Swiss pharma giant Roche looks towards Denmark to realize ground-breaking medicine  

On August 4th, Swiss pharmaceutical group Roche announced that it has agreed to acquire Danish biopharmaceutical company Santaris Pharma to help expand their research and development within RNA-targeting medicines.

Danish biotech

For years, researchers at the Danish biotech company Santaris Pharma have collaborated with large pharmaceutical companies around the world, and this week Santaris Pharma was acquired by Swiss pharma giant Roche for 250 million USD. The deal will potentially involve another 200 million USD in milestone payments.

It is Santaris Pharma’s proprietary product Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) that has caught Roche’s attention. The LNA technology prevents diseased cells from producing harmful proteins, and has the potential to treat difficult diseases in a range of therapeutic areas.

Denmark is a world leading biotech cluster
The acquisition showcases Denmark as a world leader within the biotech cluster and that the conditions for innovative biotech research and business in Denmark are quite unique:

“Santaris Pharma is a typical Danish biotech company that started out as a university research project. Over the years they have cooperated with major pharma companies and have now been acquired by one of the world’s largest players within biotech”, says Invest in Denmark project manager, Rasmus Beedholm-Ebsen, and adds:

“It is impressive that a giant like Roche chooses to locate a research facility in Denmark but actually I’m not surprised; Denmark is one of the best places in the world for clinical research as the country has all the right prerequisites including state-of-the-art research facilities and especially a high-quality research environment”.

World-known competence centre for oncology

Regarding the acquisition, Donald deBethizy, President and CEO of Santaris Pharma, says in a press release: “The acquisition combines Santaris Pharma’s next-generation antisense technology and LNA expertise with Roche’s deep experience in disease biology, chemistry, drug safety, drug formulation, delivery, and development”. Due to their complementary capabilities, deBethizy is confident that Roche will now be able to realize breakthrough medicines. 

Roche will keep all activities and employees in Denmark and as a part of the acquisition Santaris Pharma will change its name to Roche Innovation Center Copenhagen. Denmark is a world-known competence centre for oncology and hence it is expected that Roche will continue to expand its research activities after its establishment in Denmark.

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Rasmus Beedholm-Ebsen

Rasmus Beedholm-Ebsen

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