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The Danish Government has launched its new strategy for the Danish life sciences industry. The aim is to secure a global position to the benefit of both Danish patients and the Danish economy.

The strategy for the Danish life sciences industry is composed of 38 new initiatives in seven main fields. The initiatives in particular aim to improve the conditions for research and development, and the use of health data, secure a highly skilled workforce and set the scene for international expansion.

The 38 new initiatives:

Better conditions for research and development 

1. Extension of the increased R&D expenditure deduction (up to and including 2022)
2. Continuation of Trial Nation - national association for the promotion of clinical trials in Denmark
3. Establishment of working group across authorities, universities, patients and life sciences industry to better support the framework for clinical research in Denmark
4. Establishment of national digital platform for clinical trials
5. Fee reductions for commercial companies in connection with clinical trials
6. Support of efficient case processing of applications for clinical trials with drugs, etc.
7. Establishment of IT system to support state medical committees
8. Experimental scheme with virtual clinical trials
9. Development of the Danish Medicines Agency's expertise in new technologies, methods, etc., relating to clinical trials
10. Better opportunities for healthcare professionals to do research - support for part-time employment
11. Continuation of Open Entrepreneurship

Better and more secure use of health data

12. Establishment of a national partnership for better use of Danish health data for research, quality development and innovation
13. Realisation of vision for better use of health data
14. One common entry for data overview, guidance and application for access to health data
15. Establishment of secure national analysis platform for health data
16. Strengthened efforts relating to health data in the Ministry of Health
17. International promotion of the possibilities for the use of Danish health data for research and development
18. Statistics service at the Danish Health Data Authority

Denmark as a showcase

19. Strengthened focus on innovative purchasing and new settlement models
20. Pool for innovative procurement in healthcare
21. Task force for initiatives targeting chronic disease and inequality in health
22. Prescription of health apps and Nordic co-operation for a better framework for accreditation
23. Establishment of regional growth team in Copenhagen, among other things, with focus on life sciences and health

Highly qualified workforce

24. Funds for digital expertise in healthcare
25. Strengthened focus on skills development and continuing education in the life sciences area

Targeted internationalisation and authority co-operation

26. Strengthened international government co-operation to promote Danish export
27. Strengthened global health diplomacy and government co-operation
28. Danish influence in the European HMA drug network and strengthening drug safety
29. The Danish Medicines Agency's involvement in the European Medicines Agency (EMA)
30. Increased efforts to attract knowledge-intensive life sciences investments to Denmark
31. Continuation of subsidy to Healthcare Denmark
32. Continuation of the Danish Innovation Center in Boston

Healthy and green growth

33. Collaborative project on biosolutions
34. Intelligent Waste Management Partnership
35. Establishment of a regional growth team for Zealand and the islands with a focus on e.g. biosolutions

Knowledge sharing and co-operation

36. Establishment of a National Life Sciences Council
37. Continue the life sciences unit at the Ministry of Business Affairs and FTE resource for coordination in the Ministry of Health
38. Partnership with the life sciences industry on enhanced access to vaccines

Reactions so far
The Danish Pharmaceutical Industry and the Danish Medtech Association have both expressed overall satisfaction with the strategy. So have several business leaders in the industry. They are in particular excited about the establishment of a National Life Sciences Council where public and private stakeholders may convene to discuss challenges and opportunities for the industry as a whole. Hopefully, the Council can help bridge the positions of policy makers representing different stakeholders. Today, Denmark is ranked the second-best country in the EU for clinical trials. The 11 initiatives dedicated to improving the conditions in that area might see Denmark take the lead.

Meanwhile, there are also stakeholders who believe the strategy is not ambitious enough. They would have liked to see the 130% expenditure deduction on R&D investments be made permanent, more focus on making it more attractive for life sciences investment funds to set up in Denmark and even the appointment of a new Ministry of Life Sciences. Others, like the Patient Association and Danish Medical Association fear that the strategy is too focused on commercial interests and fails to seek any actual change when it comes to improving the lives of patients.

Bech-Bruun’s comment
The national life sciences strategy is an acknowledgement of a world-class industry, which accounts for more than 50,000 jobs and 22% of Danish product exports. Some of the initiatives are contingent on new legislation whereas others can be advanced by allocating the appropriate resources. The budget is approximately DKK 270m agreed on for the period until 2023 with DKK 30m in an annual reserve not yet ear-marked for specific tasks. The Bech-Bruun life sciences team advises all players in the industry and will follow the strategy implementation closely in the coming years.

Read more about the government’s new strategy for life sciences here.