Novo Nordisk Honors Employees Who Improve the Lives of Research Animals

Novo Nordisk Honors Employees Who Improve the Lives of Research Animals

For the 5th year in a row, Novo Nordisk honours employees who bring the company’s commitment to 'Reduce, Refine or Replace' (3R) the use of animals in research into action.

Multimedia from this Release

PhD Student Mette P. Groth receiving the 3R Award from Dr David Morton, chair of the jury.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - 10:45am

CONTENT: Press Release

December 3, 2013 /3BL Media/ -  On 22 November, Novo Nordisk handed out its annual 3R award. 3R refers to Reduction, Replacement and Refinement of the use of animals for research purposes and the award is given to acknowledge and inspire employees who bring the 3R principles into action.

This year’s winner was a refinement project which challenged a common belief that painkillers cannot be used in animal research within inflammation. It has been assumed that painkillers (analgesics) have an effect on the inflammatory response. The project investigated one specific mouse model, where Novo Nordisk had chosen to use painkillers for animal welfare reasons. They compared the reaction in mice with and without pain alleviation. The study proved, for the first time, that pain alleviation does not impact the inflammatory results and holds promise that analgesics can be used for other inflammatory animal tests.

Watch the video to see the external judges’ visit to Novo Nordisk’s animal facilities in Denmark and highlights from the award ceremony.

PhD Student Mette P. Groth, representative for the winning project, commented on the award: “It is great to do something that other people find important as well,” said Mette. “Hopefully, it could bring focus, both in Novo Nordisk and externally, on these inflammatory models. To get [people, ed.] to think about using analgesics instead of not using them just because they think it could affect the model – but without knowing,” she said.

This year six candidates were nominated for the award. The jury selecting the winning project were animal welfare specialists from outside Novo Nordisk. The judges based their decision on a number of criteria such as global applicability, number of animals affected, ingenuity, simplicity and “simply good science,” as said by Dr David Morton, chair of the jury and independent veterinary professional with speciality in assessing pain in animals. His fellow judge was Bengt Holst, director of Research and Conservation at Copenhagen Zoo and chairman of the Danish Animal Ethics Council.

Since 2009, Novo Nordisk has been giving an internal 3R Award to honour employees who improve the conditions for animals used in research and to emphasize the importance of a constant focus on animal welfare. The award ceremony is an opportunity for employees to share and exchange 3R ideas.

“We need to have a continuous focus on the 3Rs and pay attention to the wellbeing of every single animal. We use living animals in research and it is our responsibility to do our utmost to minimise the distress and numbers of animals used. The 3R Award is one of the ways we honour employees making an extra effort to live up to our responsibility,” says Lise Holst, director for Global Bioethics Management, Novo Nordisk.

In addition to the main award, a ‘People’s choice’ award was handed out based on votes from the audience. With more than 100 people voting, this award went to a group of employees who had developed a new cell based screening system to replace the use of rats for identification of lead compounds in oral protein research.


About Novo Nordisk

Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 90 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. The company also has leading positions within haemophilia care, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy.

Novo Nordisk strives to conduct its activities in a financially, environmentally and socially responsible way. The strategic commitment to corporate sustainability has brought the company onto centre stage as a leading player in today’s business environment, recognised for its integrated reporting, stakeholder engagement and consistently high sustainability performance. In 2013, Novo Nordisk received the Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology industry group top ranking on Corporate Knight’s list of Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations.