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What can Denmark bring to the table for the life sciences industry?

Tom Gorton our consultant managing the role
Posted by Tom Gorton
Published on 15 April 2020
The Danish Ministry of Industry reports that the life sciences industry in Denmark hires 47,300 employees across 1,500 companies, yet in their national Growth Plan for Life Sciences identified access to experienced professionals as a core concern. Because despite the industry’s impressive growth the government are striving for more. 

The majority of the talent pool is drawn to Medicon Valley – Denmark’s hub of life sciences activity – yet the industry is establishing new centres across the country to encourage foreign investment and limit the barriers for clinical research. These efforts are cementing Denmark’s reputation as a powerhouse but there is still more to be done. Here’s an overview of what Denmark can bring to the table for the life sciences industry:  

Breaking down the barriers 

The Danish Ministry reveals that the value of the wider life sciences has shot up by 88% in the last eight years, while Denmark’s value has increased by a modest 17%. So, while Denmark has established itself as a strong contender in the industry the government has acknowledged there are three key barriers – access to facilities, skilled professionals and capital. The 5-year Growth Plan - introduced in 2018 - hopes to tackle these through its 36 initiatives across six core areas.  

The BioInnovation Institute 

One opportunity to be born from the plan is the BioInnovation Institute (BII), an initiative that hopes to attract capital by creating a space for “innovative entrepreneurs and talented researchers” to collaborate and bring their ideas to fruition. Through this centre, the Danish industry hopes to make R&D more attractive and particularly put clinical research under the spotlight. Doing so will strengthen Denmark’s image as a powerhouse in the life sciences industry and entice talented professionals to come and work for the nation.  

A strong focus on clinical research 

Understandably, research and development are one of the key areas the Danish government are turning their attention to but Minister for Health, Ellen Trane Nørby, highlights that clinical research is a core focus. And the results of the government’s efforts are impressive - in 2018 alone there were 282 applications for clinical trials in Denmark

A strong public healthcare system combined with a multidisciplinary collaboration between universities and the wider industry has enabled a promising drug development pipeline. Denmark boasts the largest pipeline in Europe, based on the number of drugs per capita. Two ways the nation has achieved this is through an improved regulatory framework and a reduction in fees at phase I trials. 
MSD, a global healthcare company, is one of the key investors in Denmark’s clinical research, committing 100 million DKK (£12 million) just in 2017 alone. The company’s Director of Clinical Operations explains that their focus in investing in Denmark is down to the country’s ability to process data efficiently and at a high standard. 

Increasingly attractive to foreign investors 

Meanwhile, the Managing Director at MSD, Andreas Daugaard, confirms that Denmark’s position within the life sciences industry remains strong because of their ability to secure foreign investment. The Danish government have spent the last decade focusing on strengthening partnerships between public and private stakeholders, thereby encouraging entrepreneurship. This combined with the high standards for data has been the driving force behind an industry growing from strength to strength. 

Denmark is successfully attracting more investment and encouraging new start-ups through this “investment culture”. The 2019 Global Entrepreneurship Index ranks Denmark fourth in the world – based on 14 pillars of a strong entrepreneur ecosystem – and identified start-ups as one of their most promising areas.  

Medical devices 

In Europe, Denmark ranks in the top 10 based on its export and imports of medical devices. Though this is an impressive position, Denmark’s Minister for Health has outlined the government’s endeavour to “strengthen our efforts within medical devices”. 

The nation presently has a strong reputation for its production of consumables, hearing aids and diabetes device and are particularly renowned for the design elements of their product development. They incorporate a strong focus on user experience combined with intuitive design and these components are more important than ever in medical devices. So, the future looks bright for Danish medical technology.  

Explore your life sciences career options with Quanta 

At Quanta, our consultants are well-practised in finding candidates who are the perfect technical and cultural fit – you can rely on us to make the right match. Browse our current life sciences jobs across Europe, North America and Asia. Whether you’re interested in contract or permanent we’ll have a role for you.  

Interested in reading where else the job opportunities lie in life sciences? Read our insights here.