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Company > Novo Nordisk: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Novo Nordisk: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Published: Apr 24, 2023

Inside This Article


    Novo Nordisk, a leading global healthcare company, operates on a business model focused on discovering, developing, and manufacturing innovative pharmaceutical products. This article aims to provide a comprehensive analysis of Novo Nordisk's business model, along with a SWOT analysis highlighting its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Furthermore, it will delve into the competitive landscape of Novo Nordisk, examining its major rivals and their potential impact on the company's growth and market position in 2023.

    What You Will Learn:

    • The ownership structure of Novo Nordisk and who holds majority control over the company.
    • The mission statement of Novo Nordisk and how it guides the company's overall goals and objectives.
    • The various revenue streams and business strategies employed by Novo Nordisk to generate profits.
    • An explanation of the Novo Nordisk Business Model Canvas, highlighting key components and how they contribute to the company's success.
    • An overview of the main competitors of Novo Nordisk in the pharmaceutical industry.
    • A comprehensive SWOT analysis of Novo Nordisk, examining its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the market.

    Who owns Novo Nordisk?

    Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company specializing in diabetes care, has a diverse ownership structure. Let's dive into who owns this renowned pharmaceutical giant.

    Major Shareholders

    Novo Nordisk has a dual-class share structure, consisting of A and B shares. While both classes carry equal economic rights, B shares hold ten times the number of votes compared to A shares. This structure allows the company's founding families, the Novo and Madsen families, to retain control over strategic decisions.

    The Novo Nordisk Foundation, a non-profit organization, is the largest shareholder and holds the majority of the company's shares. Established in 1989, the foundation's primary objective is to support scientific research and promote health-related initiatives. By owning approximately 25% of the shares, the foundation plays a crucial role in shaping Novo Nordisk's long-term vision and priorities.

    Another significant shareholder is BlackRock, one of the world's largest investment management companies. With a stake of around 5%, BlackRock's ownership highlights the trust and confidence placed in Novo Nordisk by institutional investors.

    Institutional Investors

    Novo Nordisk's shares are widely held by institutional investors, including pension funds, mutual funds, and insurance companies. These investors recognize the company's strong financial performance, robust pipeline, and market leadership in diabetes care. Their ownership not only provides stability to Novo Nordisk's stock but also reflects the company's appeal to long-term investors seeking sustainable returns.

    Individual Investors

    Novo Nordisk's shares are listed on stock exchanges in Copenhagen (Denmark) and New York (United States). This dual listing allows individual investors worldwide to participate in the company's ownership. Whether through direct stock purchases or investment in mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), individuals have the opportunity to own a piece of Novo Nordisk and potentially benefit from its growth.

    Employee Ownership

    Novo Nordisk recognizes the importance of employee engagement and motivation. The company offers various avenues for its employees to become shareholders. Through employee stock purchase plans and stock options, employees can participate in the company's success and align their interests with those of other shareholders.

    Additionally, Novo Nordisk has implemented a profit-sharing program, ensuring that employees share in the company's profits. This program fosters a sense of ownership and collective responsibility among the workforce.

    In conclusion, Novo Nordisk's ownership is a combination of the Novo Nordisk Foundation, institutional investors, individual investors, and employee shareholders. This diverse ownership structure reflects the company's commitment to long-term value creation, innovation, and improving the lives of people living with diabetes.

    What is the mission statement of Novo Nordisk?

    Novo Nordisk's Mission Statement: Empowering people with diabetes to live healthier lives

    Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company headquartered in Denmark, has a clear and impactful mission statement: empowering people with diabetes to live healthier lives. This mission statement reflects the company's commitment to improving the lives of individuals affected by diabetes through innovative medical solutions, education, and support.

    Novo Nordisk recognizes the significant impact that diabetes has on individuals, families, and communities worldwide. With over 30 years of experience in diabetes care, the company strives to make a positive difference by providing comprehensive and personalized treatment options.

    The mission statement emphasizes the company's focus on empowering individuals with diabetes. Novo Nordisk aims to achieve this by developing and delivering high-quality products and services that enable people to manage their condition effectively. Through continuous research and development, Novo Nordisk is dedicated to creating innovative solutions that address the evolving needs of the diabetes community.

    In addition to their commitment to product innovation, Novo Nordisk places great importance on education and support. The company strives to empower individuals with diabetes through educational initiatives that enhance their knowledge and understanding of the condition. Novo Nordisk also offers various support programs, resources, and tools to help individuals adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

    Novo Nordisk's mission statement serves as a guiding principle for the company's activities and decisions. It emphasizes the company's dedication to improving the lives of those affected by diabetes, promoting overall well-being, and fostering a sense of empowerment.

