Novo Nordisk announced Wednesday morning that it has entered into a collaboration, development and license agreement with Aspect Biosystems that is worth up to $2.6 billion. 

Per deal terms, Novo will receive an exclusive, worldwide license to Aspect’s bioprinting technology to develop up to four treatments for diabetes and obesity.

Aspect will receive $75 million upfront but is eligible to receive up to $650 million in future milestone payments per product resulting from the collaboration as well as tiered royalties that could reach $2.6 billion.

The cell therapies agreement indicates that Novo plans on expanding its reach in the diabetes and obesity space, especially in light of stiff competition from the likes of Sanofi and Eli Lilly

Just last month, Novo joined its two rivals in cutting the list price of insulin offerings. The Danish pharma giant slashed the list price of NovoLog insulin by 75%, as well as its Novolin and Levemir insulin by 65%, starting in January 2024. 

“Collaborating with Aspect Biosystems adds an important component to our strategy to develop comprehensive cell therapy products,” said Jacob Sten Petersen, corporate VP of cell therapy R&D at Novo, in a statement. “We are excited to co-develop solutions for cell therapy delivery that could lead to life-changing treatments for those living with a serious chronic disease.”

One of Novo’s most significant recent developments was the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of Rybelsus as a first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes in January. That news came as Novo dealt with the widespread off-label use of Ozempic and Wegovy for weight loss, a situation fueled by social media interest that resulted in drug shortages for patients with diabetes.

Despite making headway in the diabetes field, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Novo.

Last month, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, a U.K. pharma trade group, suspended the company’s membership for two years after marketing efforts for the obesity drug Saxenda violated its standards.

Meanwhile, the Novo agreement marks one of the most significant business opportunities for Aspect, a Canadian biotech company that was founded in November 2013.

“This partnership leverages Aspect’s full-stack tissue therapeutic platform, talented team and bold vision, and reinforces our strategy to create bioprinted tissue therapeutics through partnerships with global industry leaders while also advancing our internal therapeutic pipeline,” said Aspect CEO Tamer Mohamed.