Portfolio activities in 2015 EpiTherapeutics: In May 2015, Lundbeckfond Emerge was proud to be part of the syndicate of investors that could announce the sale of EpiTherapeutics to Gilead Sciences for USD 65 million. EpiTherapeutics develops novel cancer drugs, based on worldclass research into epigenetics conducted by Professor Kristian Helin and his group at the Biotech Research & Innovation Centre (BRIC), University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Through the successful sale of the company, the exciting programmes were transferred to the new owner, who will continue their development. Insusense Therapeutics: In October 2015, Lundbeckfonden refinanced Insusense Therapeutics with EUR 2 million (approx. DKK 15 million), enabling the company to continue its work in translating the exciting scientific results on sortilin biology into new potential treatments for diabetes. The company is based on breakthrough research conducted by Professor Anders Nykjær and his team at the neuroscience research centre, MIND at Aarhus University, Denmark. IO Biotech: In December 2015, Lundbeckfonden participated in a EUR 11 million financing of IO Biotech, a company based on research conducted by Professor Mads Hald Andersen and Professor Inge Marie Svane at the Centre for Cancer Immune Therapy, Herlev Hospital, Denmark. IO Biotech is a clinical-stage company that develops disruptive immune therapies targeting so-called checkpoints in cancer cells with vaccines, thereby allowing the body to better fight cancer.
GRANT ACTIVITIES Once again in 2015, Lundbeckfonden was among the largest private donors of grants to Danish biomedical research, awarding a total of DKK 442 million to 433 grants. These funds support excellent and innovative researchers and research projects within biomedicine and health science, as well as science education and research communication activities. The total sum marked a slight decrease in funding compared to 2014, but the Foundation keeps to its earlier communicated goal of distributing approximately DKK 3 billion in research grants from 2015-2020. By improving knowledge, it is the strategic goal of the Foundation to contribute to growth in Denmark. Indirectly by strengthening Danish research, directly by securing jobs for a large number of research staff, academic and technical, who work on projects funded by Lundbeckfonden. In 2015, the salaries of 551 full time researchers and other staff were covered by Lundbeckfonden grants. Supporting innovative research For several years, one of the main pillars of Lundbeckfonden’s grant activities has been to support the careers of young and promising researchers. In 2015, the Foundation appointed six new Lundbeckfonden Fellows. They will each receive DKK 10 million over a five-year period, to establish and expand their own independent research group at a Danish institution. Since the fellowship programme was launched in 2007, 50 researchers have received this prestigious grant. In addition, 47 individual PhD scholarships and 58 postdoc scholarships were allocated for research projects conducted in Denmark and abroad in 2015. 2015 also marked the launch of Lundbeckfonden Clinical Research Fellowship Program (LFCRF). The programme, which is set up as a partnership between Lundbeckfonden and Innovation Centre Denmark in Silicon Valley, brings Danish medical students to San Francisco for a period of ten months. During this period, the
students go through formalised clinical research training, closely mentored by two internationally recognized clinical researchers. This takes place at either University of California San Francisco (UCSF) or Stanford University – in collaboration with a Danish medical school. This year, five students were selected for the LFCRF programme following a thorough board review of applicants. The students started their fellowship year in San Francisco in early September 2015. Unlike previous years, the Foundation chose not to support any major strategic projects. Instead, it published a call for larger biomedical projects of an innovative, ground-breaking and international standard, awarding grants of up to DKK 10 million for each. 12 projects covering various areas within biomedicine received DKK 111 million in funding. Awarding exceptional talent Promoting science communication and honouring researchers, students and teachers continues to be a strong priority for the Foundation. Professor Robert Fenton, Aarhus University received the Research Prize for Young Scientists, and four young promising researchers received the Foundation’s talent prizes. The Board of Trustees renewed the grant for “The Best Teacher Award” – in collaboration with the Danish newspaper, Politiken – for an additional three years and also reaffirmed the Foundation’s commitment to support the science communication competition, “PhD Cup”. A revised grant strategy As part of the Foundation’s strategy process in 2015, Lundbeckfonden adopted a revised grant strategy, which supports the vision of creating better lives through new knowledge. The revised strategy supports the Foundation’s commitment to increase the quality and the usability of the cumulative, researchbased knowledge and experience in the field of biomedical sciences in Denmark, with a specific focus on brain health. As per 2015, Lundbeckfonden's grant activities will be divided into four grant categories: 1. Larger theme-based grants that strengthen specified areas of research 2. Research career grants that promote the careers of researchers at all career levels 3. Honorary awards that honour young as well as more senior researchers for outstanding achievements 4. Science education and communication grants that seek to inspire teachers and pupils within the fields of natural science and science communication
THE BRAIN PRIZE The Brain Prize is deeply rooted in the Foundation’s efforts to improve knowledge. As part of Lundbeckfonden’s strategy process in 2015, it was decided to further engage scientists and a broader audience by enhancing international outreach activities, including a PR- and branding scheme. The aim is to position The Brain Prize as the most well-known and prestigious international neuroscience prize in the world. 2015 marked the fifth anniversary of The Brain Prize. This year, the research prize of € 1 million was shared equally between four scientists: Winfried Denk, Arthur Konnerth, Karel Svoboda and David Tank. The prize was awarded to this team of scientists for their invention, development and application of the two-photon microscope. The instrument enables precise examination of the function of individual brain cells and how the brain cells communicate in networks.
Lundbeck Foundation - 2015 Annual Report