Lundbeck Foundation has decided to invest DKK 300 million in Danish biotech companies over the next four years. The funds will be invested by Lundbeckfond Emerge with the aim of generating a portfolio of five active companies over the course of a couple of years.
The DKK 300 million is earmarked for new investments with a clear focus on Denmark. Christian E. Elling, partner in Lundbeckfond Emerge, now has the task of identifying the ideas with clinical and commercial relevance which, in time, will have the potential to attract additional capital from Danish and foreign co-investors.
“We can do more than merely invest capital. Lundbeck Foundation's business model is based on active ownership, and the same model applies to Lundbeckfond Emerge. We'll collaborate closely with the founders on daily activities to give the companies the best possible beginning”, says Christian Elling, PhD, who has more than 15 years' experience in the start-up and operation of biotech companies.
In spite of many good initiatives in the industry, conditions have been difficult for a number of years for the Danish biotech companies. However, there is still a strong innovative force within the Danish research environment.
“We're looking for high-quality projects where we can identify clinical and commercial relevance in the potential products. Investments in the emergent biotech segment are high risk but, at Lundbeck Foundation, we're keen to make a contribution to a strong and healthy Danish biotech environment and, at the same time, we expect to be able to earn money on our investments in the long term”, says Christian Elling.
Lundbeckfond Emerge was founded in 2012 with the aim of investing in, supporting and helping scientists and entrepreneurs from the Danish universities and biotech environment to transform their scientific data into commercially relevant biotech projects. For the first two years, the portfolio counted two companies: EpiTherapeutics, which was sold this spring to the American pharmaceutical company Gilead, and Insusense Therapeutics, which was originally founded by scientists at Aarhus University and develops new drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Who is Christian Elling:
Christian E. Elling is 46 years of age, a biochemist and PhD from the University of Copenhagen. He joined Lundbeck Foundation in 2012 to establish and develop Lundbeckfond Emerge. The aim of Lundbeckfond Emerge is to invest in, support and help scientists and entrepreneurs from the Danish universities and biotech environment to transform their scientific data into commercially relevant biotech projects. Lundbeckfond Emerge's first project was EpiTherapeutics, which was sold to Gilead in May 2015. The second project was the investment in Insusense Therapeutics in 2013, where Christian Elling is now CEO in parallel with his role as partner in Lundbeckfond Emerge. Before joining Lundbeck Foundation, Christian was CEO of 7TM Pharma A/S, a company he helped found in 2000. Christian Elling is also a member of the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences and represents Dansk Biotek on the steering committee for Biopeople under the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science.