Gene technology ethics

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are living cells or organisms which have been genetically modified for research or to produce specific pharmaceutical substances. A gene coding for a recombinant protein is inserted into a DNA molecule carrying all the genetic elements necessary for the cell to produce the protein of interest.

The assembled DNA carrying the genetic codes for the therapeutic protein is then inserted into the cells, enabling them to produce the recombinant protein. Genetic modification of cells and organisms presents a unique opportunity to increase the possibility of offering safe and efficacious medical help for patients.

Ethical implications of gene technology

The use of gene technology in biomedical research and the use of GMOs in the production of pharmaceuticals offer substantial benefits to the quality of products, the environment and opportunities for the identification of new treatment concepts for patients.




Novo Nordisk's position on gene technology

1 Contained use of gene technology
Novo Nordisk finds that the contained use of gene technology is an important tool in the identification, development, and production of pharmaceuticals for patients. These pharmaceuticals could not otherwise be provided in sufficient quantity or quality.

2 Use of GMOs
Novo Nordisk only uses GMOs in the lowest risk category for production and the final products do not contain genetically modified cells or genes.

3 Antibiotic resistance genes
Novo Nordisk uses production strains without antibiotic resistance genes whenever technically possible and practically feasible.

4 Accidental release of GMOs
Novo Nordisk recognises the concern about accidental release of GMOs to the environment and has implemented appropriate measures to ensure compliance with regulations set by the authorities.

5 Regulation and public concerns?
Novo Nordisk supports the proper regulation of the use of gene technology and the principle that public concerns are adequately addressed.

6 Precautionary principle?
Novo Nordisk applies the Precautionary Principle in the use of gene technology by conducting risk assessments prior to use.?

7 International standards?
Novo Nordisk actively participates in the development of relevant international standards for gene technology.?

8 Transparency and openness?
Novo Nordisk supports transparency and openness in relation to the use of gene technology and continues to report publicly on our use of the technology.

How we use GMOs at Novo Nordisk

“The genetically modified cells in our production are created in a laboratory and only intended for production in a protected and controlled environment. This means that the cells are very weak. It will take a number of very unusual incidents for our GMOs to survive in nature.”

Asser Sloth Andersen
M.Sc. in molecular biology
Novo Nordisk

Arne Staby

Novo Nordisk uses gene technology and GMOs in the research and production of pharmaceuticals. The application of gene technology enables us to produce a variety of biologically active proteins in large quantities, for instance various types of insulin for the treatment of diabetes, hormones for the treatment of growth disorders, and blood clotting factors for the treatment of haemophilia.

Novo Nordisk continuously aims at reducing any uncertainties and at developing additional precautionary approaches. We follow best practices and adhere to all regulations to eliminate and manage risks related to GMOs.

Spot_Gene tech Brochure

Gene technology in medicine development and production

Download our brochure about gene technology in medicine development and production.