Redefining care for type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes develops as a result of prolonged insulin resistance and insufficient insulin production. It is, in many cases, linked to obesity and lifestyle factors such as inactivity. The rising prevalence of obesity is driving the type 2 diabetes pandemic, and diabetes is now among the top 10 causes of death globally1. Type 2 diabetes is associated with long-term damage to vital organs, including the kidneys and heart, and effective glucose lowering has been shown to reduce the risk of serious complications2,3. To enable more effective interventions and better long-term outcomes, Novo Nordisk scientists are currently refining the treatment of type 2 diabetes – for example, by advancing from subcutaneous injections to oral administration. Our research focus has also expanded from only reducing blood glucose levels, to also treating related complications.


Do you want to know more about living with type 2 diabetes?
Learn more on Diabetes What's Next

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes accounts for around 90% of all cases of diabetes4

Type 2 diabetes

People with obesity are 5 x more likely to develop type 2 diabetes5

Type 2 diabetes

People with type 2 diabetes are
2–4 x more likely to develop cardiovascular disease6

Engineering to overcome nature's barriers

Glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a hormone that induces insulin secretion, and has numerous beneficial effects on vital organs, including the pancreas, heart, and liver7. For this reason, GLP-1 analogues are increasingly used as treatment for people with type 2 diabetes.

Native GLP-1, however, is rapidly broken down by enzymes like DPP-4 in the blood stream.?At Novo Nordisk, we have a long history and strong expertise in overcoming such barriers by using protein engineering to transform natural proteins like GLP-1 into medicines.


Explore our expertise in prolonging the action of proteins like GLP-1.

Meet the scientist

Oral GLP-1s: a new frontier for treatment delivery

Proteins like insulin and GLP-1 are destroyed by human digestive enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract if they are ingested orally. Consequently, today's insulin and GLP-1 treatments must be delivered by injection. Scientist Jian Wu works at Novo Nordisk R&D in Denmark as part of a team that is pursuing a true breakthrough for patients – an oral GLP-1 treatment for type 2 diabetes.

If you are interested in joining one of our research and development teams, explore your opportunities at our careers page.

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Type 2 diabetes

Novo Nordisk and Emisphere

To support our commitment to developing effective and convenient treatments for the benefit of people with serious chronic conditions, Novo Nordisk has partnered with Emisphere Technologies to pursue a common goal of developing orally administered protein-based treatments.


Explore partnering possibilities

Getting to the heart of type 2 diabetes

t2d 70pct

In people with diabetes, 70% of deaths are attributable to cardiovascular disease6? ??

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the #1 cause of morbidity and mortality in people with diabetes globally. In Novo Nordisk, we take patients’ increased risk of cardiovascular disease highly serious. We focus our research on new therapeutics which not only reduce blood glucose levels but also reduce the risk of cardiovascular events. To learn more about the link between type 2 diabetes and CVD, and how to protect the type 2 diabetic heart, visit our Heart of Type 2 page for more information.

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A new global base for innovation

In September 2018, our scientists in Oxford, UK, moved into new facilities at the University of Oxford. This location underpins the close collaboration between Novo Nordisk scientists and scientists at the university, who have forged an alliance to discover new therapies for people living with type 2 diabetes.


Visit our global R&D facilities


Guided by the people who know best

At Novo Nordisk, we consider people living with serious chronic diseases to be experts. That's why we invite them to become members of our Disease Experience Expert Panels (DEEPs). DEEP members are able to provide disease-specific insights and advice based on real-world experiences. This input guides us as we work to develop better treatments and meaningful support for people living with chronic diseases worldwide.

Explore DEEP



Follow our progress

Explore our scientists’ work on new treatments for type 2 diabetes.


Recent publications

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To contribute to the scientific community in our areas of expertise, we take pride in publishing our scientists’ new findings. Visit our library to review some of their recent work.


Explore our publications



A network that changes lives

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Novo Nordisk conducts clinical trials in over 50 countries worldwide, and we have a high retention rate among our trial participants.


Our clinical trials