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New pharma-neighbour moves in to meet start-ups

Rasmus Villemoes, Country Chair, Sanofi Denmark, opens new offices in Copenhagen Science City.

When the Danish office of international pharma giant Sanofi moved house in november 2018, they came with several wishes for their new neighbourhood. Building qualities, accessibility and green environs were all important factors. Access to collaboration partners was vital. They chose a location in Copenhagen Science City to fill all their needs.

Numerous needs fulfilled

In Vibenshuset, a Copenhagen Science City-located commercial tenancy, they found a building with the desired qualities right next to a major park and a Metro station that opens in June 2019. Crucially they also found a location within walking distance of seven start-up communities housing over 350 companies. This proximity to innovative power aligns perfectly with the hopes of Sanofi’s Danish leader Rasmus Villemoes.

We want to explore ideas outside our classical pharma view. For this, we are launching an open innovation project, where we hope to connect with start-ups to do co-creation. We especially see opportunities within technological areas and data generation”: Rasmus Villemoes, Country Chair, Sanofi Denmark.

Profiting from proximity

Sanofi is a global player with over 110,000 staff, a 300-year history and an important footprint in various disease areas such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, vaccines, cancer, sclerosis and a number of rare diseases. The Danish office has just over 100 staff, most of whom are engaged in commercial operations. With the move, Villemoes hopes to see a more externally focused company culture.

“Our new building houses a number of other companies and is close to a university hospital and to university faculties for science and for health and medical sciences. We aim to profit from that proximity and my hope is, that we will get new ideas just by initiating dialogues with our new neighbours”, says Villemoes.

Looking for accessibility

Apart from the new opportunities for collaboration, Villemoes also hopes the location will help him attract and retain specialist staff. Sanofi’s previous location was in Hørsholm. This is a beautifully leafy Copenhagen suburb, but accessibility by public transport is severely limited.

”Many in our present workforce live in the Copenhagen metropolitan area. They are thrilled to be able to bike to work or go by public transport”, says Villemoes, and continues:

I believe our new location will help us get a broader group of qualified applicants in the future and I also hope that the quality of our office will retain our current employees”.

Convenient for air travel

When scouting for the new business accommodations Sanofi looked all over the Greater Copenhagen area. Here they found options with either vibrant surroundings, excellent business accommodations or superb proximity to the airport. From June 2019, the Copenhagen Science City location will offer all of the above.

“When the new Metro station opens next summer, our location will be central, not just in Copenhagen, but to the world. Getting to the airport will take less than 20 minutes. This is important for a local division of a global company”: Rasmus Villemoes, Country Chair, Sanofi Denmark.

Copenhagen Science City in brief
  • 1 billion Euro investment in buildings for research, training and healthcare (2008-2019)
  • 1 University hospital
  • 1 University College
  • 2 University faculties (Science, and Health and Medical Sciences)
  • 3 Underground Metro stations
  • 7 Start-up communities
  • 350 Innovative start-ups and scale-ups
  • 40,000 researchers, students and staff
  • 800 meter radius encloses it all