Ziylo acquired by Novo Nordisk in deal that could exceed US$800m

CEO Dr Harry Destecroix (left) and the Ziylo team at Unit DX, Bristol.

CEO Dr Harry Destecroix (left) and the Ziylo team at Unit DX, Bristol.


August was an extremely exciting month at Unit DX, and for the Bristol science innovation community more broadly, as the news was announced that the University of Bristol spin-out, Ziylo, was acquired by the global healthcare company Novo Nordisk. The deal - which gives Novo Nordisk full rights to Ziylo’s glucose binding molecule platform to develop glucose responsive insulins (GRIs) - may exceed £623m (US$800m). This figure makes Ziylo's exit potentially one of the largest exits by an British academic spin-out company this decade. 

Ziylo was co-founded by Dr Harry Destecroix, CEO (pictured above) while finishing his PhD with Prof Anthony Davis at the University of Bristol. The company's glucose binding molecule is now being used to develop a form of 'smart insulin' to improve the effectiveness and safety of treatments for people suffering from diabetes. Have a look at the video below for coverage of Ziylo's acquisition from BBC Points West. 


In addition to Ziylo, Harry is also the co-founder of Unit DX, Bristol’s first science incubator, along with Tom Smart, the CFO and Keith MacDonald, Chairman.

Unit DX was brought into existence to solve a major problem that Ziylo faced early in its development. At the time, there was no commercial lab space available to scientific start-ups within Bristol; companies had the option of moving city, and losing easy access to the scientific networks they had build here, or of attempting to grow without leaving university labs. Fast forward a couple of years and Unit DX is now open and thriving, providing lab and office space to early-stage scientific companies. And Ziylo has negotiated this lucrative exit. 

Ziylo's acquisition is great news for the scientific innovation community, both in Bristol and the UK more broadly. It has been widely covered in the media which raises the profile of what is possible for scientists and engineers to achieve from their research, as well as drawing international attention to Bristol as a location for science commercialisation. 

Ziylo is the first major success coming out of the Unit DX Scientific Incubator. 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.
— Keith MacDonald, Unit DX Chairman

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, and remains on site at Unit DX in Bristol. 

Further information

You can read more about Ziylo's acquisition on the Unit DX website, via the Novo Nordisk press release, or in the extensive media coverage of the deal (e.g. Forbes, the Financial TimesBBC)