Novo Nordisk

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Novo Nordisk A/S
TypePublic (Template:OMX, NYSENVO)
HeadquartersBagsværd, Denmark
Key peopleSten Scheibye, Chairman
Lars Rebien Sørensen, President & CEO
Jesper Brandgaard, CFO
Levemir, NovoSeven
RevenueGreen up.png 38.743 billion DKK or
$6.9 billion USD (2006) [1]
Employees23,172 (2006)

Novo Nordisk (Template:OMX, NYSENVO) manufactures and markets pharmaceutical products and services. Founded in Denmark in 1923, it is one of the world's leading companies in diabetes care, including the products within the area of insulin delivery systems. Novo Nordisk also has a leading position in haemostasis management, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy.

With headquarters in Denmark, Novo Nordisk has production facilities in six countries, with affiliates or offices in 68 countries. Novo Nordisk employs 23,172 people globally (as of 2006) [2].

Novo Nordisk claims to be dedicated to developing its business towards ecological, social and economic sustainability. The company claims this commitment is demonstrated through its values and its environmental and social responsibility policies also called the "triple bottom-line", although some question the actual authenticity of this given the company's aggressive pursuit of profits, and its discontinuation of products that thousands once relied upon in an effort to "migrate" them towards more expensive, patented products instead.

The Novo Nordisk logo is the Apis bull, one of the sacred animals of ancient Egypt. The Apis bull was worshipped as the incarnation of Ptah, creator of the universe, city god of Memphis and the patron deity of craftsmen.

The logo is a stylised reproduction of an Egyptian statuette dating from circa 664–323 BC. It is richly ornamented with symbols representing, among other things, the eternal dualities of life, day and night, life and death.

The Apis bull has been Novo’s logo since the year after the company’s foundation. The choice of the logo follows an old European chemist's tradition of identifying pharmacies by an animal symbol.

Unite for Diabetes

Novo Nordisk A/S is a firm follower of the 'triple bottom line'. As part of this ideal, as well as being a global leader in Diabetes care, Novo Nordisk have sponsored the International Diabetes Federation's Unite for Diabetes campaign — a campaign that has successfully achieved a UN Resolution on Diabetes.

As such, they have also launched the Novo Nordisk Changing Diabetes World Tour — a truck that folds out into an educational and awareness-developing bus. The vehicle was launched in Copenhagen in September 2005 and has visited Europe, Africa, and Australia.

Human Drug Testing of Ragaglitazar in India

Ragaglitazar is a novel dual peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) and agonist intended to restore insulin sensitivity and correct diabetic dyslipidemia, which was created by Novo Nordisk in 2001. It is meant to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus only. During the clinical testing that took place in India, Novo Nordisk did not complete preliminary testing of Ragaglitazar on animals before moving on to human testing. While administering the drug to humans, Novo Nordisk and its research scientists recognized urinary bladder tumors on the rats that were given Ragaglitazar during the animal test and therefore stopped all human testing and trials. A statement was then released by the company in 2003: “Novo Nordisk's decision was taken in response to findings of urine bladder tumors in one mouse and a number of rats treated with Ragaglitazar. All current clinical trials involving Ragaglitazar have been stopped and all planned new clinical trials have been postponed, while preliminary data from studies in rats and mice are being investigated." It is regulated by law that all preclinical or preliminary trials must be complete for the FDA to approve the drug testing to be performed on humans. Novo Nordisk failed to do this when they were developing Ragaglitazar.


Novo Nordisk was created in 1989 through a merger between two Danish companies – Novo Industri A/S and Nordisk Gentofte A/S.

