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Novo Nordisk Celebrates 90 Years Of Diabetes Innovation

Global leader in diabetes care recognizes anniversary of Canadian roots

MISSISSAUGA, ON, Feb. 19, 2013 /CNW/ - Danish-based pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk is celebrating the 90 th anniversary of when diabetes patients were first treated with the company's insulin. With its Canadian headquarters in Mississauga, the company is focused on developing new and better treatments for people with diabetes. Now the world's largest diabetes care company, Novo Nordisk provides therapeutic treatments for an estimated 23 million people with diabetes worldwide and produces approximately 50 per cent of all insulin in the world.

Novo Nordisk's Canadian roots run deep and can be traced back to the University of Toronto, where Sir Frederick Banting and Charles Best first discovered insulin in 1921. In 1923, Nobel-prize winning physiologist Dr. August Krogh was granted permission from Banting and Best to produce insulin in Denmark, founding Nordisk Insulinlaboratorium - the company now known as Novo Nordisk.

Since firmly establishing itself in Canada in 1983, Novo Nordisk has earned an enviable reputation for corporate achievement, emerging as Canada's market leading diabetes company. Novo Nordisk has been named among the fastest growing Top 20 Canadian research-based pharmaceutical companies, and has earned the distinction of being a Top Employer in the Greater Toronto Area.

"Ninety years ago, our commitment to helping those living with diabetes began, shaping Novo Nordisk into the world leading diabetes company it is today," said Vince Lamanna, President, Novo Nordisk Canada Inc. "It is important to recognize and celebrate our roots as we move forward, striving for new innovations and advancements that help build a healthy future for Canadians, and people around the world."

The beginning of Novo Nordisk During a visit to the United States in 1922, Dr. August Krogh and his wife, Marie - a medical doctor living with diabetes - learned of the discovery of insulin in Canada. Marie urged her husband to meet with Professor John James Rickard Macleod at the University of Toronto, who was leading the team of researchers behind the discovery. August and Marie returned to Copenhagen in December 1922, bringing with them a desire to start insulin production in Scandinavia. A few months later, production was up and running and the first patients were treated at a hospital in Copenhagen. This was the beginning of what Novo Nordisk is today.

Since then, the company has pioneered many important advances in diabetes treatment including human insulin (1982) and the world's first insulin pen, NovoPen ® (1985). Later it developed several modern insulins (insulin analogues with improved properties) and is now also the leader in a new class of diabetes treatments - GLP-1 therapies. In parallel, Novo Nordisk has applied the skills it has built within diabetes on developing biopharmaceutical products for treatment of hemophilia, growth disorders and women's health.

Novo Nordisk's largest shareholder is the Novo Nordisk Foundation, a Danish Foundation, which provides a stable basis for the company's activities and supports humanitarian and scientific purposes.

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