Company celebrates 90 years of providing insulin to diabetics

For 90 years Novo Nordisk, which has its UK headquarters in Crawley, has been saving the lives of millions of diabetics with its production of insulin.

The company, which is based at the Broadfield Business Park, first started treating patients in 1922, it now produces 50 per cent of the world’s insulin.

Since that groundbreaking moment, the company now focuses on developing new and better treatments and provides therapeutic treatments for an estimated 23 million people.

Staff celebrated the companies 90th birthday on Monday last week (February 18).

Peter Meeus, UK managing director of Novo Nordisk, said: “Our 90 year anniversary is a significant milestone for Novo Nordisk.

“Our commitment to changing the lives of people with diabetes is unparalleled both globally and here in the UK, where we have been operating for over 25 years.

“Our researchers have discovered many breakthroughs in diabetes treatments for patients and our dedication to the training and support of NHS doctors and nurses has helped thousands to share expertise between primary and specialist care.

“We look forward to our next 90 years of innovations in diabetes and continuing to develop new treatments for patients with haemophilia and growth disorders.”

The company was created after August Krogh, a Danish Nobel laureate, and his wife, Marie, a medical doctor who had diabetes, learned about the discovery of animal insulin in Canada. Marie urged August to meet Professor Macleod in Toronto who led the team of researchers behind the discovery.

August and Marie returned to Copenhagen in December 1922, bringing with them permission to start insulin production.

A few months later, production was up and running and the first patients were treated at a hospital in Copenhagen which was the beginning of what is now Novo Nordisk.

Since then, the company has pioneered many important advances in diabetes treatment including producing human insulin in 1982 and the world’s first insulin pen, NovoPen.