Novo Nordisk owner, Danish government in talks about vaccine production

COPENHAGEN, March 15 (Reuters) - The foundation that controls Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk said on Monday it is in preliminary talks with the government about establishing local vaccine production.

“We can confirm that we have discussions with the government about the possibilities of establishing a vaccine production in Denmark,” said Steffen Lüders, senior vice president of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, without elaborating.

Business Minister Simon Kollerup confirmed in an email that the government is in talks with the country’s life science industry, including the foundation.

The news, first reported by Berlingske newspaper, comes after Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen openly expressed concern over delays in the European Union in ordering, approving and distributing COVID-19 vaccines.

This month she travelled to Israel for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz about possible joint production facilities for COVID-19 vaccines.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation, which at the end of 2019 had a total net worth of 411 billion Danish crowns ($66 billion), focuses on medical treatment and research through grants and its controlling stakes in Novo Nordisk and Novozymes.

$1 = 6.2329 Danish crowns Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; editing by Jason Neely