For the second year running, Denmarkâ€™s biotechnology sector has been awarded a top three ranking by Scientific American in their annual Worldview Report, which assesses countries worldwide according to their biotechnology innovation potential . Â This global ranking puts Denmark ahead of all its European contemporaries, who are left wondering what gives Denmark its competitive edge?
Predominantly focussed around the Greater Copenhagen area, Denmarkâ€™s life sciences sector employs more than 40,000 people. Â Many of these highly skilled employees are located in Meidcon Valley, home to almost 400 biotech and medtech companies. Â Combine this with generous public sector investment of around â‚¬5.6 billion as well as a drug trial application process characterised by speedy processing (~6 weeks) and a high approval rate (~95%), and all the factors for success are present .
Central to the strength of all R&D and biotechnology companies is a strong intellectual property portfolio. Â Not only are Danish biotechnology companies actively innovating, but they are also highly effective at recognising the value of their inventions. Â The World Economic Forum has ranked Denmark 8th in the world for the number of International Patent Applications (PCT Applications) filed (as a function of population) in its 2015-2016 global competitiveness analysis . Â Impressively, Denmark boasts 215.4 International Patent Applications filed per million of the population. Â Â When compared to the four largest European economies, Denmarkâ€™s prolific patent filing puts them ahead of the UK, France, and the Netherlands, second only to Germany, who lead by a slender margin (see Figure 1).
Owing to convergence of all of these factors, it is no surprise that medical products account for Denmarkâ€™s largest export category estimated to be worth approximately 17 billion Euros per annum. Denmarkâ€™s biotechnology industry thus continues to serve as a role model to other countries operating under the current economic challenges faced by the Eurozone. Â In the wake of Brexit, the UK would do well to follow Denmarkâ€™s lead.