Novo Nordisk Foundation grants $17m for pharma fermentation pilot plant

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Bacteria Biotechnology Copenhagen

The Novo Nordisk Foundation has awarded a DKK118m ($17m) grant to fund development of a fermentation pilot plant for cell line scale up experiments at the Technical University of Denmark.

The plant is intended to support development of so called “cell factories,” which are bacteria, yeast and mammalian cells modified to produce drugs or chemicals used their production.

A University spokeswoman told us “The plant will be located in the headquarters of The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability – DTU Biosustain – that is at Technical University of Denmark in Kongens Lyngby​.”

She added that: “We expect the plant to be fully operational by May or June this year​.”


The facility will allow researchers to test how the cell lines are impacted by industry relevant parameters like temperature, pressure and oxygenation according to Bernhard Palsson, CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Centre for Biosustainability.

Developing a cell line that is very productive in small trials does not guarantee that the cells will produce efficiently in the large bioreactors used by industry.

Palsson added that: “The new plant can give a more realistic idea of the potential and the costs associated with specific types of products​.”


The Novo Nordisk Foundation Centre for Biosustainability was established at the Technical University of Denmark in 2011 with the support of a grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

A spokesman told us the foundation “supports free and independent research at public research institutions and any research result belongs to the researchers and their institutions​.”

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