March 28, 2022

Novo Holdings reports Total Income and Returns of DKK 37 billion (€5 billion) in 2021, representing a 29% increase over 2020

Copenhagen, Denmark – Novo Holdings realised Total Income and Returns of DKK 37 billion (€5 billion) in 2021, representing a 29% increase over 2020. The result is based on a strong performance from both the Novo Group companies and the Novo Holdings Investment Portfolio, with the latter generating a highly satisfactory return of 15% for the year.

Novo Holdings closed 2021 with total assets of DKK 697 billion (€94 billion), up from DKK 457 billion (€61 billion) in 2020, with the Novo Holdings Investment Portfolio alone increasing to a record DKK 182 billion (€24 billion).

Total Returns from the Novo Holdings Investment Portfolio amounted to DKK 23.9 billion (€3.2 billion), while dividends and income from participating in the share repurchase programmes of the Novo Group companies (Novo Nordisk and Novozymes) totalled DKK 13.5 billion (€1.8 billion).

Kasim Kutay, CEO of Novo Holdings, said: “2021 was a very satisfactory year for Novo Holdings. Besides strong returns from the Novo Group companies, our Investment Portfolio delivered strong results across all segments. We are very pleased to be executing on our key objective of generating attractive returns for the Novo Nordisk Foundation, which the Foundation can distribute for purposes that improve the lives of people and the sustainability of the planet.”

Portfolio of 151 companies
The Novo Holdings Investment Portfolio comprises Life Science Investments (Novo Seeds, Novo Growth, Novo Ventures and Novo Principal Investments), making up 52% of the portfolio, and Novo Capital Investors (48% of the portfolio). The Life Science Investment Portfolio and Novo Capital Investors contributed evenly with returns of close to DKK 12 billion (€1.6 billion) each.

By year-end, the total Novo Holdings portfolio counted 151 companies, including Novo Nordisk and Novozymes.

“2021 was a year of very high activity across all our verticals, and we have increased our investments both geographically and sector-wise. Our Principal Investments team in Boston acquired two companies, and our team in Singapore invested in a number of highly promising healthcare companies across Southeast Asia. On top of that, the Novo Ventures team executed 46 investments and eight IPOs, while Novo Seeds continues to be a key player in building a sustainable Nordic life science ecosystem,” Kasim Kutay said.

“Further, we have successfully increased our presence in the bioindustrials sector, which is a very important strategic area to Novo Holdings, while Novo Capital Investors further increased our investments into real assets,” Kasim Kutay added.

At the end of 2021, the Life Science Investment Portfolio generated a 10-year average return of 17%, while the Novo Capital Investors Portfolio generated a 10-year average return of 10%. The total Novo Holdings Investment Portfolio 10-year average return stands at 14%.

Investment Portfolio highlights

  • Novo Capital Investors, the non-life science investment team of Novo Holdings, closed the year with DKK 88 billion (€11.8 billion) of assets under management and generated a return of 17%. The new Real Assets Team of Novo Capital Investors committed around DKK 3 billion (€0.4 billion), including an investment in the Copenhagen land plot Jernbanebyen, a strategic renewable partnership with European Energy and our first real estate investments in the US.

  • Principal Investments experienced a high conversion rate in 2021 in private investing and deployed DKK 9 billion (€1.2 billion) of capital, including the private majority investments into Altasciences (Canada) and BBI (UK), and the private minority investments into Availity (US) and Esco (Singapore).

  • Novo Growth invested DKK 1.7 billion (€0.2 billion) in 2021, taking its total portfolio to 21 companies. In just a few years, Novo Growth has emerged as a leading life science growth equity investor and has a portfolio of companies in sectors ranging from bioindustrials to diagnostics and gene therapy. This year saw the IPO of Exscientia, a pharmatech company Novo Holdings invested in during 2020, at a valuation of around DKK 17 billion (€2.3 billion).

  • Novo Ventures had a high level of activity and invested DKK 3.2 billion (€0.4 billion). The Novo Ventures Team executed 46 investments, and among the exits were eight IPOs. In 2021, Novo Ventures invested in its first Asia-based company, namely Hummingbird Biosciences, an innovative clinical-stage biotech company.

  • Novo Seeds invested DKK 572 million (€77 million) in 2021, including investments into six new companies. A highlight of the year was the NASDAQ IPO of IO Biotech at a valuation of around DKK 2.6 billion (€0.3 billion). Copenhagen-based IO Biotech, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel, immune-modulating anti-cancer therapies, was seeded by Novo Seeds in 2014 with an initial investment of approximately DKK 4 million (€0.5 million).


Return on the Investment Portfolio:

The following table shows the 5- and 10-year returns for Novo Holdings’ Life Science Investments, Capital Investments and Total Investment Portfolio. The results for 2020 are included for comparison along with the long-term returns.

Income and Investment Returns (in DKK (EUR) billion):

As a holding and investment company, Novo Holdings invests to generate long-term returns. The Total Value of the Holding and Investment Assets was DKK 697 billion (EUR 94 billion) at the end of 2021.

Holding and Investment Assets (in DKK (EUR) billion):

Notes: Income from the Novo Group includes dividends received from Novo Nordisk A/S and Novozymes A/S, in addition to income related to the sale of shares in Novo Group companies. In the investment assets overview, the value of the Novo Group is presented with both A and B shares valued at the closing price of B shares on 31 December 2021 and 31 December 2020. Income and Investment Returns as well as Total Holdings and Investment Assets include the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s share of returns and assets.

About the performance overview of the Investment Portfolio:

All returns are calculated in DKK and reflect total returns excluding internal costs. The returns on Life Science Investments are calculated as internal rate of return (IRR) based on the book value at the end of the measurement period and cash flows within the measurement period, compared with the book value at the beginning of the measurement period. Capital Investments’ returns and Investment Portfolio returns are based on Time Weighted Returns (TWR).

Read the Novo Holdings Annual Report 2021 here.

About Novo Holdings A/S
Novo Holdings A/S is a private limited liability company wholly owned by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. It is the holding company of the Novo Group, comprising Novo Nordisk A/S and Novozymes A/S, and is responsible for managing the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s assets.

Novo Holdings is recognised as a leading international life science investor with a focus on creating long-term value. As a life science investor, Novo Holdings provides seed and venture capital to development-stage companies and takes significant ownership positions in growth and well-established companies. Novo Holdings also manages a broad portfolio of diversified financial assets. Further information:

About the Novo Nordisk Foundation
The Novo Nordisk Foundation is an enterprise foundation with philanthropic objectives established in Denmark in 1924. 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:

Further information

Christian Mostrup, Senior Programme Lead, +45 3067 4805,