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UK-NOTPR-1010 | April 2022



Our History

Over a century of dedication

On 14 August 1915, Hans Lundbeck founded a company in Copenhagen, Denmark. Hans’ first employee, who later became his wife, Grete Lundbeck, founded the Lundbeck Foundation – effectively establishing the basis for Lundbeck today. While building for the future, we look back at our past with pride.

The early years - 1915-1925

On 14 August 1915, Hans Lundbeck founded a company in Copenhagen, Denmark. The first employee that he hired, a young lady who was a multiannual Danish champion in typewriting, later became his wife and founder of the Lundbeck Foundation. 

Hans Lundbeck (1885-1943)

The company dealt in everything from machinery, biscuits, confectionery, sweeteners, cinema equipment and cameras to
photographic paper and aluminium foil, besides renting out vacuum cleaners.

Grete Lundbeck (1900-1965)

During its first years, the business operated as a trading company, but from the mid-1920s, pharmaceuticals of all sorts were added to its range of products. 

Eduard Goldschmidt (1901-1950)

Eduard Goldschmidt was hired in 1924, bringing into the company his experience from the chemical and pharmaceutical industries and
a number of new agency contracts for pharmaceuticals, such as suppositories and painkillers. Cologne and creams were also added to the portfolio and the company acquired its first tablet compression machine.

Our own production facilities - 1926-1935

During its first years, the business operated as a trading company, but from the mid-1920s, pharmaceuticals of all sorts were added to its range of products.


In the 1930s, Lundbeck began its own production and packaging of pharmaceuticals in Denmark. A growing production volume created a need for more space and additional employees. Lundbeck embarked on its journey of growth.

The first original product - 1936-1945

In 1937, Lundbeck hired its first scientific employee, the pharmacist, Oluf Hübner, who brought with him additional pharmaceutical products and initiated Lundbeck’s early dialogue with physicians.

P.V. Petersen (1920-1988)

In 1937, together with the Biological Institute at the Carlsberg Foundation, Lundbeck developed the first original Lundbeck
product for wound healing. The success from this gave Lundbeck international ambitions and the confidence to continuously seek out new research opportunities – driving forces which still characterise the company today.


To ensure sufficient manufacturing capacity, the company moved to the Copenhagen suburb of Valby in 1939, where Lundbeck headquarters is still situated today. Led by Oluf Hübner, Lundbeck established its first chemical research facilities, providing the necessary circumstances for the development of its first product for urinary tract infections. The total number of employees reached 45. 

Plant facilities, Otiliavej 7, Valby, Denmark

Hans Lundbeck died in 1943, and Poul Viggo Petersen was employed to build up Lundbeck’s pharmaceutical research. P.V. Petersen
travelled to Germany in 1946 and brought home a compound that Lundbeck developed further into a pain medication. The sales of this product brought Lundbeck into another period of strong growth where international markets continued to be more important than local ones.

Intensifying Neuroscience Research - 1946-1955

During the years following World War II, Lundbeck intensified its research, laying the foundation for the development of drugs which would later make Lundbeck known worldwide. 

At the beginning of the 1950s, Lundbeck's employee count had risen to 180.

Lundbeck employed its own researcher in microbiology, Ladislaus Szabo, who helped to develop the first Lundbeck antibiotic products, in the early 1950s. Lundbeck’s portfolio in antibiotics earned Lundbeck a strong position in the US and other international markets.

Unfortunately, the product never became a big seller, but it did ignite Lundbeck’s interest in the development of pharmaceuticals for the treatment of psychiatric diseases. 

In 1954, Grete Lundbeck, the widow of Lundbeck’s founder, Hans Lundbeck, established the Lundbeck Foundation with the purpose of
ensuring and expanding Lundbeck’s business, as well as providing financial support for primarily scientific objectives and the fight against diseases. In 1954, Lundbeck also started its first steps into the world of psychiatric treatments with a license to sell an antipsychotic product developed by the German pharmaceutical company, Chemishe Fabrik Promonta. 

In 1950, Lundbeck turned into a stock company with a share capital of DKK 1 million

The first antipsychotic - 1956-1965

In 1959, Lundbeck launched one of the first antipsychotics in the world for the treatment of schizophrenia, which through the 1960s and 1970s became Lundbeck’s most sold product – a new era in antipsychotics for Lundbeck had begun. 


The success with the treatment for schizophrenia increased the need for additional production capacity. In 1961, Lundbeck purchased a former dairy in Lumsås, Denmark, and soon began production of active compounds. 

Valby site - main entrance before 1964

In the early 1960s, Lundbeck launched their first antidepressant, which marked the start of Lundbeck’s interest in antidepressants that would later lead to the discovery of a key product for the

Growing globally - 1966-1975

Between 1960 and 1970, the number of employees doubled to 680, of whom approximately 100 were employed abroad. Lundbeck was becoming an international company.

The company opened new offices in New York and Paris and, in 1972, Lundbeck Ltd. was established in Welwyn, United Kingdom.

