Life sciences in Copenhagen


1st in Europe on clinical trialsLife sciences in Greater Copenhagen

Greater Copenhagen’s life sciences industry is world leading for R&D spending, clinical testing and drug development.

Denmark is number two in the world for developing biotechnology and number one in Europe in number of clinical trials per capita, owing to a strong life science industry employing more than 40,000 people.

Medicon Valley in Greater Copenhagen has:

  • 4 life science universities with 50,000 students, producing 2,000 PhDs every year.
  • 22 hospitals of which 11 are university hospitals.
  • More than 150 biotech companies and 200 medtech companies.
  • Leading researchers, clinicians and academics.

Medicon Valley is based on close collaboration between industry, academia and the public sector, and has Scandinavia’s best knowledge transfer between the public and the private sector, providing excellent R&D opportunities.

No. 1
Denmark is the best country in Europe (no. 2 in the world)
for the development of biotechnology

– Scientific American, 2015

Short processing time for drug trial applications

A single-point-of-entry system ensures that drug trial applications are processed within six weeks with parallel submission to the Danish Medicines Authority and European Medicines Agency (EMA). And there is a 95% approval rate on drug trial applications.

Medicon Valley strongholds

  • Electronic health data, such as personal registries (CPR), available from several decades past, allowing researchers to follow the course of disease.
  • Accurate and comprehensive medical databases of clinical trials provide researchers with a rich source of medical and genetic information.
  • The Danish Cancer Registry dating back to 1942 is among the world’s best cancer registries.
  • Therapeutic strongholds include cancer, metabolic diseases, inflammation and neurology research.
  • Medicon Valley ranks no. 1 in Europe for drug pipeline, clinical trials and investment in R&D per capita in biotech and pharma.
  • 13% of the Danish population has contributed to a clinical trial or medical research, which is more than 100,000 persons annually.
  • Denmark is investing more than 5.6 billion Euro in new hospitals over the next years.

15 billion pharma industry turnover each yearLarge healthcare investments

Denmark’s public sector is currently investing € 5.6 billion in building and renovating 16 hospitals, of which six are brand new super hospitals. Around 20% of this investment is reserved for IT, medtech devices and clinical equipment.

Tenders to furbish the hospitals as well as invitations for public private partnerships to develop new health care supply solutions will be published at


Medical products is the single largest export category in Denmark, amounting to 17 billion Euro annually. Pharmaceutical R&D accounts for 21% of the total private research spending in Denmark. In addition, around 130 million Euro is spent on clinical research every year.

This results in a powerful pipeline with around 400 compounds in Danish companies, ranking Denmark third in overall pipeline in Europe, including in particular:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes and metabolic diseases
  • Neurological disorders
  • Inflammation, allergy and autoimmune diseases.

Top 3 of largest product pipelines


Medicon Valley is home to more than 200 +  medico companies of which 200 conduct R&D and/or production. Strongholds include:

  • Disposables. Syringes, needles, wound-care products, single-use devices and other disposables account for 40% of the Danish medtech industry.
  • Diagnostics. Around 20 companies are engaged in R&D developing various diagnostics kits, blood analysis equipment, ultrasound scanners and bioinformatics diagnostics.
  • Hearing devices. Denmark has captured 40% of the global hearing aid market, owing to strong R&D competences.
  • Assistive technology. Design, functionality, quality and user-friendliness characterises Danish assistive technology products, giving Denmark a leading position.

6.7 billion medtech industry turnover each year

Academic research centres

  • NNF Center for Protein Research. Promotes basic and applied discovery research on human proteins of medical relevance. Based at University of Copenhagen.
  • Danish Stem Cell Center (DanStem). Basic research for the development of new therapies for diabetes and cancer. Based at the University of Copenhagen.
  • NNF Foundation Center for Biosustainability. Develops technologies to facilitate the transformation from an oil-based chemical industry to a sustainable bio-based society, in which chemicals are produced biologically. Based at the Technical University of Denmark.
  • NFF Center for Metabolic Research. Research on human metabolism for the development of strategies to tackle, prevent and cure diabetes and obesity. Based at the University of Copenhagen.


  • Denmark is the best country in Europe (no. 2 in the world) for development of biotechnology – Scientific American, 2015

  • The #1 country for business in the world – Forbes 2015

  • The #1 country for entrepreneurs in Europe – GEDI 2015

  • Happiest country in the world – World Happiness Report 2016

  • Copenhagen is the world’s most liveable city – Monocle 2014

  • Denmark is no. 1 in alternative energy production – The Guardian 2015