Let’s pave the way for curing skin diseases

The LEO Foundation is one of Denmark’s largest commercial foundations and an engaged owner of the pharmaceutical company LEO Pharma. The Foundation’s main objective is to ensure the company’s long-term development and success as a global leader in dermatology, delivering outstanding results.

Besides the ownership, the Foundation provides philanthropic grants with the aim to support the best international research in skin diseases and make Denmark a global beacon for skin research.

In addition, the Foundation manages financial assets of around DKK 16bn (~ EUR 2.1bn). These assets are invested with the main objectives of ensuring the continued capability to support LEO Pharma’s long-term development and provide funds for philanthropic activities.

The LEO Foundation was established in 1984 by Knud E. Abildgaard, who at the time was the owner and CEO of LEO Pharma.

Until 2021, the Foundation was the sole owner of LEO Pharma. In 2021, the Foundation welcomed Nordic Capital as a minority shareholder and partner to the Foundation, who remains the company’s long-term controlling owner. The partnership with Nordic Capital will further support LEO Pharma’s development and strengthen its position in medical dermatology.

Not just numbers, but figures that matter

1984

year founded

72

DKK million (~EUR 10m) in grants, 2020

16

DKK billion (~EUR 2.1bn) in financial assets, 2020

586

DKK million (~EUR 58m) in grants and awards to skin research since 2016

119

number of grants and awards since 2016

17

countries who have received grants

We strive to improve the understanding and treatment of skin diseases

The skin is the largest organ of the body. At any point in time, one in every four persons will suffer from a skin disease, which is often visible and stigmatising – and in some cases completely debilitating.

Much more research is required to provide better diagnoses, treatments and perhaps even cures for the millions of people living with skin diseases.

We create sustainable value for people and society through engaged ownership, philanthropy and investments

Engaged ownership

By being an engaged owner of LEO Pharma and supporting the company’s development as a global leader in dermatology, delivering outstanding results.

Philanthropy

By supporting the best international research in skin diseases and making Denmark a global beacon for skin research.

Investments

By growing our financial assets to ensure continued capability to support LEO Pharma’s long-term development and provide funds for philanthropic activities.

LEO Pharma

The LEO Foundation is the controlling owner of the pharmaceutical company LEO Pharma A/S.

Founded in 1908, LEO Pharma develops, manufactures and sells pharmaceutical drugs globally to patients suffering from skin diseases.  

In accordance with the charter, the primary purpose and objective of the Foundation is to ensure the continuance of LEO Pharma.

400 years of history

From the first Lion Pharmacy in 1620 to global dermatological front-runner in 2020.

The LEO Foundation was established in 1984 by Dr.h.c. Knud E. Abildgaard, who at the time was the owner and CEO of LEO Pharma. He did so to ensure LEO Pharma its future as an independent, research-based pharmaceutical company.

Abildgaard took over the company in 1939 after the company’s founder, Abildgaard’s father-in-law, pharmacist August Kongsted, passed away.

Kongsted had established LEO Pharma in his Copenhagen pharmacy – the Lion Pharmacy – in 1908. Using the latest advances in industrial processes, he set up pharmaceutical production in the basement of his shop.

Apart from heading his own venture, Kongsted also helped set up Nordisk Insulinlaboratorium (later to evolve into Novo Nordisk).

During Abildgaard’s ownership and management, LEO Pharma grew into an international, expansive and innovative organisation with sales and production around the world.

In the 1970s, Abildgaard announced plans to secure the continuation of his life’s work through the creation of a foundation. He intended to have LEO Pharma stay independent and able to further strengthen its position as a successful, international pharmaceutical company.

His plans crystalized in 1984, when he and his wife donated their shares in LEO Pharma to the LEO Foundation. While the foundation’s primary objective was to secure the long-term success of independence of LEO Pharma, it should also support independent research within the fields of medicine, chemistry and/or pharmacy through philanthropic grants.

Knud Abildgaard and his wife both passed away in 1986.

With the LEO Foundation’s long-term perspective and ownership, LEO Pharma has been able to evolve into a leading provider of dermatology care solutions to millions of patients across the world.

Our values reflect our heritage and aspirations

Integrity

We are transparent and responsible in all our actions and stand accountable for what we say and do.

Dedication

We take a long-term view and are committed to making a sustained difference within the areas we engage in.

Ambition

We set the bar high and have the courage to explore new ways to benefit the development of society.

Figures that matter

Get an insight into the Foundation’s key figures on grants and awards, administration costs etc.

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