A passion for helping people

- Novo Nordisk's history

The story of Novo Nordisk goes back more than 80 years. It began when August Krogh, a Nobel Prize-winning professor at the University of Copenhagen, decided he wanted to start producing a revolutionary new medical preparation called insulin, which had just been discovered by a group of scientists at Toronto University in Canada. Krogh was the first to bring insulin production to Denmark, in order to treat people with diabetes - among those his wife Marie.

Nordisk is born

In 1923, Krogh joined forces with Dr Hans Christian Hagedorn, a specialist in the regulation of blood sugar, and pharmacist August Kongsted, who together founded Nordisk Insulinlaboratorium. From the very early years, Krogh was determined to ensure access to insulin to everyone who had diabetes. To that effect, he sold the medicine for minimum prices to those who could not afford to pay full price.

Novo is born

In 1925, the two brothers Thorvald and Harald Pedersen, who both previously worked at Nordisk Insulinlaboratorium, founded Novo Terapeutisk Laboratorium. In strong competition with each other, the firms quickly developed into two of the best in their field.

Two long-time rivals join forces

After more than 60 years of rivalry, Novo and Nordisk finally called a truce in 1989, merging to create one of the world's largest biotechnology groups, Novo Nordisk.

A lasting legacy

Today, Krogh's legacy to make a positive difference in people's lives and do whatever it takes to help people defeat diabetes remains at the heart of everything Novo Nordisk does.

Read more about the history of Novo Nordisk