The Research & Development Committee

The Research & Development Committee consists of up to five members elected by the Board of Directors from among its members. One member is designated as chairman and one member is an employee representative.

The Research & Development Committee was established in March 2017 in light of the updated research and development strategy and priorities. The new Committee is temporary and is expected to exist for 18-24 months while the company is implementing the new research and development strategy. 

The Board of Directors has in March 2018 elected the following members to the Research & Development Committee:

  • Martin Mackay (elected, chairman since 2018; independent)
  • Brian Daniels (re-elected, member since the establishment in 2017; independent)
  • Sylvie Gregoire (re-elected, member since the establishment in 2017; independent)
  • Thomas Rantzau (elected, member since 2018; employee representative; not independent)

Roles and responsibilities

The Research & Development Committee assists the Board with oversight of the research and development strategy, the pipeline, and other tasks on an ad hoc basis as specifically decided by the Board.


The Research & Development Committee consists of three members who are independent, including the chairman, as defined in the Danish Corporate Governance Recommendations and one member, the employee representative, who is non-independent. According to the Danish Corporate Governance Recommendations a majority of the members of a board committee shall qualify as independent. Hence, the composition of the Research & Development Committee adheres to the Danish Corporate Governance Recommendations.


The Research & Development Committee conducted three meetings in 2017. The members of the Research & Development Committee participated in all meetings in 2017. Please refer to the Annual Report 2017 on pp 54-55 for a detailed attendance overview.


Research & Development Committee Report 2017

The Research & Development Committee was established in March 2017. The Research & Development Committee works according to an Annual Work Plan with fixed agenda items. In addition, the Research & Development Committee meets when developments require additional meetings. The Research & Development Committee has in 2017 met three times and dealt with the following matters:

Research & Development pipeline update

  • Regularly reviewed progress of the development project pipeline, including initiation and results of clinical trials, submission of application for marketing authorisations, and receipt of marketing authorisations for key development projects.
  • Reviewed progress of the research project pipeline, including key challenges and initiatives within early innovation and new therapeutic areas.


Progress within external innovation sourcing

  • Discussed the increased need for external innovation sourcing.
  • Regularly reviewed potential as well as completed external innovation sourcing opportunities, including potential acquisitions and licensing opportunities.


Implementation of the revised Research & Development Strategy

  • Reviewed the overall strategic objectives for the next 3-5 years.
  • Reviewed the research strategy within other serious chronic diseases.
  • Reviewed research & development governance, including how the activities have been divided between corporate functions and functions in the affiliates.
  • Reviewed the future organisational research & development set-up.

Research & Development Committee matters and governance

  • Reviewed and endorsed the Annual Work Plan for 2018.
  • Reviewed and endorsed the Research & Development Committee Charter.
  • Conducted private meetings without the assigned executive being present.
  • Reviewed and endorsed a report on the Research & Development Committee’s activities in 2017.

Special focus areas

  • Semaglutide for type 2 diabetes (subcutaneous and oral): Discussed the clinical trial programme and results as well as the regulatory approval process.
  • External innovation sourcing: Discussed the increased search for external research collaborations to support in-house innovation.
  • Internal research innovation: Discussed the higher innovation threshold for progressing research & development projects and implications.
  • Other serious chronic diseases: Discussed the intensified exploration of current assets in adjacent disease areas of high unmet need as well as the identification of new assets using the company’s existing technology platform.


Related reading

R&D Committee Charter