Is Copenhagen the world capital of life science?

University of Copenhagen

Denmark’s leading life science companies, public foundations, municipalities, universities and hospitals will work together to position Copenhagen as the world capital of life science through the newly-launched Copenhagen Life Science partnership. 

Tackling obesity is the first step in this public-private partnership.

In 2022, the Danish government invested 82 million DKK ($11.7 million) to strengthen and promote the capital’s life science sector. 

The participants said the initiative aims to shed light on Denmark’s cross-sector collaboration, making it a frontrunner in developing solutions for global problems. The country’s public hospitals cooperate with academia and private companies, easing the process of developing treatments and new health technological solutions. The parters said this makes the life sector in the country an attractive destination for international business in the field.

Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, the CEO of Novo Nordisk, said: “The Capital Region of Denmark is home to one of the strongest life science clusters in the world. In a world where societies are facing increasing challenges from the burden of chronic diseases and pressure on health systems, we need to build trustful partnerships between public and private partners to develop new solutions to complex societal challenges, such as obesity. Denmark is a small country, and we have a deep-rooted trust between the sectors. When you combine that with a public healthcare system this is a perfect test lab to develop unique, innovative solutions together – and scale to other disease areas and countries.”

Life science sector in Copenhagen

The Capital Region of Denmark comprises the world’s largest pharmaceutical corporations, life science hubs, and universities. Its life science sector accounts for more than 20% of Danish exports in 2021, and 1% of the country’s private workforce. The life science sector depends on more highly qualified professionals and global companies to innovate and export these essential treatments for humanity’s persistent illnesses, with obesity being the first focus area.

Trine Winterø, vice-dean of Copenhagen University Health Faculty, said: “The excellent universities and university colleges in Denmark provide research, education, and innovations for tomorrow’s evidence-based products for the global healthcare sector. This partnership provides a strong vehicle for securing flow of knowledge and competences between sectors and creates the foundation for scalable solutions for the future.”

To support Denmark’s life science industry, Copenhagen Capacity, Wonderful Copenhagen, and Danish Life Science Cluster will work together to promote Copenhagen as a life science capital under the Copenhagen Life Science partnership. They will run international campaigns highlighting the city alongside its life science industry. Additionally, they will lead and support 11 public-private pilot projects in the field, with more partnerships still being developed. This partnership aims to attract foreign investments, life science professionals and international health conventions to improve healthcare for all.

Lighthouse Life Science Initiative

Lighthouse Life Science Healthy Weight is an initiative from the Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, which aims to ensure growth and welfare in the wake of COVID-19. The partnership behind Lighthouse consists of representatives from, among others, established companies, start-ups, funds, pension companies, regions and municipalities. The partnership model runs until 2030, and the government has initially allocated 82 million DKK to Lighthouse’s work.

The project partners

Participating in the project are: Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospital, Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Copenhagen Capacity, Danish Life Science Cluster, DTU, Erhvervshus Hovedstaden, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Greater Copenhagen, Municipality of Albertslund, Municipality of Ballerup, Municipality of Copenhagen, Municipality of Furesø, Municipality of Gladsaxe, Municipality of Vallensbæk, Netcompany, Novo Nordisk, Novo Nordisk Foundation, PensionDanmark, Rigshospitalet, Steno Diabetes Center Copenhagen, Falck Healthcare, The Capital Region of Denmark, The Confederation of Danish Industry, UNION Therapeutics, University College Copenhagen, University of Copenhagen, Wonderful Copenhagen.

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