The Medicon Valley region’s life science industry is still expanding and the life science sector has grown more important for both the Danish and the Swedish national economies.
These are some of the conclusion in the 2019 edition of the “State of Medicon Valley analysis”, published Monday November 4th 2019 and presented at the Medicon Valley Alliance Annual Meeting.
The analysis also highlights the great potential for continued development of Danish and Swedish Medicon life science, in which trans-Øresund collaboration is an element of growing importance academically, commercially and when it comes to R&D collaboration.
Highlights from the report
Record high life science export
2018 was a record year for the Danish life science industry’s exports. In 2018, the export of medical products and devices was responsible for 15.4% of Denmark’s total exports; that share has doubled since 2008. Exports were valued at nearly 106 billion DKK – more than double what they were ten years ago. Life science exports were also record-high in Sweden in 2018, having risen 10.6% compared to 2017.
More patent applications
The number of Danish patent applications in the life sciences to the European Patent Office (EPO) rose 10% last year. The greatest increase was in pharmaceuticals, although most patents are still sought for biotechnology. Swedish patent applications rose by 4% – most were in biotech – but medical technology continues to dominate.
Rising employment in Medicon Valley
There were 44 000 employees in Medicon Valley in 2017 – the most recent year for which statistics are available. Compared with 2016, this represents a 3.4% increase. Within the region, the Capital Region of Denmark saw a 3.9% increase; Region Zealand had a 1.1% decrease, and Skåne experienced a 6.2% upswing between the two years.
Increase in tax contribution in both countries
The life science sector in Denmark contributed 19.6 billion DKK in revenue in 2017, which is a 20% increase from 2016. Tax contributions from Swedish life science companies were 12.7 billion SEK in 2017; this is a 5.2% increase from 2016.
In 2018, the turnover of Medicon Valley’s four largest life science companies (Novo Nordisk, Lundbeck, Ferring Pharmaceuticals and LEO Pharma) remained stable at 154 billion DKK. If the region’s largest medtech company (Coloplast) is included, it increased to 171 billion DKK.
Acquisitions and new drugs bring growth
In 2019 so far, there have been six major acquisitions in Medicon Valley, worth more than 28 billion DKK. Of these, five concern sales in which the acquiring company is based in Medicon Valley. In addition, Widex, which manufactures hearing aids, has merged with Sivantos and become the new, larger company WS Audiology. An important new drug just won FDA approval in the USA: Novo Nordisk’s Rybelsus (Semaglutide) will give patients with type-2 diabetes the option of an oral tablet instead of injections.
The region’s researchers are cited significantly more often than average in 15 of the 20 largest subject areas for life science research in Medicon Valley. This was shown in CWTS’ survey of scientific publications and citations in the life sciences from 2006-2017. The 20 largest fields of research were responsible for more than 50% of the total number of scientific publications in the life sciences in Medicon Valley during the period examined.
Biochemistry – a large area
The four fields of research to generate the largest number of scientific publications in the life sciences in Medicon Valley from 2006-2016 were Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Endocrinology & Metabolism, Oncology, and Neuroscience.