Bill Gates and Novo Nordisk Enter Billion-Dollar Collaboration

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.06 - 2024 10:31 AM CET

Photo: Photosince /
Photo: Photosince /
Bill Gates has announced a significant collaboration with the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

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Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft and now a full-time philanthropist, has announced a groundbreaking collaboration with the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

The partnership, which also includes the Wellcome Trust, commits over two billion Danish kroner ($300 million) to tackle climate change and related health issues.

Since stepping away from Microsoft in 2008, Gates has directed his efforts through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to combat global poverty, disease, and inequality.

The Novo Nordisk Foundation, a major Danish philanthropic organization, is eager to join this fight alongside Bill Gates. According to the foundation, this is its largest global collaboration ever.

The collaboration aims to address emerging health threats exacerbated by climate change, such as the spread of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever and malaria into new regions, including Europe.

Speaking to DR News, Gates expressed enthusiasm about the unique strengths each foundation brings to the table. He particularly emphasized the extensive knowledge Novo Nordisk has concerning obesity and nutrition.

"Seeing three value-driven foundations come together in this way makes me very excited," Gates remarked.

You Have to Think Big

While the Novo Nordisk Foundation has traditionally concentrated its efforts on diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular diseases, the Gates Foundation has largely focused on infectious diseases.

Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, sees the collaboration as a way to magnify their impacts.

"We know there is a huge dual burden of diseases around the world. So we can enhance each other's strengths, making two plus two equal five," Thomsen explained.

Each of the three foundations will contribute approximately 700 million Danish kroner ($105 million) to the collaboration. The funds will be used for research and projects addressing health damages from climate change.

In the long term, the director of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, which holds over 1 trillion Danish kroner ($150 billion), hopes the collaboration of the three foundations can save human lives.

"We live in a world where we face 60 million deaths per year. So we believe that if you look at the impact of the collaboration over time, some of these deaths, either due to climate or food scarcity, can be avoided. If we can reduce these deaths even by a fraction, then we have accomplished something beneficial for the planet and its inhabitants," Thomsen stated.

High Praise

Bill Gates is currently in Denmark to participate in a summit at the Novo Nordisk Foundation in Helsingør, where he praised the Danish company's century-long legacy of health innovation.

"Novo Nordisk has been phenomenal, witnessing their recent success in aiding diabetes, but also broadly with obesity and all sorts of things, as their current products demonstrate," he said.

In return, Gates received high praise for the life-saving impacts of his philanthropic work.

"He has had a very significant impact. You can measure it in the number of human lives he has saved through the work of the foundation, and it is really high," said the CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

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