New analysis: Medicon Valley fastest growing in scientific publications – new European cluster comparison

A new analysis prepared by Øresundsinstituttet on behalf of Medicon Valley Alliance, MVA, shows that the Danish-Swedish Medicon Valley places seventh among Europe’s ten largest life science clusters when it comes to scientific research publications. Medicon Valley is at the top of the class for the growth in the volume of scientific publications, with a 23% increase between 2006-2009 and 2013-2016. The results are the product of a study by the Dutch research institution CWTS at Leiden University, commissioned by Medicon Valley Alliance.

State of Medicon Valley also contains a survey of the region’s life science clusters in terms of exports, employment and patent applications. One conclusion is that Medicon Valley’s larger life science enterprises are in a transition period, and new technologies and new products are in focus.

– We’re happy to report that the percentual increase in scientific publications in the life sciences is greater in Medicon Valley than in any other cluster on Europe’s Top Ten list. Calculated according to the number of publications, the region’s placement is firmly in the middle of the list, at the top of which is the life science cluster London-Cambridge-Oxford. Access to, and the growth of, internationally leading university environments and research institutions are among the most important foundations for creating a competitively strong life science cluster, says Petter Hartman, CEO of Medicon Valley Alliance.

­– The life science sector is in a period of transition; payer pressure in the USA and new research findings are two of the trends affecting developments. Companies need to reinvent themselves, and many of the beacon companies in Medicon Valley are already well on their way with new products and strategies, says Johan Wessman, CEO of Øresundsinstituttet.

Read the full analysis

Highlights from the analysis:

  • 23%. The increase in the number of scientific publications in Medicon Valley between 2006-2009 and 2013-2016, as shown by a unique comparison of ten European clusters made by the Dutch research institute CWTS at Leiden University on behalf of Medicon Valley Alliance. It’s the highest rate of growth of all of Europe’s ten largest life science clusters. Considering that Medicon Valley came in sixth among Europe’s ten strongest research regions, this positive development is important for the region’s competitive strength in the future.
  • 54% of the scientific publications in Medicon Valley resulted from international collaborations. The analysis by CWTS shows that the international institutions with which Medicon Valley’s researchers work are primarily in western Europe, particularly in Scandinavia.
  • Export to China. 2017 was a boom year for life ­science exports to China: Sweden 45% and Denmark 16%. Both Sweden and Denmark lost some of their holdings on the important American market and increased their holdings on the second largest global market, China.
  • Increasing tax contributions in both countries. Danish life science sector’s contribution through employees’ income tax and corporation tax increased by 2% from 2015 to 2016, amounting to 16.3 billion DKK. The Swedish life science sectors contribution increased by 4% during the same period to 12.1 billion SEK.
  • Beacons in transition. LEO Pharma’s CEO Gitte Aabo is investing in biopharmaceuticals, potentially gene therapies, and digital solutions to become a global leader in dermatology. Novo Nordisk’s hope for the future – the diabetes drug Ozempic – has been approved. Ferring and Lundbeck are also in a renewal phase.
  • The BioInnovation Institute is open. Medicon Valley’s major new initiative is called the BioInnovation Institute, BII. Funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, with a budget of 392 million DKK, it aims to generate new companies from the  life science research at the region’s universities. The Institute is situated at COBIS in Copenhagen.
  • Expanding science parks. There are around 1 500 companies with a total of approximately 17 000 employees in the science parks in Medicon Valley that are fully or partially focused on the life sciences. Many of the science parks are expanding: among others, Medicon Village and Medeon are both building new office complexes; and DTU Science Park is scaling up with a new incubator – Futurebox.
  • Increase in patent applications. Danish companies sought 643 life science patents from the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2017. This is a 15% increase compared to 2016, and the highest number of life science patents sought since 2010. Swedish companies also sought more life science patents in 2017 than in 2016. With 355 life science patents sought in 2017, which corresponds to a 6% increase, the positive development since 2014 in the number of life science patent applications to EPO by Swedish companies continued, according to statistics from EPO.
  • Education. The number of highly educated employees at life science companies in Medicon Valley has continued to increase in relation to the total number of employees in 2016, growing from a share of 33% in 2015 to 35% in 2016.

Cluster ranking – Number of publications

Export and employment statistics



Interviews with e.g.:

Gitte Aabo, CEO, LEO Pharma

Bo Ahrén, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Lund University

Erik Bisgaard Madsen, Vice Dean for Public and Private Sector Services, Faculty of Science – University of Copenhagen

Mogens Holst Nissen, Vice Dean for Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences – University of Copenhagen

Katrine Krogh Andersen, Dean of Research, DTU

Olle Ljungqvist,Professor of Surgery, Örebro University Hospital

Thomas Nagy, Director BioInnovation Institute

Frederik Paulsen, Chairman, owner Ferring

Kerstin Tham,Vice-Chancellor, Malmö University

Trine Winterø, Vice Dean of Innovation & External relations, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences –­ University of Copenhagen

Facts about larger meeting and conferences, published reports and organisations (pages 83–87).

The report ”State of Medicon Valley 2018” is the fifth from the cooperation between the network organisation Medicon Valley Alliance and the Danish-Swedish knowledge center Øresundsinstituttet. The cooperation will continue in 2019.

| Read the report here |

For more information contact:

Petter Hartman
CEO, Medicon Valley Alliance
+45 2371 5577

Johan Wessman
CEO, Øresundsinstituttet
+46 (0) 702 52 32 41