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Zealand’s founding

Zealand Pharma A/S was founded in 1998 as a biopharmaceutical company focusing exclusively on the design and development of peptide-based medicines to more safely and effectively treat areas of high unmet medical need. Zealand was incorporated based on the SIP® technology – a vital scientific asset for the company and its lead compound, lixisenatide.

Zealand would like to acknowledge the vision and dedication of its principal founding members: Lars Hellerung Christiansen and SIP® inventor Dr. Bjarne Due Larsen.

Working together with its other owners Leif Helth Jensen, Dan Buxbom, and Florian Schönharting, Zealand appointed its first management team led by CEO, Professor Dr. Eva Steiness and including:

Dr Scient John Hyttel VP Biology
MI Chem E, MA David Knott VP Medicinal Chemistry
MD, PhD Jørgen Søberg Petersen Head, Pharmacology
Cand Pharm PhD Niels Mørk Head, Bioanalysis
MD, Dr. Med.Sci. Jens Damsgaard Mikkelsen Head, Molecular Pharmacology
Cand Pharm Hanne Løve Lembøl Project Manager

History since founding

In the first years of operations, Zealand’s scientists synthesized lixisenatide as the company’s first invention. Global development and commercial rights to lixisenatide was licensed to Sanofi in 2003, and today the product is marketed as Lyxumia® for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.
Since the invention of lixisenatide, Zealand has expanded its competences in the field of peptide drug invention, design and development and currently has a pipeline of 6 clinical stage therapeutics which are being advanced partly by partners, partly by the company itself, and a vast portfolio of preclinical projects, including three research and development collaborations with Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly.