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Danish government sets up a life science growth team

kåre schultz lundbeck

The Danish government has set up a growth team with Lundbeck’s CEO, Kåre Schultz, as President, whose main task is to put forward suggestions to boost the Danish life science industry.

“Find the secret recipe for growth.” This is the simple mission statement for the life science growth team which was presented by the Danish government recently. Managers from both Novo Nordisk and Lundbeck have on several occasions called for a greater political and public spotlight on the Danish life science industry which contribute more than €12bn a year in exports alone. To cope with this demand, the Danish government, with the Minister for Business and Growth Troels Lund Poulsen and the Minister for Health Sophie Løhde as spearheads, has decided to form a growth team which is supposed to recommend and set the course for how Denmark, also in the future, can use the life science industry as a growth locomotive for the Danish economy.

Prominent professionals

The new growth team will include prominent professionals from both the private and public sector. Kåre Schultz, CEO of Lundbeck, will serve as Chair and the team comprises members from Aarhus University, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Galecto Biotech, the Strategic Alliance for Register and Health Data, Leo Pharma, University of Copenhagen, Coloplast, the Technical University of Denmark, Rigshospitalet, Symphogen, and Novo Nordisk.

“Actually, I think it is only Switzerland which can measure up to Denmark, when it comes to the life science’s relative significance to society. It is a good thing that the growth team has six months to carry out its work, rather than it being a long-running think tank. We need action,” comments Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, research director from Novo Nordisk, and welcomes the new initiative.

“Leo Pharma welcomes the government’s initiative in the form of a growth team for life sciences. We look forward to working in collaboration with the growth team in order to find the recipe for generating growth in Denmark through the pharmaceutical industry,” says Leo Pharma’s Vice President Thomas Kongstad Petersen.

Boosting clinical trials

Besides being a member of the government’s latest initiative, Thomas Kongstad Petersen is also managing the public-private service Next, which focuses – thus far, with great success – on bringing clinical research from the international pharmaceutical industry to Denmark.

Denmark hosts more clinical trials per capita than any other country in the world. It is easy to recruit eligible study participants, and a single point of entry facilitates the identification and contact with leading clinical centres of excellence at hospitals nationwide.

The Danish national health system registers the entire population “from embryo to grave”; a system that means Denmark is home to more than 500 bio banks and extensive medical records. Denmark is also one of the fastest countries to approve clinical trials and has the largest commercial drug development pipeline in Europe.