Business / Companies

Novo Nordisk eyes technology tie-ups

By Zhao Yanrong and Zhang Min (China Daily) Updated: 2016-06-29 10:00

Novo Nordisk eyes technology tie-ups

A Novo Nordisk logo is seen in this photo taken on Aug 17, 2013. [Photo/]

The world's top insulin producer by sales is confident that China's focus on innovation will spur it toward new partnerships with local entrepreneurs for technology solutions to complement modern treatments for diabetics, said Jakob Riis, executive vice-president of China and Pacific & marketing, Novo Nordisk A/S.

The Copenhagen-based company has been operating in China for 22 years and is the market leader, Riis told China Daily on the sidelines of the Summer Davos in Tianjin on Monday.

Novo Nordisk boasts the largest share of 30 percent in China's 21.3-billion-yuan ($3.2-billion) diabetes-related drugs market.

Riis said the company is keen on tie-ups in China for the development of tech solutions that could add depth to diabetic care in the country and beyond.

For, the incidence of diabetes and healthcare costs of diabetics in China are expected to double by 2040. Some 85 percent to 90 percent of such costs are related to complications arising due to diabetes.

Riis said China, given its current emphasis on innovation, could be a partner of Novo Nordisk. Local technological nous could help Novo Nordisk make its new treatments available to a larger number of diabetics.

"External technological support is fast becoming a norm in the drugs industry. In this context, Chinese entrepreneurs are eminently placed to take advantage of the trend. We hope to develop new diabetes-related technology solutions in China, and may take them to a bigger market," he said.

Camilla Sylvest, general manager of Novo Nordisk's China operations, said she is impressed by the country's stress on innovation not only in medical industries but in the way people work with technology.

"Within Novo Nordisk, our Chinese operation is in the frontline of using technologies in communication and in providing educational materials. The whole digital platform is very well developed in China, and we see a lot of possibilities to reach more patients and stakeholders," she said.

Novo Nordisk executives' remarks come two weeks after the company launched a smartphone application called "Diabetes Care App" in Tianjin, in association with the Tianjin Medical Association, Tianjin First Central Hospital and the Tianjin Diabetes Prevention and Control Association.

The app is part of Novo Nordisk's "Cities Changing Diabetes" program.

The app offers comprehensive information, including symptoms of the disease, and diabetics' attitude toward it.

Zhang Fuxia, deputy director-general of the Tianjin Health and Family Planning Commission, said: "We can borrow from European countries' experience in fighting chronic diseases such as diabetes. Our collaboration with Novo Nordisk is geared toward that end."

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