    By aligning their efforts with this mission statement, Novo Nordisk continues to make significant contributions to the field of diabetes care and remains a trusted partner for individuals living with diabetes.

    How does Novo Nordisk make money?

    Revenue Streams of Novo Nordisk

    Novo Nordisk, a global pharmaceutical company, generates its revenue through various channels. Here, we will delve into the primary sources of income for this industry leader.

    Diabetes Care Products

    Novo Nordisk is renowned for its extensive portfolio of diabetes care products. As a result, a significant portion of the company's revenue is derived from the sale of insulin and other diabetes medications. Novo Nordisk caters to both type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients, offering a wide range of innovative and reliable treatment options. With a strong focus on research and development, the company continually introduces new products to meet the evolving needs of individuals living with diabetes.

    Obesity and Weight Management Products

    In recent years, Novo Nordisk has expanded its product offerings to include therapies for obesity and weight management. With obesity rates on the rise globally, the demand for effective treatments has increased significantly. Novo Nordisk's medications in this field have gained recognition for their efficacy and safety. Consequently, the revenue generated from the sale of these products has become an essential contributor to the company's overall financial success.

    Hemophilia and Other Rare Blood Disorders

    Another revenue stream for Novo Nordisk is the sale of treatments for hemophilia and other rare blood disorders. The company is a leader in this specialized field, providing patients with lifesaving therapies. Novo Nordisk's commitment to developing innovative solutions for these conditions has not only improved patient outcomes but also boosted the company's financial performance.

    International Markets

    Novo Nordisk operates in numerous countries worldwide, allowing it to tap into various international markets. By expanding its reach globally, the company can access a more extensive customer base and increase its revenue. This strategy also helps Novo Nordisk spread its risk across different markets and mitigate potential economic fluctuations in any single region.

    Collaborations and Partnerships

    Novo Nordisk actively engages in collaborations and partnerships with other pharmaceutical companies, research institutions, and healthcare organizations. These alliances foster innovation, enhance the development of new products, and expand the company's market presence. By leveraging the expertise and resources of its partners, Novo Nordisk can drive revenue growth through joint ventures, licensing agreements, and co-marketing initiatives.


    Novo Nordisk's revenue streams are diverse and strategically aligned with the evolving healthcare landscape. By focusing on diabetes care, obesity and weight management, rare blood disorders, international markets, and collaborations, the company has established a robust financial foundation. As Novo Nordisk continues to innovate and address unmet medical needs, its revenue is expected to grow, ensuring its position as a global leader in the pharmaceutical industry.

    Novo Nordisk Business Model Canvas Explained

    Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company focused on diabetes care, has successfully implemented a robust business model canvas that drives its operations and strategic decisions. This canvas provides a comprehensive overview of Novo Nordisk's key activities, resources, partnerships, and customer segments, enabling the company to create value and deliver innovative solutions to the diabetes community worldwide.

    Key Activities

    Novo Nordisk's key activities revolve around research and development, manufacturing, and commercialization of diabetes care products and solutions. The company invests significantly in scientific research to discover and develop new treatments, aiming to improve the lives of people living with diabetes. They also focus on creating awareness about diabetes and educating healthcare professionals and patients about the condition and its management. Additionally, Novo Nordisk engages in marketing and sales activities to promote their products and ensure their availability to those in need.

    Key Resources

    Novo Nordisk's key resources include its extensive research and development capabilities, manufacturing facilities, a network of healthcare professionals, and a dedicated workforce. With a strong emphasis on innovation, the company invests in cutting-edge research to develop novel therapies and devices to address the diverse needs of people with diabetes. Their state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities ensure the production of high-quality products that meet regulatory standards. Novo Nordisk's collaboration with healthcare professionals and its talented workforce further enhances its ability to deliver value to customers.


    Novo Nordisk recognizes the importance of collaborations and partnerships to enhance its reach, capabilities, and impact. The company collaborates with healthcare providers, patient organizations, research institutions, and other industry stakeholders to drive innovation and improve diabetes care. By partnering with these organizations, Novo Nordisk gains access to valuable expertise, resources, and patient insights, enabling them to develop tailored solutions that address specific challenges faced by individuals with diabetes. These partnerships also facilitate knowledge sharing, advocacy efforts, and the collective goal of improving diabetes management and prevention.

