, over 20 biotech companies have been catalyzed or enhanced and more than 5,000 highly qualified personnel have been trained. In 2021, the Government of Canada demonstrated its continuing trust and support in SCN with an investment of $45 million for the 2022–2025 period.

Media Contact:
Samantha Rae Ayoub
Vice President, Communications & Knowledge Mobilization
Stem Cell Network