May 1, 2024

Novo Holdings commits DKK 1.4 billion (€188 million) to build a quantum technology start-up ecosystem

With Denmark as the centre of gravity, the ambition is to invest in, support and advance some of the world’s most promising quantum technology companies with applications in the life sciences.

The quantum industry, which develops novel technologies such as quantum computers or quantum sensing based on quantum physics, holds the potential to dramatically impact a number of industries, and in particular the life sciences. Quantum technologies are currently on a steep development trajectory, especially in the Nordics.

With the current momentum in Denmark, there is potential to establish a global innovation hub for quantum technology. To achieve this, a vibrant seed and venture capital investment ecosystem is essential – and that is exactly what Novo Holdings aims to accomplish.

Søren Møller, Managing Partner, Seed Investments, Novo Holdings, said:
“Quantum technology is a disruptive and transformative field that can revolutionise various sectors and address global challenges. Combining Novo Holdings’ longstanding experience in developing the life sciences ecosystem in the Nordics with the quantum activities and commitment from the Novo Nordisk Foundation provides a very powerful platform for building quantum startups. Our ultimate goal is to create, grow and develop strong quantum technology companies in the Nordics.”

Organisationally, Quantum Investments will be anchored with Seed Investments, where a new dedicated sub-team will be established.

The Quantum Investments team will focus on quantum computing, sensing, and algorithms – all areas that have relevant applications within healthcare, and a significant applicability within the broader life sciences sector. Geographically, Denmark has been identified as a promising quantum technology hub, building on a strong momentum and a heritage dating back to Niels Bohr. However, the investment mandate is global, so although Denmark will be the centre of gravity, Novo Holdings will potentially also invest beyond the Nordics.

The power of partnerships
Establishing a quantum technology hub in Denmark aligns with a number of recent initiatives by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, most notably the establishment of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Quantum Computing Programme (NQCP) that aims to establish one of the world’s first fully functional and generally applicable quantum computers and The Quantum Foundry, a limited liability company fully owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation with the purpose of developing quantum materials and quantum chips as well as the associated fabrication tools.

Lene Oddershede, Senior Vice President, Natural & Technical Sciences, Novo Nordisk Foundation, said:
“There is a substantial demand for investments in the quantum space to harvest the potential of the emerging quantum technologies. A strong quantum ecosystem based on knowledge, networks comprised by all relevant partners, and with sufficient capital is instrumental to guarantee the further development and commercialisation of quantum research enabled by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, the Danish state, and the BioInnovation Institute’s (BII) Deep Tech Lab - Quantum. We foresee significant developments in this area, both imminently and over a longer horizon. Success, however, hinges on our ability to fully leverage the potential of the quantum technologies by realising the full value chain and establishing robust partnerships.”

The potential to develop and form new partnerships is part of the rationale for choosing Denmark as the anchor point for a quantum technology hub, given the country’s track record of successful public-private partnerships.

The Danish government has committed DKK 1.2 bn (€160 million) to quantum technology research. This, combined with the grants from the Novo Nordisk Foundation and other contributors, make Denmark’s per capita investments in quantum technology the highest in the world today.

Deep Tech Lab – Quantum  is likely to become another key partner. Operated by BioInnovation Institute (BII), it is Denmark’s official NATO DIANA accelerator site. Together with the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, the Technical University of Denmark, Aarhus University, and the Danish National Metrology Institute, the purpose is to leverage Denmark’s world-leading research in quantum technology.

About Novo Holdings A/S
Novo Holdings is a holding and investment company that is responsible for managing the assets and the wealth of the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The purpose of Novo Holdings is to improve people’s health and the sustainability of society and the planet by generating attractive long-term returns on the assets of the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Novo Holdings is the controlling shareholder of Novo Nordisk A/S and Novonesis A/S (Novozymes A/S) and manages an investment portfolio with a long-term return perspective. In addition to managing a broad portfolio of equities, bonds, real estate, infrastructure and private equity assets, Novo Holdings is a world-leading life sciences investor. Through its Seeds, Venture, Growth, Asia, Bioindustrial and Principal Investments teams, Novo Holdings invests in life science companies at all stages of development.  As of year-end 2023, Novo Holdings had total assets of EUR 149 billion.

About the Novo Nordisk Foundation
Established in Denmark in 1924, the Novo Nordisk Foundation is an enterprise foundation with philanthropic objectives. The vision of the Foundation is to improve people’s health and the sustainability of society and the planet. The Foundation’s mission is to progress research and innovation in the prevention and treatment of cardiometabolic and infectious diseases as well as to advance knowledge and solutions to support a green transformation of society.

Further information

Marie-Louise Jersin, Senior Communications Partner,