    Customer Segments

    Novo Nordisk's customer segments primarily consist of individuals living with diabetes, healthcare professionals, and healthcare institutions. The company aims to understand the unique needs of each customer segment and develop products and services that cater to their specific requirements. By prioritizing patient-centric care, Novo Nordisk strives to enhance the quality of life for individuals with diabetes through its innovative offerings. Healthcare professionals and institutions also play a crucial role in Novo Nordisk's business model as they prescribe, recommend, and administer the company's products, making their satisfaction and engagement vital to the success of the organization.

    In conclusion, Novo Nordisk's business model canvas encapsulates its key activities, resources, partnerships, and customer segments. By focusing on research and development, leveraging essential resources, fostering strategic partnerships, and prioritizing customer-centricity, Novo Nordisk demonstrates its commitment to providing innovative diabetes care solutions. This canvas serves as a guiding framework for the company's strategic decisions and ensures that Novo Nordisk continues to make a positive impact on the lives of millions of people living with diabetes worldwide.

    Which companies are the competitors of Novo Nordisk?

    Major Competitors

    Novo Nordisk operates in the pharmaceutical industry, specifically focusing on diabetes care. As a global leader in this field, the company faces competition from several major players:

    1. Eli Lilly and Company: Eli Lilly, based in the United States, is one of Novo Nordisk's biggest competitors. They offer a wide range of diabetes medications, including insulin and oral anti-diabetic drugs. Eli Lilly's popular products include Humalog and Trulicity.

    2. Sanofi: Sanofi, a French multinational pharmaceutical company, is another formidable competitor for Novo Nordisk. They have a significant presence in the diabetes care market, with products like Lantus and Toujeo. Sanofi also offers a diverse portfolio of other pharmaceuticals.

    3. Merck & Co., Inc.: Merck, commonly known as MSD outside of the United States and Canada, is a global pharmaceutical giant. While not solely focused on diabetes care, they offer several medications for diabetes management, such as Januvia and Janumet. Merck's extensive product range spans various therapeutic areas.

    Emerging Competitors

    Apart from the major competitors, Novo Nordisk also faces competition from emerging companies that are striving to disrupt the diabetes care landscape:

    1. Dexcom: Dexcom is a company specializing in continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems. Their innovative CGM devices provide real-time glucose monitoring for people with diabetes. While not directly competing in the pharmaceutical space, Dexcom's technology offers an alternative approach to diabetes management.

    2. Insulet Corporation: Insulet is known for its Omnipod Insulin Management System, which is a tubeless insulin pump. This system provides individuals with diabetes the convenience of automated insulin delivery without the need for traditional insulin pens or injections.

    3. Medtronic: Medtronic is a medical technology company that offers a range of products for diabetes management, including insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring systems. Their devices aim to enhance the precision and ease of insulin delivery, improving the quality of life for individuals with diabetes.

    While Novo Nordisk maintains a dominant position in the diabetes care market, it faces competition from both established pharmaceutical companies and emerging players that are pushing the boundaries of diabetes management technology. These competitors drive innovation and contribute to advancements in the field, ultimately benefiting patients worldwide.

    Novo Nordisk SWOT Analysis


    1. Strong Brand Reputation: Novo Nordisk has established itself as a leading pharmaceutical company in the diabetes care sector. With over 90 years of experience, the company has built a strong brand reputation based on its commitment to innovation, quality, and patient-centric approach.

    2. Extensive Product Portfolio: Novo Nordisk offers a wide range of products including insulin, GLP-1 analogs, and other diabetes-related medications. This diverse product portfolio allows the company to cater to the varying needs of patients, healthcare professionals, and healthcare systems worldwide.

    3. Research and Development Capabilities: Novo Nordisk heavily invests in research and development (R&D) activities, focusing on the development of innovative treatments for diabetes and other chronic diseases. This enables the company to stay at the forefront of medical advancements and develop new therapies that improve patient outcomes.

    4. Global Presence: Novo Nordisk operates in over 170 countries, making it a truly global company. This extensive presence allows the company to reach a broad customer base and tap into different markets, ensuring a steady revenue stream and market share growth.


    1. Dependency on Diabetes Care Segment: While Novo Nordisk has been successful in the diabetes care segment, it also poses a weakness as the company heavily relies on this particular area. Any significant changes in the diabetes market, such as new treatment options or competitive pressures, can have a direct impact on Novo Nordisk's financial performance.

