2015 was an eventful year for Lundbeckfonden. The Foundation’s assets grew but the year ended in a loss of DKK 3 billion. This was particularly due to non-recurring costs accrued by the foundation’s largest subsidiary, H. Lundbeck A/S, which restructured in connection with a new strategy.
In 2015, Lundbeckfonden supported health science research, natural science tuition and research communication with grants totalling DKK 442 million. The Foundation’s sponsorship covers salaries for 551 scientists and other research staff as well as running costs connected with projects.
Lene Skole: “After a challenging 2015, 2016 is looking brighter. All three of our subsidiaries have sensible and realistic strategies in place, so we expect them all to deliver growth and improved earnings. We plan for grants to remain at, at least, the same level in the coming year and, consequently, we still expect to award a total of DKK 3 billion over the period from 2015 to 2020.”
Investment of Lundbeckfonden’s available funds of around DKK 14 billion was impacted by volatility in the financial markets in 2015. Profits amounted to DKK 950 million, compared with DKK 2,228 million in 2014, corresponding to a return of approximately 7%, which was satisfactory.
At the end of September 2015, Lundbeckfonden became a major shareholder in FLSmidth, acquiring a shareholding of just over 10%. This is a long-term investment in a well-run company which, to date, has given the foundation a positive return.
Lundbeckfonden’s venture capital activities consist of 19 American and European life science companies. In 2015, we added three new companies to the portfolio. One company was sold and another closed down. Lundbeckfonden invested a total of DKK 361 million in Lundbeckfonden Ventures.
It was also decided to invest a further DKK 300 million over four years in early-stage life science companies, primarily based on Danish research. The first investment was in IO Biotech at the end of 2015, a company that originated from research in immunotherapy and cancer at Herlev Hospital.
Changes to the Board of Trustees
Professor Povl Krogsgaard-Larsen will turn 75 on 17 May this year and, consequently, has reached the Foundation's retiring age. Clinical Professor Michael Kjær, MD, DMSc, of Bispebjerg Hospital and the University of Copenhagen will replace him as a new, independent member of the board.