Crucially, we also broadened our technology platforms and expanded
our research into adjacent disease areas in 2020 including
cardiovascular disease, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and
Alzheimer’s disease – areas of huge unmet medical need and a
great burden for patients, families and society alike.
Our continued focus on external innovation led to the
significant acquisitions of Corvidia Therapeutics and Emisphere
Technologies, strengthening our positions in cutting-edge areas of
cardiovascular medicine and drug delivery respectively.
Commercially, 2020 was a challenging year as lockdowns reduced the
time doctors spent with their patients, leading to fewer initiations
of new treatments. Despite this, we expanded our leadership position
in the diabetes market in terms of value, keeping us on track to reach
a share of more than one third by 2025. Diabetes sales were driven by
sales of GLP-1 products (Victoza®, Ozempic® and
Rybelsus®), which offset mixed market conditions for
insulins. We continued to help more people living with obesity, while
making progress with our ambition to secure sustained growth within
our Biopharm division thanks to strong demand for our growth hormone
and new haemophilia products.
I believe that our ability to meet the needs of our millions of
patients during the pandemic in 2020 comes as a consequence of our
crystal-clear purpose and long-established company values. We are far
from done and have many more millions of patients for whom treatment
is not accessible today. So now is the time to continue to invest in
our people and in our organisation, creating an inclusive, diverse and
safe working environment in which colleagues have equal opportunities
to thrive and fulfil their potential.
Looking to the future, I am confident that our clear corporate
strategy will make us a valued partner to society as the world
continues on the long road to recovery from the pandemic.
In closing, I would like to thank my colleagues around the world for
their agility and commitment during this most challenging of years.
Special thanks must go to our partners and collaborators, without whom
we could not succeed. A sincere thank you goes to our Board of
Directors for their continued support and constructive challenging of
the organisation. Finally, I would like to send a thank you to our
shareholders for their continuous support.
Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen
President & Chief