    2. Pricing Pressure: The pharmaceutical industry is highly regulated and subject to pricing pressures from governments, insurance providers, and other stakeholders. Novo Nordisk has faced challenges in managing pricing pressures, particularly in markets where healthcare costs are tightly controlled, potentially impacting the company's profitability.

    3. Patent Expirations: Like many pharmaceutical companies, Novo Nordisk faces the risk of patent expirations. When patents expire, generic competition can enter the market, leading to a decline in sales and market share for Novo Nordisk's branded products. The company must constantly innovate and develop new treatments to mitigate the impact of patent expirations.


    1. Growing Diabetes Epidemic: The global prevalence of diabetes is on the rise, presenting a significant opportunity for Novo Nordisk. The company can leverage its expertise and product portfolio to address the increasing demand for diabetes care solutions and capture a larger market share.

    2. Expansion into Emerging Markets: Novo Nordisk has the opportunity to expand its presence in emerging markets where diabetes prevalence is rapidly increasing. By tailoring its products and strategies to the specific needs of these markets, the company can tap into new customer segments and drive revenue growth.

    3. Diversification into Other Therapeutic Areas: Novo Nordisk can explore opportunities for diversification beyond diabetes care. By leveraging its R&D capabilities and expertise, the company can expand into other chronic disease areas, such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and rare diseases, thereby broadening its product offerings and reducing dependency on a single therapeutic area.


    1. Intense Competition: Novo Nordisk operates in a highly competitive pharmaceutical market, facing competition from both established players and emerging biotechnology companies. Intense competition can lead to price wars, erosion of market share, and increased marketing costs, which may impact the company's profitability.

    2. Regulatory and Compliance Challenges: The pharmaceutical industry is subject to stringent regulations and compliance requirements, which can pose challenges for Novo Nordisk. Non-compliance with regulations, product recalls, or safety issues can damage the company's reputation and lead to legal and financial consequences.

    3. Economic and Political Factors: Economic downturns, changes in healthcare policies, and political instability in key markets can affect Novo Nordisk's operations. Reduced healthcare spending, pricing pressures, and trade barriers can impact the company's ability to expand, maintain profitability, and access new markets.

    Key Takeaways

    • Novo Nordisk is owned by a diverse group of shareholders, including institutional investors and individual shareholders.
    • The mission statement of Novo Nordisk is to drive change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic conditions such as obesity and rare blood and endocrine disorders.
    • Novo Nordisk primarily generates revenue through the sale of pharmaceutical products, particularly insulin and other diabetes treatments.
    • The business model canvas of Novo Nordisk encompasses key elements such as customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key resources, key activities, key partnerships, and cost structure.
    • Novo Nordisk faces competition from companies such as Eli Lilly, Sanofi, and Merck in the pharmaceutical industry.

    SWOT Analysis:

    • Strengths: Novo Nordisk has a strong brand reputation, extensive product portfolio, and a focus on innovation and research.
    • Weaknesses: The company faces challenges in terms of pricing pressures, patent expirations, and regulatory hurdles.
    • Opportunities: Novo Nordisk can capitalize on the growing global demand for diabetes and obesity treatments, as well as expand into emerging markets.
    • Threats: Intense competition, generic substitutes, and changing healthcare policies pose threats to Novo Nordisk's market position and profitability.


    In conclusion, Novo Nordisk is a multinational pharmaceutical company that is owned by its shareholders. Its mission statement is to drive change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic diseases such as obesity and rare blood and endocrine disorders. Novo Nordisk primarily makes money through the sale of pharmaceutical products, including insulin and other diabetes treatments.

    The Novo Nordisk Business Model Canvas provides a comprehensive overview of the company's key activities, resources, and partnerships that contribute to its success. This model highlights the importance of research and development, manufacturing, and marketing and sales in driving the company's growth and profitability.

    In terms of competitors, Novo Nordisk faces strong competition from other pharmaceutical companies such as Sanofi, Eli Lilly, and Merck & Co. These companies also focus on producing and selling diabetes medications and other related products.

    Conducting a SWOT analysis of Novo Nordisk reveals the company's strengths in its strong brand reputation, extensive product portfolio, and global presence. However, it also faces challenges such as increasing competition, pricing pressures, and the need to continuously innovate in the face of evolving healthcare trends. By leveraging its strengths and addressing its weaknesses, Novo Nordisk can continue to maintain its position as a leader in the pharmaceutical industry and drive positive health outcomes for patients worldwide.

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