Second fire at Novo Nordisk in a week now under control

Bagsvaerd fire, Novo Nordisk
Greater Copenhagen Fire Department

Firefighters have been able to extinguish a fire that raged through an office building at the site of Novo Nordisk’s headquarters in Denmark, although it will not survive and may collapse.

The fire at the large building in Bagsvaerd in the north of Copenhagen started yesterday – just a few days after another broke out at a Novo Nordisk facility that was under construction in Kalundborg – and generated a large amount of smoke that obscured visibility on a nearby motorway.

The latest blaze is thought to have started in a container at a neighbouring site where the pharma group is carrying out building work and spread quickly to the roof of the office building, which doesn’t house Novo Nordisk’s main HQ. It took several hours to put out.

Novo Nordisk has confirmed that the smoke was not toxic, and all of its employees were evacuated without injury. For now, there is no suggestion of any link between the incidents or evidence of “anything criminal” behind them, according to a post on X by local police.

Novo Nordisk has also stressed that neither of the fires affected its production capacity – an important consideration, given that it is currently trying to ramp up manufacturing of its range of GLP-1 agonist therapies – including semaglutide-based Ozempic and Wegovy.

Those two products – for diabetes and obesity, respectively – have sparked a rapid increase in Novo Nordisk’s revenues and made it Europe’s most valuable company, even though production has not been able to keep pace with massive demand.

The Kalundborg site is a key part of the company’s plans to boost production capacity, and last year it announced a $6 billion investment programme there, most of which was earmarked for a new 170,000 sq m active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturing facility. After the fire, Novo Nordisk said it did not expect any impact on the timeline to complete construction and ramp up production.

The company also signed an $11 billion deal earlier this year to acquire three manufacturing sites in the US, Italy, and Belgium from Catalent.