The Danish company was the first to develop human insulin and the insulin pen for fixed dose injection.
It now produces half of the world’s insulin – a drug vital to all people with type 1 diabetes and many with type 2.
NN was founded by medical researchers August and Marie Krogh. August was a Nobel Prize winning zoologist and Marie was a doctor and diabetes patient.
In 1922, the couple went to Canada to meet Professor Macleod, the leader of the team who had discovered insulin. They gained permission to commercialise the drug in Scandinavia, and launched the company in early 1923.
Treatment innovations developed by NN include ‘modern’ insulins (genetically engineered insulin analogues with enhanced properties) and GLP-1, a type 2 diabetes drug than enhances the production and absorption of the body’s insulin.
In 2002, NN started the World Diabetes Foundation, an international funding agency supporting diabetes prevention and treatment in the developing world.
The company also manufactures biopharmaceuticals to treat haemophilia and growth disorders, and established the Novo Nordisk Haemophilia Foundation in 2005 to support patient care and treatment.
“Our 90 year anniversary is a significant milestone for Novo Nordisk. Our commitment to changing the lives of people with diabetes is unparalleled both globally and here in the UK, where we have been operating for over 25 years,” said Peter Meeus, NN’s UK Managing Director.
“Our researchers have discovered many breakthroughs in diabetes treatments for patients and our dedication to the training and support of NHS doctors and nurses has helped thousands to share expertise between primary and specialist care.”
Based in West Sussex, Novo Nordisk UK employs about 400 people.