Denmark boasts of the third largest
drug pipeline in Europe and is a leader in areas of enzymes, CNS,
diabetes and cancer reseach. BioSpectrum explores the infrastructure
and opportunities provided by the country to its biotech sector
The government of Denmark is looking to attract Asian
life science companies to invest in Denmark, especially in the field of
R&D. In a recent media visit organized by Invest in Denmark, an
investment promotion agency which is a part of the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, Denmark's health minister Mr Bertel Haarder told BioSpectrum
that his government is
working on several legislations aimed at attracting private investments
from Asian countries, particularly from India and China.
It is noteworthy that Denmark will hold the presidency of the European
Union in the first half of 2012, and according to Mr Haarde, the health
and life sciences industry is one of the top agendas of his government.
Under the 'Health Innovation' plan, the Danish government is working on
a legislation that would reduce the review period of clinical trials in
Denmark from 30 days (fastest in Europe) to a minimum of seven days. Mr
Haarder believes that setting up research centers in Denmark will help
Indian companies get European approvals, as the infrastructure in
Denmark does not allow excessive red tape.
The Danish government is also working on a stronger legal framework for
private-public partnership on research in healthcare sector. Their
primary focus is on pharma, medtech and health technology. The
government has reserved 41.1 billion DKR for the implementation of a
new national hospital plan. Focus in the hospital plan is greater
specialization and hence better treatment, more cost-efficient
hospitals and better conditions for research and development. The
government has set up a new body for e-health that will be responsible
for governing the implementation of the national electronic patient
record system by the end of 2013.
“One of the major attractions for foreign investors is our patient
records. The Danish health registers enables researchers to monitor
patients across time, regions and sector. The Danish Serum Institute is
currently establishing a national bio bank, granting access to serum
samples from all over the country,” said Mr Haarder.
cluster (Fact file)
- Population of approx 3.5 million.
- Companies with R&D and/or production: Approx 100 (red)
companies, 25 pharma companies (7 major) and 100 medtech companies.
- International companies with affiliates in Medicon Valley: More
than 200 pharma companies and 170 medtech companies.
- Approx 40,000 employees in the private life sciencesector.
- Approx 10,000 life science researchers in the private and public
life science sector.
- Twelve universities, five of which supply life science related
- Approx 150,000 students, 45,000 of whom study life science.
- Approx 2,600 life science PhD students are enrolled at the
universities of Copenhagen and Lund.
- Approx 7,000 life science university students graduate every
- Thirty two hospitals, 11 of which are university hospitals.
- Six science parks with a significant focus on life science.
- Six incubators, two of which have a significant focus on life
- More than 50 contract research organizations and contract
The Danish Council for Technology and Innovation has invested in a
“Strategic Platform for Innovation and Research (SPIR)” within
intelligent solutions for welfare service challenges. The SPIR is a
partnership between a number of private companies and universities and
aims at basic research.
Funding for Danish health research on public facilities has more than
doubled in the last decade. This is due to an increase in government
funding, and success in taking home donations from European and
American foundations such as the Novo Nordisk Foundation and the
Lundbeck Foundation. Health research comprises 33 percent of Danish
The Danish government calls for Indian companies to set up operations
in Denmark. “Denmark is a gateway to most part of Northern Europe.
Copenhagen, being a
major life sciences hub, is the ideal place for Asian companies to set
up their North European headquarters. This will allow them to cover the
market in Germany, Holland, Belgium and UK. The company tax rate here
is only 25 percent and expatriates can benefit from a special tax
regime,” said Rasmus Bjørnø, business development
manager, Invest in Denmark.
Clinical trial hub
Approximately 1,000 clinical trials are approved and carried out every
year in Denmark and about 20,000 Danes participate in clinical trials
each year. According to
Denmark's ministry of interior and health, Denmark conducts the highest
number of clinical trials in Europe per million inhabitants. The
country has a long tradition for patient and population registration.
The Danish population is homogeneous with registered and easily
accessible data, providing unique information on the patient
population. Denmark has organized public health and death registries
and a unique social security number system. Thus, data is available for
studies, making Denmark particularly suited for epidemiological and
clinical research. Some of the companies that chose Denmark for
conducting clinical trials are:
The effect of low-dose
human growth hormone therapy in HIV infected patients on highly active
papilloma virus vaccine consistency and non-inferiority trial in young
Placebo in non-metastatic early prostate cancer.
