Novo Nordisk’s hot buying streak continues as it adds another obesity biotech through its acquisition of Embark Laboratories, announced Wednesday.

The deal, worth about $16 million upfront and up to $500 million in upcoming milestones, builds upon Novo Nordisk’s collaboration with Denmark-based Embark from 2018.

Novo’s acquisition of Embark is the latest step in the pharma giant’s efforts to expand its considerable obesity business. 

The move comes just weeks after the company bought another obesity drugmaker, Inversago Pharma, for $1.08 billion. The Inversago acquisition also gave Novo access to the company’s lead candidate, an oral CB1 inverse agonist known as INV-202, which led to weight loss in a Phase 1b trial.

With the Embark deal, Novo will pick up the company’s lead metabolic program and ink a three-year collaboration to research and develop burgeoning obesity, type 2 diabetes and co-morbidity treatments.

“We are excited about the opportunity to advance Embark Biotech’s lead program and look forward to co-creating novel treatments for cardiometabolic diseases with Embark Laboratories to complement our in-house R&D,” said Brian Finan, VP of obesity research at Novo Nordisk, in a statement.

Novo did not clarify what the lead metabolic program was. However, Embark – which was originally spun out from the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research (CBMR) at the University of Copenhagen – said it was based on research that discovered a “novel target that suppresses appetite, increases energy expenditure and enhances insulin sensitivity.”

Embark chief technology officer Zach Gerhart-Hines noted in a statement that the collaboration with Novo was a “clear strategic fit” with the “novel biology we have discovered.”

Novo has been busy in the last year, buoyed by the success of its semaglutide products, also known as Ozempic and Wegovy. 

Along with the announcement of its Inversago acquisition in August, Novo recently reported sales within its diabetes and obesity business had risen by 37% at constant exchange rates. This was driven by increasing demand for GLP-1-based diabetes and obesity treatments, president and CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen said at the time.

Just this week, the drugmaker announced that Wegovy showed efficacy in reducing major cardiovascular events – and helped patients with heart failure lose weight.