Novo Nordisk’s highest priority in 2020 was to ensure the safety of
our employees and the uninterrupted supply of our life-saving
medicines for patients. We achieved this, while also supporting
society's response to the pandemic, most notably in Denmark, where our
headquarter presence meant we were able to assist the government in
the rapid scale-up of coronavirus testing. At the same time, our
scientists continued to make significant progress in
discovering new therapies of the future, while our
global commercial organisation embraced an increasingly digital new reality.
The world has been through one of the most difficult years in recent
human history. Despite the pandemic and the turbulent business
environment, Novo Nordisk took important steps towards delivering on
our purpose of driving change to defeat diabetes and other serious
chronic diseases – a goal we are confident will translate into
sustainable and profitable growth.
This does not mean that the road ahead is going to be easy. The
pandemic has exacted an immense economic, as well as human, cost on
societies and it is inevitable that public finances will remain
fragile for many years. Those fiscal constraints will put pressure on
businesses that work closely with governments, including the
pharmaceutical industry, and we will have to find new ways to ensure
that our products are accessible to all those who need them.
Beyond COVID-19, two consistent priorities were high on the Board’s
agenda in 2020, namely scientific innovation and sustainability –
both of which are vital to ensure the future of the
company. It is therefore satisfying to see a healthy product
pipeline, including the pioneering science that we consider to be
the biggest contribution we can make to society.
Our research is now more broadly focused as we look to deliver
treatments within therapy areas adjacent to our core competencies.
Specifically, this means looking beyond semaglutide, the GLP-1
molecule found in our new oral diabetes treatment
Rybelsus® and the once-weekly injectable
Ozempic®. We are exploring novel ways to treat a range of
conditions beyond diabetes, including cardiovascular disease – the
world’s leading cause of death – obesity and most recently
also as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. In tandem with
this push into new areas, we are also establishing more external
alliances and partnerships to complement our in-house expertise.