A comparison of two
total hip replacements: hip resurfacing system versus
A study to evaluate
the effect of letrozole and tamoxifen on bone and lipids in
postmenopausal women with breast cancer.
an add-on treatment to copaxone for the treatment of relapsing multiple
Eli Lilly & Co:
for patients with metastatic colorectal vancer.
Highly qualified work force
Approximately 1.8 million people live in the Greater Copenhagen Area,
and if we include the Swedish side of the Medicon Valley, there are
approximately three million people residing in this area. In total,
they represent a workforce of roughly 1.5 million people of whom 42,000
are employed within the life sciences sector. Medicon Valley contains a
highly educated work force, with 27 percent of people aged between 25
and 64 years holding tertiary degrees. It is also the best place to
access one of Europe's most skilled talent pools.
The Medicon valley
Medicon Valley is a bi-national life sciences cluster that spans the
island of Sealand in Eastern Denmark and the Skåne region of
Southern Sweden. It is one of Europe's strongest life science clusters
with a large number of pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device
companies and research institutions
located within a very small geographical area.
Local and international investors have provided the capital need for
the continued growth of these companies. Together with specialized
service providers such as different CROs, CMOs, consultants and patent
attorneys, all the competences required to bring new and innovative
products to the market are available. About 467 life sciences companies
from across the world operate from this cluster.
- Ashish Saraf
(The writer was in Copenhagen at the invitation of Invest in Denmark)‘We will
help India to tap the EU market’
Mr Freddy Svane, Ambassador,
Royal Embassy of Denmark, New Delhi
The Danish biotechnology industry is a major world
player, particularly in the areas of enzymes, CNS research, diabetes
and cancer research. Denmark, which boasts of the third largest
commercial drug development pipeline in Europe, is continuously
developing its research methodologies and is thus at the forefront of
cutting edge biotech and pharma research. The excellent infrastructure
provided by Denmark along with the various socio-economic incentives,
being provided by the country, is attracting several foreign companies
to set up their business in Denmark.
The representative of the Kingdom of Denmark in India, Mr Freddy Svane,
the Danish Ambassador to India, while speaking exclusively to
BioSpectrum revealed that the world leader in clean technology is
looking forward to collaborate with Indian firms to tread the path of
success in biotechnology.
Q What is the present
scenario of co-operation between Denmark and India?
Presently, we have more than 120 Danish companies that have set up
their own establishments and are heavily investing in India. On the
other hand, there are a lot of
opportunities for Indian companies to grow in Denmark. I see many
opportunities for interaction between the Governments of Denmark and
India and also between the industries and the farmers of the two
countries. We are doing a lot of work at the embassy along with our
Trade Mission and our colleagues at Invest in Denmark in order to take
the co-operation between the two countries to a higher level. Looking
into the detailed collaboration that the Danish government and the
Indian government currently have, we have a joint commission that sets
out joint priorities and biotech is perhaps the most important priority.
Q Why do you think companies from India
should invest in Denmark?
Denmark is a small country with only 5.4 to 5.5 million inhabitants.
However, the number of clinical trials that we have conducted total to
more than 2,000 global clinical trials in a year. The Danish government
has decided to establish a fast track system that will drastically
reduce the time required to obtain permits for clinical trials. We have
the infrastructure in place which is important to developing a new
drug. Denmark has a model called as a ‘flexicurity’ model that offers
operational flexibility to Indian companies that are planning to set up
business in Denmark. Corporate taxes are just about 25 percent, which
is less than the European Union’s average. Denmark also has an English
speaking population and a highly talented workforce. The government
spends around 63.68 crore (€10 million) every year to
infrastructure for life sciences, IT and clean tech sectors and also in
education and in schemes such as the industrial-PhD program. It is fair
to say that biotech companies in India, who want to come to Europe,
have the perfect hub in the form of Denmark. We have the full range of
products and services in place such as infrastructure, top institutions
and a lot of biotech and medtech companies among others, which would
attract the ambitious Indian biotech industry.
Q Which Indian companies have invested in
Denmark until now?
During the last year, we had seen a large number of Indian investments
been made in Denmark. Vimta labs, one of the leading clinical research
organizations (CROs) of India and Aurobindo Pharma have just
established their branch office, thus tapping into Europe by using
Denmark as a hub. Also, a company called Ecron Acunova has invested in
Denmark. We also have a strategic alliance with Aurigene. We are
seeing a large number of Indian firms showing their interest in the
Danish market trying to explore the facilities that we have.
—Saptarshi Chaudhuri in