Focusing solely on brain disease - 1976-1985

After 60 years of growth and development based on a wide assortment of products, Lundbeck decided at the end of the 1970s to phase out its existing agencies and cosmetics departments and focus on the development and commercialisation of pharmaceuticals.


At the close of the 1980s, Lundbeck further intensified its business strategy focus. In future, Lundbeck would dedicate its efforts to the research, development, manufacturing and commercialisation of pharmaceuticals for the treatment of brain diseases. 

Antidepressant now in 70 countries - 1986-1995

Lundbeck expanded rapidly in the 1990s, due to the success with its first treatment for depression and anxiety.


By Lundbeck’s 75th anniversary in 1990, revenue amounted to DKK 0.5 billion and 8 affiliates had been established. There were 739 employees, 189 of whom were employed overseas. 


To ensure its continued success, Lundbeck intensified its research activities and began in-licensing drugs from other pharmaceutical companies. This enabled Lundbeck to launch new drugs to take over when the patents on other drugs expired. 

Lundbeck established the Lundbeck Institute in 1997 to help reduce the global burden of brain disease by supporting the education of healthcare professionals worldwide. 

Hans Lundbeck’s company finally came of age when its shares were listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange (KFX) in June 1999. The
listing gave Lundbeck access to new capital in case it wanted to buy up more subsidiaries, of which there were 30 in the year 2000. The company became more visible, placing more responsibility on the management but providing a new method of rewarding employees with shares. Further products were launched in 2002 and made available in about 100 countries worldwide, growing to account
for the major share of Lundbeck’s business. 

Reception on the day of the listing on the Copenhagen stock exchange (KFX) in 1999

In 2003, Lundbeck acquired the US-based research company, Synaptic, thereby establishing a research unit as a bridgehead in the
US. The interest in acquiring further knowledge about the group of G-protein coupled receptors was part of the reason behind the acquisition of Synaptic, who specialised in this area. 

Our growth journey - 2006-2015

In 2008, Lundbeck embarked on a new strategic growth journey, moving from a mainly European company to a global company, expanding into new, international markets. 

At the end of 2013, Lundbeck had approximately 6,000 employess in 57 countries

In 2009, Lundbeck acquired Ovation Pharmaceuticals, Inc., establishing Lundbeck’s own commercial platform in the US, the world’s largest market for pharmaceuticals. Lundbeck also acquired Elaiapharm in France, increasing the company’s production capacity. A treatment for epilepsy was also launched in the US. 

In 2011, Lundbeck launched a further product for the treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Further, Lundbeck established a new research centre in China and made a historic agreement with Japanese company Otsuka Pharmaceutical Ltd. to deliver innovative medicines targeting psychiatric disorders. 


In 2013, Lundbeck took its first steps into a new area, launching a product in Europe for the treatment of alcohol dependence. A product was also launched in the US for the treatment of schizophrenia. 

In 2014, Lundbeck launched an antidepressant in the US and in some European and other international markets. 

It took Lundbeck 75 years to reach its first half billion. In the following 25 years, the company’s revenue had grown 30 times
larger. By its 100th anniversary in 2015, Lundbeck had achieved a revenue of approximately DKK 13.5 billion.

A new chapter - 2016-2019

In 2018, Deborah Dunsire was named President and CEO  of Lundbeck. Trained as a medical doctor, Dunsire is an experienced CEO who brings more than 30 years of clinical, commercial, and international management experience from the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. In 2019, Dunsire launched Lundbeck’s new 2020 Strategy “Expand and Invest to Grow”, which
focuses on restoring brain health to drive Lundbeck’s growth. 


In 2019 Lundbeck acquired Abide Therapeutics, located in California, adding a discovery platform for psychiatric and neurological diseases. After closing, Abide Therapeutics was renamed to La Jolla Research Centre and serves as Lundbeck’s drug discovery hub in the US.

Lundbeck La Jolla Research Center La Jolla, California, USA

In 2019 Lundbeck also acquired Alder Biopharmaceuticals, located in Washington, a company committed to transforming migraine treatment and prevention. With this acquisition, Lundbeck expands its portfolio and commitment to helping the migraine community where an unmet need remains.

Saving energy and reducing Co2 emissions are long-standing strategic priorities for Lundbeck. Today, we use 35% less energy and emit 68% less CO2 than in 2006.

A New Decade - 2020

Our continued efforts to reduce CO2-emissions and energy consumption are recognised as world leading by the independent interest group Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which sets the global standard for actions against climate change. Lundbeck is included on the CDP’s new 2020 Climate A-list, the highest possible rating awarded to only the top 3% of the more than 9,600 companies surveyed by CDP worldwide.

The Sustainable Development Goal 13 aims to take “urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”

In 2020, we also entered into the COP25 Agreement “Business Ambition for 1.5°C” to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Taking climate action is a shared responsibility. At Lundbeck we are, and historically have been, always dedicated to do our part.

More from Lundbeck

Our Commitment

We strive for Progress in Mind - our multifaceted approach to patients.

Scientific Partnership

Successes and our heritage have provided us with a strong global network.

Business Development

Partnerships are a key pillar in our strategy to become leaders in brain health.

UK-NOTPR-1921 | May 2024