Meet Genmab

Genmab is a Copenhagen-based biotech company with offices in Utrecht Region, the United States and Japan. The largest European biotech firm by market capitalisation, it was founded in 1999 and went public in 2000, raising DKK 1.56 billion – a record IPO for any European biotech company at the time. Openness and a willingness to collaborate are two of the fundamental factors that drive Genmab’s ongoing success.

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Specialisation with a collaborative mindset

Genmab CEO Jan van de Winkel: “Our operations focus primarily on cancer therapeutics as cancer comes with a broad spectrum of significant medical needs. We have an excellent track record in this field. Because few biotech companies have created multiple drugs that have successfully made it to market, we feel a need to focus and stick to this disease area.

With 17 key partnerships in place – six pharma and 11 biotech – Genmab has always been inclined to collaborate. “We are very receptive and open to interacting with other companies and industries. Collaboration is embedded in Genmab’s DNA”, says Van de Winkel.

Innovative R&D base in Utrecht

From the start, Genmab had a solid R&D base at Utrecht Science Park. Its neighbours include Hubrecht Laboratory, the Princess Maxima Centre for paediatric oncology, the UMCU – one of the largest hospitals in the Netherlands – and, of course, Utrecht University, the country’s largest research university.

Van de Winkel adds: “This makes Utrecht a perfect innovation ecosystem and a wonderful place for a biotech company to have a leading R&D headquarters. There is also a great willingness to work together with academic teams and other organisations throughout the Netherlands. I think that’s unique to this ecosystem. This eagerness to communicate and connect is one of the central reasons we have been so successful.”

Global biotech connections via Utrecht

Van de Winkel believes genuine advances occur by intelligently combining expertise from different areas. To facilitate its connections and collaborations, Genmab is expanding operations in Utrecht.

He explains: “We started with about 15 people in 1999. Today, we have around 300 employees in Utrecht alone and a brand-new iconic R&D centre opposite Hubrecht Laboratory. But within just two years, we outgrew that site. So, we are going to add significant space in a new building next door – the Accelerator – a unique hub within Utrecht Science Park’s innovation ecosystem.”

Read the complete interview with Jan van de Winkel on the Invest in Holland website.