New partnership between the Technical University of Denmark & LEO Pharma A/S brings chemistry students into ‘the engine room’

Copenhagen, Denmark, April 23, 2018 – Through a new partnership between the Technical University of Denmark’s Department of Chemistry (DTU Chemistry) and the pharmaceutical company LEO Pharma, chemistry students will get a unique opportunity to experience first-hand how a global pharmaceutical company works with innovation and research.

The partnership includes workshops, special training sessions and project assignments, and as part of the program the students will get the opportunity to work directly with innovation and research in several ways: they will be working on their own projects in DTU Skylab’s laboratories, and they will get a unique opportunity to work on an ongoing research project with LEO Pharma. DTU Skylab is an innovation hub, a so-called ‘maker space’ which facilitates innovation among all students at DTU.

This is an extraordinary opportunity for DTU Chemistry students! They get to directly interact with a leading pharmaceutical company during their studies and learn from LEO Pharma’s know-how. LEO Pharma is offering students various ways to interact with their Open Innovation initiative, which is very exciting,” says Professor Mads Hartvig Clausen, responsible for DTU Chemistry´s part of the partnership.

LEO Pharma Open Innovation operates with the philosophy that the best research results are achieved with an open approach to innovation and collaboration. In practice, this means that LEO Pharma Open Innovation offers any scientist who has developed a molecule, which may have potential within treatment of skin diseases, access to having the compound testes at LEO Pharma’s laboratories, with no strings attached.

The transparent approach also forms the foundation for LEO Pharma’s partnership with DTU Chemistry: all research data from the course and input from discussions will be available to the students, and LEO Pharma has waived all intellectual property rights relating to the partnership. At the same time, LEO Pharma is ready to discuss potential collaboration, should the students’ work result in new discoveries during the program.

Our overall objective with the partnership with DTU Chemistry is to reduce the distance between students and our industry, and in that way help develop the students into even better scientists in the longer term. By sharing what we call our ‘patient science’, we provide the students with unique insights into how we transform our knowledge about patients’ needs into science in our laboratories,” says Niclas Nilsson, Head of LEO Pharma Open Innovation.

The students will be invited into LEO Pharma’s engine room: they will be working together with the company’s researchers and test theory from their studies in practice. Students will be working on a current LEO Pharma research project aiming at finding new anti-inflammatory molecules for treatment of eczema. Moreover, they will – with help from DTU Skylab – among other get the opportunity to design and test new molecules on their own.

The way ideas are generated and new medicines are developed is undergoing dramatic changes in these years. Breaking down traditional barriers between public and private enterprises is a big part of that revolution. DTU Chemistry is proud to work hand-in-hand with LEO Pharma to educate the next generation of chemical engineers, who will be trained to work in new and innovative ways,” says Mads Hartvig Clausen.

We hope that our partnership with DTU will put LEO Pharma on the map for students, so that they think of us when they have completed their studies and are looking at potential employers. In that way, you can say that we regard the partnership with DTU as an investment in the scientists of the future,” says Niclas Nilsson.

We look greatly forward to bringing the open innovation pharmaceutical mindset to the students at DTU Chemistry and to working together with LEO Pharma Open Innovation,” says Workshop Manager Rasmus Barfod from DTU Skylab.

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About DTU Chemistry

DTU Chemistry is an internationally leading institute of research and teaching in the main fields of chemistry: Physical, Bio-Physical, Organic and Inorganic Chemistry, all with a number of specializations. The institute carries out the initial education that you meet at the beginning of the study, and partly the later, which often relates to current research projects. The institute actively contributes to the basic chemical science, which aims to further develop the methods and concepts of chemistry and to explain and uncover relationships. Chemical research often has strong relationships with neighboring areas such as physics, nanotechnology, biochemistry, etc. Many research projects are also closely linked to applications in are as such as energy, drugs, catalysis and materials. Research is often conducted in close cooperation with industry and universities at home and abroad. The institute has approx. 140 employees.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 5,800 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society; and our 10,600 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government, and public agencies.


About LEO Pharma Open Innovation

LEO Pharma Open Innovation offers a truly unique set-up for exploring drug research with external partners such as biotech companies, start-ups and academic drug research institutions. The Open Innovation platform provides the opportunity to test whether a compound has the potential to treat dermatological diseases. The initiative enables any scientist to submit compounds for testing using the extensive research tools at LEO Pharma’s laboratories.

A key principle for all Open Innovation partnerships is that the external partner retains all rights to the molecule and owns all generated data. If the results look promising, LEO Pharma will investigate the potential for a scientific collaboration or business partnership.

Since the launch of LEO Pharma Open Innovation in 2015, more than 500 molecules have been tested in collaboration with more than 40 partners.


About LEO Pharma

LEO Pharma helps people achieve heal thy skin. By offering care solutions to patients in more than 100 countries globally, LEO Pharma supports people in managing their skin conditions. Founded in 1908 and owned by the LEO Foundation, the health care company has devoted decades of research and development to delivering products and solutions to people with skin conditions. LEO Pharma is headquartered in Denmark and employs more than 5,000 people worldwide.

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