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Interview: Nina Herne, new CEO of LIDDS

Nina Herne

Swedish pharmaceutical company LIDDS has appointed Nina Herne as its new CEO.

LIDDS has developed a drug delivery technology, NanoZolid, which provides a controlled and sustained release of active drug substances for up to six months. The GMP manufacturing process is based on nano-crystallization of hydrating ceramics and isostatic pressure. LIDDS is embarking on the next phase with a pipeline of new projects as well as a planned transfer to main market. We asked its new CEO, Nina Herne, about her new job and her future plans.

What made you say yes, or apply for the job?

”I would say that I chose to become the CEO of LIDDS for three reasons. Firstly, NanoZolid; it has unique properties through its constant release of pharmaceuticals over a considerably longer period of time than our competitors. This technology has enabled us to create an interesting and solid portfolio within oncology that has great potential to solve real medical problems. To be a part of an organization that develops new treatments and in that way meets medical needs was the second reason for me to chose LIDDS.”

“The company is in an incredibly exciting growth phase.”

“Finally, the company is in an incredibly exciting growth phase where I will have the opportunity to contribute my accumulated experience to develop the company from a project company to a platform company.”

What do you believe you can contribute in your new role at LIDDS?

”I have a Ph.D. in Immunology and an Executive MBA from Stockholm School of Economics. This, in combination with the fact that I have worked for a long time within drug development on a global scale for more than 20 years has given me a great understanding of both research and business. That in turn has enabled me to contribute in bringing LIDDS to the next level. It has been a real kick-start and together with my colleagues I have already tackled several exciting tasks, among them a new share emission.”

What are the next steps in LIDDS’ journey and what are you most looking forward to in your new role?

“Right now we are focused on optimizing our existing project portfolio so that the value of every project becomes clear, that the development plans are elaborative and that we continue to develop a long-term business strategy for the company.”

“We are also preparing the company for listing on Nasdaq Stockholm Main Market. To be able to fulfill the great development potential  there is in LIDDS our organization must also be augmented.”

You have experience from several different Nordic life science companies. What are the advantages of being a Nordic life science company and what needs to be improved?

“I believe that Nordic life science has a good reputation internationally. That we now also have many companies that have succeeded in taking their lead candidates through phase III programs is proof that it is possible to succeed here. We have an excellent tradition to build on, with many large pharmaceutical companies in combination with a world-class research and innovation system. This provides a good training environment, the opportunity to gain solid experience from small and midsize R&D companies, as well as to drive good ideas to project level.”

“The industry is steadily growing and it is central that we create the right prerequisites to maintain existing competence, that we educate more people and make sure that it is attractive for foreign talent to come to Sweden.”

“One area that needs to be addressed is the access to competence. The industry is steadily growing and it is central that we create the right prerequisites to maintain existing competence, that we educate more people and make sure that it is attractive for foreign talent to come to Sweden. More specifically I see a need for an increased understanding of late drug development in combination with an understanding of how products reach market. The challenge for smaller companies is to have access to this type of competence early on in their planning.”

“Another important issue is the access to financing, where Swedish companies are good at entering the stock market but where I see that we could get access to more foreign capital than we have today.”

Photographer: Björn Eklund

2 X Facts – Nina Herne

01. She has held multiple senior positions in global pharmaceutical companies, most recently at Chiesi Group where she built a biotech operation and managed the company’s Swedish R&D site.

02. She brings a wide range of experience from business development and licensing, R&D, operations, strategy development and international stakeholder management from smaller organizations such as Zymenex and NeuroNova, as well as larger companies, including Chiesi, SOBI and NovoZymes.