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BRISTOL, England, August 17, 2018 

Ziylo’s technology platform could accelerate development of groundbreaking treatment for diabetes patients

New company Carbometrics set up to develop novel diagnostics and glucose monitoring

Unit DX, the scientific incubator in Bristol announces that its anchor tenant Ziylo has been acquired by global healthcare company Novo Nordisk A/S in an agreement that could exceed US$800 million. Ziylo’s innovative technology platform offers the potential to develop glucose responsive insulins, a ground-breaking treatment for diabetes patients worldwide.

Ziylo was co-founded by Dr Harry Destecroix, CEO while finishing his PhD in the Anthony Davis Lab at the University of Bristol. He is also the co-founder of Unit DX, along with Tom Smart, CFO and Keith MacDonald, Chairman.

The acquisition gives Novo Nordisk full rights to Ziylo’s glucose binding molecule platform to develop glucose responsive insulins (GRIs). The development of this technology is a key strategic area for Novo Nordisk in its effort to develop this next generation of insulin, which would lead to a safer and more effective insulin therapy. A GRI would help eliminate the risk of hypoglycaemia, the main risk associated with insulin therapy and one of the main barriers to achieving optimal glucose control. Thus, a GRI could also lead to better metabolic control and therefore reduce the overall burden of diabetes for people living with the disease.

Prior to closing of the acquisition, certain research activities have been spun out of Ziylo to a new company, Carbometrics, which has entered into research collaboration with Novo Nordisk. This will assist with ongoing optimisation of glucose binding molecules for use in GRIs. Carbometrics has licensed rights to develop non-therapeutic applications of glucose binding molecules, with a focus on developing continuous glucose monitoring applications. It will remain on the Unit DX site in Bristol.

Harry Destecroix, PhD, CEO of Ziylo and co-founder of Unit DX, said, “Novo Nordisk, as the leader in the diabetes field, is the ideal company to maximise the potential of the Ziylo glucose binding molecules in glucose responsive insulins and diabetes applications, and it brings hope of a truly ground-breaking treatment to diabetes patients.”

Keith MacDonald, Chairman and co-founder of Unit DX, commented, “Ziylo is the first major success coming out of the Unit DX Scientific Incubator. It was set up to incubate the next generation of science companies and help develop a new breed of science entrepreneurs. In a very short period of time, the incubator has grown to house 25 high-quality science driven companies and has been instrumental in retaining Bristol’s world-class scientific talent and research. I am pleased to say we now have a waiting list of companies wanting to join the incubator which is validation of the high-quality research in Bristol.”

Please find the Novo Nordisk press release here.

Press kit: Please find the press pack here.

About Unit DX

Unit DX is a science incubator in central Bristol, home to over 25 science and engineering companies. It was set up by the Ziylo directors as there was no home for science companies inBristol. Unit DX brings together specialist facilities with science-focused business support and hasbeen instrumental in retaining Bristol’s world-class scientific talent and research. The majority of companies at the incubator have a focus on bio-design and quantum technologies.

Unit DX is creating a new community; by working with local schools to get them interested in science, by championing entrepreneurship at universities and by directly supporting and housing early stage science companies. Having been given the opportunity to grow and develop at Unit DX, Ziylo is the first major success story to come out of the incubator.

For more information, please visit

About Ziylo

Ziylo is a supramolecular chemistry company that has developed a third ‘biomimetic’ class of glucose binding molecules (GBMs). These molecules have potential to be a critical component in medical devices such as continuous glucose monitors (CGM) and therapeutics such as glucoseresponsive insulins (GRIs).

The platform technology is based on over 20 years of cutting-edge research pioneered by ProfessorAnthony Davis’ group at the University of Bristol and originally inspired by nature’s carbohydrate-binding molecules (lectins).

Ziylo was founded by (Director) Professor Anthony Davis, (CFO) Tom Smart and (CEO) Dr Harry Destecroix, who set up Ziylo while finishing his PhD in the Davis lab. Other directors of Ziylo includeKeith MacDonald, an experienced chairman and the primary investor, and Dr Andrew Chapman(CSO) who has led the development of Ziylo’s science. Colpman Consulting Ltd acted as lead business advisor in the sale process.

The management team and board at Ziylo has founded a new company, Carbometrics, which has an exclusive license to develop applications in diagnostics and continuous glucose monitoring. Carbometrics will continue at Unit DX. For more information please visit

About Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 95 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. This heritage has given us experience and capabilities that also enable us to help people defeat obesity, haemophilia, growth disorders and other serious chronic diseases. Headquartered inDenmark, Novo Nordisk employs approximately 43,100 people in 79 countries and markets its products in more than 170 countries. For more information, visit, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube.


CONTACT: Further information : Optimum Strategic Communications, Mary Clark, Supriya Mathur, Hollie Vile, Email: [email protected], Tel: +44(0)203-714-1787 / +44-787-687-2223