Type 2 diabetes is a complex chronic disease that occurs when the body cannot make enough insulin or use it effectively. People living with type 2 diabetes need treatment in order to keep their insulin and blood sugar levels under control.

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that controls the amount of glucose in the blood. Too little insulin means the body cannot absorb glucose from the food we eat. When this happens, blood glucose levels rise, and over time, these increased levels can damage blood vessels and reduce the supply of oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to the body’s organs and nerves.

People living with type 2 diabetes may need treatment to help their bodies better process glucose and to help prevent long-term complications.

In the last half century, rates of type 2 diabetes have skyrocketed around the world. Today, hundreds of millions of people are living with the disease, putting a strain on individuals, families and our healthcare systems.

We are committed to driving change to improve treatment options for people living with type 2 diabetes – from more effective medicines to better delivery systems that make management simpler and more convenient.

Section reference: Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes UK. [accessed 2021 Aug 10]. https://www.diabetes.org.uk/type-2-diabetes

90% of all diabetes cases are type 2 diabetes.
Reference: IDF Diabetes Atlas 2019 edition

2-4x the increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Reference: American Heart Association. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/diabetes/why-diabetes-matters/cardiovascular-disease--diabetes. Accessed 1 August 2020

3-7x the increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes for someone living with obesity.
Reference: WHO. Obesity: Preventing and managing the global epidemic. Available at: http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/42330 Last accessed: April 2020.

Our scientists work with a simple purpose - find the unmet needs in chronic disease and translate them into new therapeutic solutions. One of those ideas is advancing type 2 diabetes treatment from injections to tablets. 

This has been a goal for many years, but the challenge has been the body’s digestive system. Once swallowed, biological medicines, like insulin, are digested by enzymes in the body, the same way food is broken down. We needed to find a way for biological medicines to get through the digestive system intact and get into the blood.

We have recently succeeded and shown that a synthetic version of the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) hormone can be taken in a tablet. The GLP-1 hormone is naturally produced in the gut and gets released in response to food. When released, GLP-1 stimulates insulin production in the pancreas, which again lowers the amount of glucose in the blood.

This is the world’s first oral treatment for type 2 diabetes with a GLP-1 receptor agonist. We hope that it will not be too long before we will be able to offer a broader range of oral treatments. Not only for diabetes, but for the  other serious chronic diseases in our research portfolio.

For almost 100 years, we have been discovering new ways insulin is injected. This has been driven by our commitment to make drug delivery as simple and convenient as possible.

Our starting place is the people living with type 2 diabetes, listening to their challenges when self-treating, and understanding how to make treatment safer and easier.

We use scientific methods from anthropology to biochemistry to provide data and direction to our research and engineering skills, and experience.

Within the field of type 2 diabetes, we are currently researching into the following areas:

  • Glucose-responsive insulins
  • Connected devices
  • Oral antidiabetics
  • Cardiovascular benefit
  • Weight reduction