Noted Life Sciences company MSD (known as Merck in the US and Canada) has just entered into a strategic partnership with the University of Copenhagen and the Capital Region; the Capital Region being one of five regional governing bodies in Denmark tasked with region-wide issues such as health care. This strategic partnership represents yet another deepening of the collaboration between the Capital Region and the life sciences industry and comes quickly after a similar partnership with Novartis earlier this year and yet another one with GSK in 2012. The aim is to ensure that there is a reciprocal support between R&D at the hospitals in the Capital Region and the life sciences industry.
MSD and Diabetes
MSD will have a great focus on clinical trials and research within diabetes, with a stated ambition toward reversing the increase in patients diagnosed with type 2-diabetes. In a press release, MSD notes that “one of the ambitions with the partnership is to make Copenhagen the centre for clinical trials”, and further that Denmark should become “the leading country in the world in the utilization of health data and health registers”.
The partnership with MSD covers a five year period, and comes on the back of the two partnerships the Capital Region has made with Novartis in 2014 and GSK in 2012.
In September, the Capital Region announced a similar five year strategic partnership with Novartis. On that occasion Country Manager for Denmark Peter Drøidal noted that “Novartis sees the Capital Region as an innovative key market. The research environment is among the most innovative in the world”. However, the commitment of the public sector in Denmark to make it more attractive for life sciences companies to invest in clinical research in Denmark does not stop here.
Increased Danish Focus on Public Private Partnerships
The NEXT (National Experimental Therapeutic) partnership runs in parallel to these strategic partnerships. In the NEXT partnership, private and public players join forces and invest in the establishment of research centres in Denmark. The focus is on making Denmark the preferred place to conduct early-stage clinical studies (phase 1). The participants in the NEXT partnership include the Capital Region of Denmark, the University of Copenhagen, Odense University Hospital, Aarhus University Hospital, Aalborg University Hospital, Bioneer, LEO Pharma, Novo Nordisk, MSD, Novartis and Roche.
Leveraging the Danish Cluster through Partnerships
Tine Hartmann Nielsen, Team Leader for Life Sciences at Invest in Denmark, says: “Both the strategic partnerships and the NEXT Partnership demonstrate that Denmark is at the forefront of how to leverage a world leading life sciences cluster through partnerships. The latest figures on the number of clinical trials in Denmark illustrate that this approach is paying off. Denmark offers great opportunities for companies doing clinical trials such as a strong health care system with excellent infrastructure and data collection combined with efficient public authorities and a tradition for effective public-private partnerships.”