  • 1923 Nordisk Insulinlaboratorium (later Nordisk Gentofte) founded.
  • 1925 Novo Terapeutisk Laboratorium (later Novo Industri) founded.
  • 1932 Nordisk Insulinlaboratorium founds the Steno Memorial Hospital.
  • 1938 Novo founds Hvidøre Diabetes Sanatorium.
  • 1941 Novo launches its first enzyme, trypsin, extracted from the pancreas of animals and used for bating leather before tanning.
  • 1946 Nordisk develops Isophane insulin NPH insulin, a neutral insulin with prolonged action.
  • 1947 Penicillin Novo is launched – Novo's first product to be manufactured through fermentation.
  • 1953 Lente® – a long-acting insulin zinc suspension – is launched.
  • 1963 Alcalase® – Novo's first detergent enzyme produced by fermentation.
  • 1973 Nordisk Gentofte markets Nanormon® growth hormone for the treatment of growth hormone insufficiency. The growth hormone is extracted from human pituitary glands.
  • 1973 Monocomponent (MC) insulin is introduced – the purest insulin available.
  • 1974 Novo's B shares are quoted on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange.
  • 1977 Trisequens® – sequential combined oral hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for peri-menopausal women – is marketed.
  • 1977 Novo enters the U.S. insulin market, but based on market share data, the company was a very marginal player.
  • 1978 In an effort to alleviate its product and quality problems in the U.S. insulin market, E.R. Squibb & Sons contracts with Novo. Novo becomes the single bulk supplier of insulin for Squibb.
  • 1981 Novo becomes the first company in Scandinavia to be quoted on the New York Stock Exchange.
  • 1982 Novo enters into a 50/50 U.S. joint venture with E.R. Squibb & Sons, known as Squibb-Novo, based in Princeton, NJ. Squibb-Novo became the distributor for Novo insulin sold in the U.S. market, with Novo focused on producing insulin, and Squibb focused on distributing and selling the product. The joint venture is able to significantly increase Novo's U.S. market share.
  • 1982 'Human' Monocomponent insulin is launched in the U.S. – the world's first insulin preparation which is structurally identical to human insulin. It is extracted from the pancreas of pigs and converted to human insulin chemically.
  • 1985 NovoPen® – an injection system similar in appearance to a fountain pen, with replaceable insulin cartridges – is launched.
  • 1987 Novo starts production of human insulin with the help of genetically engineered yeast cells using recombinant DNA technology.
  • 1988 Nordisk Gentofte markets Norditropin® genetically engineered human growth hormone.
  • 1989 Novo Industri A/S and Nordisk Gentofte A/S merge to become Novo Nordisk A/S, the world's leading producer of insulin.
  • 1989 Following the merger of Novo and Nordisk, and the merger of Bristol-Myers and E.R. Squibb & Sons, the Squibb-Novo joint venture in the U.S. was dissolved. Novo purchased Squibb's 50% share and all rights to the joint U.S. diabetes care business.
  • 1989 NovoLet® – the world's first prefilled insulin syringe – is marketed.
  • 1992 The Steno Memorial Hospital and Hvidøre Hospital merge to form the Steno Diabetes Center.
  • 1994 Novo Nordisk is the first company in Denmark – and one of the first in the world – to publish an environmental report.
  • 1996 NovoSeven® – for the treatment of haemophilia patients with inhibitor reaction – is launched.
  • 1998 NovoNorm®/Prandin®, a new oral treatment for type 2 diabetes, is launched in the US and a number of European countries.
  • 1998 Activelle® – the first low-dose continuous combined oral HRT for post-menopausal women – is introduced.
  • 1999 Novo Nordisk publishes its first social report.
  • 1999 Innovo®, the world’s first insulin doser with a built-in electronic memory, is launched in Europe.
  • 1999 NovoRapid® (NovoLog® in the US) – a rapid-acting insulin analogue – is marketed.
  • 1999 Norditropin® SimpleXx® – the world’s first liquid growth hormone in a dedicated pen system – is launched.
  • 2000 Novofem®, a low-dose sequential combined oral HRT, is marketed in Germany. Two years later it is launched in several other European countries.
  • 2000 Novo Nordisk is split into three separate companies operating under the umbrella of the Novo Group: Novo Nordisk A/S, Novozymes A/S and Novo A/S.
  • 2001 InnoLet® – the first insulin delivery system specially designed to suit the needs of insulin users with poor eyesight and reduced dexterity – is launched.
  • 2001 InDuo® – the world’s first combined blood glucose monitor and insulin injection system – is introduced.
  • 2001 NovoRapid® FlexPen® and Insulatard® (NPH) FlexPen® are marketed. FlexPen® is a new prefilled pen, designed to be easy and discreet to use.
  • 2001 Novo Nordisk acquires the controlling interest in the Brazilian pharmaceutical company Biobrás.
  • 2002 NovoMix® 30 FlexPen® and NovoMix® Penfill® are introduced. NovoMix® 30 is a dual-release insulin analogue.
  • 2004 Levemir® – a long-acting insulin analogue – is launched.
  • 2005 Novo Nordisk announced that the company had moved into a leadership position in the U.S. insulin market for the first time ever based on the most recent data on total insulin volume.[3]

See also

External links

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