The making of a biotech powerhouse
With a heritage stretching back to the 1920s, we have a century of experience in proteins. Since then, we’ve grown into the world’s leading biotech powerhouse. Our business is industrial enzymes and microorganisms. Today we serve 30-plus industries across 130 markets with enzymatic, microbial, advanced protein and digital solutions.
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Support for emergency relief efforts and refugees in response to the war in Ukraine, through the Novo Nordisk Foundation and additional donations. Present at the United Nations General Assembly in New York to let world leaders know about the potential of biotechnology in sustainable growth.
Launch of new corporate strategy: Unlocking growth – powered by biotech. Recognition of our commitment to sustainability with award of Terra Carta Seal by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. As Denmark aims to test more people for the Covid-19 virus, Novozymes and the Novo Nordisk Foundation donate essential equipment and knowledge to a new test facility established at The Serum Institute in Denmark. Transfer of a liquid handler from Novozymes’ R&D facilities expands testing speed and capacity. Acquisition of Synergia, Microbiome labs and the data Science platform of Biota. Product launches include Formea® Prime, Pristine® and Innova® Quantum.
Peder Holk Nielsen steps down as CEO after 35 years in the company and Ester Baiget appointed new President and CEO as of February 1st, 2020. Acquisition of PrecisionBiotics to advance Novozymes human health business. Our Kalundborg enzyme fermentation plant – built in 1969 and the world’s largest – switches to 100% renewable energy. Novozymes turns 20.
Product launches include Innova® Fit, Saphera® Fiber, Microvia®, Fiberex®, Gluzyme® Fortis, BioFresh® 4+ and Fortiva® Hemi. Expansion of Taegro® into European and Latin American markets in collaboration with Syngenta.
Announcement of updated strategy: Better Business with Biology. Named most innovative company in Denmark by European Patent Office. The BioAg Alliance ends in its current form, as Novozymes and Bayer continue their partnership in a broader and more flexible setup. Announcement of partnerships with Univar Solutions and UPL. Opening of Innovation Campus in Lyngby, Denmark. Product launches include Fortiva®, Innova® Force and Fiberlife®.
Biopharma division becomes an independent company, Albumedix. Product launches include Progress® Uno, Amplify® Prime, Frontia® Fiberwash, Quara® LowP, Saphera® and Alterion® with our partner Adisseo. Launch of Acceleron® B-300 SAT - a microbial solution that helps boost corn yields - with Monsanto. Since replaced by B360 LCO technology, which is available from our partner Bayer.
Appointment of Peder Holk Nielsen as CEO. The world’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant opens in Crescentino, Italy using Novozymes enzymes. Novozymes and Monsanto come together to create The BioAg Alliance, to develop and bring more sustainable BioAg solutions to farmers.
Acquisition of Sybron marks the start of our microorganism business in America. Contract with the U.S. government to develop enzymes to convert biomass into low-carbon fuel.
Novo Nordisk splits into three companies: Novo Nordisk A/S, Novozymes A/S and Novo A/S. Novozymes A/S is headed by CEO Steen Riisgaard. For the first time, customers can buy enzymes online via Novozymes’ new website.
Novo Nordisk publishes its first social report.
Launch of Kannase® detergent enzyme. Opening of enzyme factory in Tianjin, China.
Opening of Novo Nordisk in California, U.S.
Novo and Nordisk merge to become Novo Nordisk. Opening of factory in Brazilian.
Launch of Lipolase® enzyme for detergents, the first Novo made with genetically-engineered microorganisms.
Novo supplying about 60% of the world’s detergent enzymes.
Becomes the first Scandinavian company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Establishment of environmental department.
Female employees demand equal pay for the first time. Novo shares are listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange.
Publication of studies showing that detergent enzymes are not a risk to consumers. U.S. health authorities determine that detergent enzymes are safe to use. Development of dust-free enzyme preparations, reducing factory workers’ allergy risk.
Arne Jacobsen–designed factory in Kalundborg, Denmark opens. Launch of several new and improved enzyme products for detergents. The starch industry becomes a major customer. Publication of article questioning the safety of enzymes in detergents published in British medical journal "The Lancet", garnering a lot of media attention in the U.S. This also spreads to Europe, leading to a drop in sales.
Some production moved to new facilities in Bagsvaerd, Denmark. Tripling of workforce, about half of which are women.
Novo’s first fermentation-produced laundry detergent enzyme, Alcalase.
Introduction of a five-day work week.
Novo files for patent of the recovery of trypsin. This is Novo’s first ever patent application on an enzyme.
Trypsin production begins
Novo scientists extract both insulin and trypsin from the same pancreatic glands. Previously, insulin extraction destroyed trypsin. This cuts expenses and reduces global demand for pancreases. The discovery also leads to trypsin crystals, Novo’s first enzymatic product, used for cleaning leather hides before tanning. Novo scientists also succeed in using bacteria to produce amylase, for textile desizing.
Introduction of special child allowances for employees with children.
Thorvald Pedersen decides to expand the business into enzyme production.
Brothers Harald and Thorvald Pedersen former employees of Nordisk form their own company, Novo Terapeutisk Laboratorium. Their company and Nordisk Insulinlaboratorium would remain rivals until their eventual merger in 1989.
In March the first Danish patients are treated with insulin extracted from bovine pancreas. That spring August Krogh and Dr. Hagedorn establish Nordisk Insulinlaboratorium.