From idea to patient

Film and folder

Please download the "From idea to patient" folder. The folder is available on both English and Danish.

Read about and request our R&D documentary Three days - searching for a better treatment. The film gives an impression of the long, exiting and difficult road from idea to patient.

The long road from idea to patient

In the pharmaceutical industry, the road from idea to patient for a new product is highly complex and time consuming. Industry estimates that out of 10,000 ideas that begin in the lab, just 10 will ever reach the stage where they are tested on people. Out of that, one may reach the market. The entire process represents some of the largest investments Novo Nordisk makes, both in terms of capital and manpower.

The process typically takes 10 to 13 years from initial work in the lab until a product is launched on the market. The further a product is developed, the greater the loss if discontinued due to adverse events. This diagram illustrates the process. The number of people involved along the way depends on the type of product and its priority, but generally, hundreds to thousands of Novo Nordisk employees have taken part in the development by the time the product is stocked on pharmacy shelves.

The race for new solutions and patents within an environment of increasing demands from patients, government regulatory agencies and the medical profession, creates an intense pressure. Benchmarks show that Novo Nordisk performs at least in line with competitors in this process.

Walk along the complex process or click on any of the steps below to go more in-depth.





Preclinical tests

Clinical trials

Product registration

Preparing for launch

Reaching the market

Phase 4 trials