A new report from Ernst & Young shows that the biotech sector in Denmark is storming along on all fronts, writes Ingeniøren (The Engineer). The number of drug candidates under development in Danish biotech companies shot up 25% from 2006 to 2007, compared with the European average of 9%.
And with 188 potential new products in the development pipeline, for diseases including HIV and cancer, Denmark is only headed in volume terms by Great Britain and Germany – both far bigger countries in size and population. Lisa Almén from Ernst & Young told Ingeniøren:
"Denmark is performing amazingly well both in terms of the number of products in development and capital raised. It is highly impressive, when you consider the size of Denmark's population."
The Danish biotech industry collectively raised DKK 3.4bn (USD 707m) in capital in 2007, the fourth largest sum raised in Europe. The start-up rate is also accelerating with 11 new biotech companies established in 2007, more than double the 2005 figure. Professor Finn Valentin, who heads the Centre for Biotech Business at Copenhagen Business School, comments that this upward trend augurs well for Danish biotech, since it makes the country more visible to foreign investors and pharmaceutical companies.
Søren Carlsen, chairman of the Danish Biotech Association, points out that the many new drug candidates have great potential importance for the major pharmaceutical companies, as patents on their existing drug portfolios expire.
Lisa Almén sees a continuously bright future for Danish biotech, on account of the high percentage of new drug candidates being developed here. "The sale of candidate drugs generates cash to invest in new projects and start up even more companies," she says.
Just last month, the British medical concern Shire plc bought the candidate drug Metazym from Danish biotech firm Zymenex for USD 135m. Metazym is a potential treatment for a rare and fatal genetic disease.