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Life Science trends 2024 according to Business Region Göteborg

Read about seven trends that are shaping the life science sector right now, including concrete examples from Gothenburg.

Experts at Business Region Göteborg have summarized seven particularly hot areas where they see advances that have the potential to fundamentally change healthcare, and where Gothenburg has several strengths.

Trend 1: Increasingly important to control wounds and infections

In the Gothenburg region, there are over 60 companies that together cover the entire area of infection control, including major global players. A Nordic Master’s programme in Infection Control is also offered here. Sahlgrenska University Hospital was also first to discover a drug against tuberculosis and a thromboses. In addition, Getinge has several complete solutions for sterilization, in many cases world leading.

Sahlgrenska University Hospital was also first to discover a drug against tuberculosis and a thromboses.”

At the intersection of infection control and material science there are for example Abigo, that has developed its advanced wound care products with a special surface layer that binds bacteria. The company is currently owned by Essity and its products are sold all over the world. Another example is startup Amferia that has developed an antimicrobial hydrogel that binds and kills antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Trend 2: Incurable diseases soon to be curable with advanced therapies

The Gothenburg region has many strengths in advanced therapies, not least through AstraZeneca, which has a strong focus on regenerative care and ATMPs, and has, among other things, developed an advanced therapy drug for a severe form of lung cancer. Around the company, GoCo Health Innovation City is now taking shape, an innovation-driven district that attracts other leading players in the field.

Around the company, GoCo Health Innovation City is now taking shape, an innovation-driven district that attracts other leading players in the field.”

Several niche startups across the spectrum of opportunities make the development even more exciting, including Cellink, Fluicell and Elicera Therapeutics. The University of Gothenburg’s holding company GU Ventures invests in a wide range of drug development companies, together with other investors.

Advanced therapies for several types of diseases are also already being used at Sahlgrenska University Hospital, both with approved drugs and in clinical trials. The hospital is the only hospital in the Nordic region to use ATMPs in the treatment of children, including cancer.

Next door to AstraZeneca’s facility in Mölndal, a large national biomanufacturing centre, CCRM Nordic, is now being built for the rapid commercialisation of regenerative medicine. There, the innovators will be able to collaborate with researchers from AstraZeneca, and companies such as CombiGene, Cytiva, Getinge, Takara Bio Europe, TATAA Biocenter and Verigraft.

Trend 3: More efficient healthcare and better decisions with digitalization and AI

Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Region Västra Götaland are investing heavily in patient centred healthcare. The University of Gothenburg also hosts Sweden’s Centre for Person-Centred Care. Publicly driven collaborations such as the Innovation Platform and Gothia Forum work in parallel to facilitate testing and validation of innovations in healthcare. This also benefits more mature companies that are often responsible for innovation in e-health.

Perhaps the most exciting AI-supported development in the region is taking place in drug development, imaging technology and patient data.”

Perhaps the most exciting AI-supported development in the region is taking place in drug development, imaging technology and patient data. Here, life science companies benefit from progress in other strong industries, and national cross-fertilization through, for example, AI Sweden, Chalmers’ AI initiative Chair and advances in quantum computing.

Trend 4: Better care and quality of life with self-monitoring and medical IoT

In medical IoT and AI, there are several interesting growth companies in Gothenburg, which have sprung from the region’s ecosystem in life science. For example, Cuviva offers a digital platform for the care of people with multiple chronic illnesses and the frail elderly.

Another example is Sightic Analytics. By briefly filming a person’s eye, the company can detect if a person is using drugs, alcohol or medications that impair cognitive ability. A third example is Detectivio. The company has developed technology to scan a face from one metre away and thereby perceive vital signs of value for emergency departments, telemedicine and home care.

Trend 5: Huge opportunities with medical imaging and simulation

For a few years now, Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg has been equipped with a state-of-the-art Imaging and intervention centre, where the latest imaging technology is used for both diagnosis and intervention. Many new areas of application are being explored. Here, advanced procedures are carried out with the help of keyhole surgery, small tools and robots on, for example, tumours in the brain, monitored by advanced magnetic resonance imaging. These can stop acute bleeding, fix broken backs, replace heart valves, remove clots from the brain, dilate calcified vessels and much more. Usually through minimally invasive procedures through small portals in the skin. Cardiologists, oncologists, surgeons and other specialists are also trained in new technologically advanced methods, both live, via screen and in a fully simulated environment.

Advanced procedures are carried out with the help of keyhole surgery, small tools and robots on, for example, tumours in the brain, monitored by advanced magnetic resonance imaging.”

Gothenburg-based Mentice has over 100 employees and delivers such simulation equipment for the training of heart surgeons, both software and hardware, to ten countries. Surgical Science is an even larger company that specializes in training resident physicians in a simulated environment before embarking on live operations. Software from both companies is embedded by other global medtech companies in their products. Ortoma is a third company that uses a platform based on AI to support orthopaedic surgery.

Trend 6: Advanced implants and 3D printed tissues

Gothenburg contributes in many ways to increasing the availability of human organs and tissues. For example, the high-tech company Xvivo Perfusion keeps donated vital organs such as lungs, hearts, and livers alive until transplantation, and is a world leader in recovering lungs through warm perfusion. In addition, Verigraft develops regenerative medicine products based on recycled blood vessels, and other donated human tissue. A clinical study now under way is testing how patients with chronic vein disease react when they have had the biotech company’s personalized blood vessels implanted. Also, Bico-owned Cellink has received international attention for its development of bioprinters and bioinks for the world’s research environments.

Gothenburg has a long and strong tradition in implants, ever since Per-Ingvar Brånemark discovered in the 1960s that titanium grows together with bone.”

Gothenburg has a long and strong tradition in implants, ever since Per-Ingvar Brånemark discovered in the 1960s that titanium grows together with bone. The phenomenom is called osseointegration, and it gave rise to Nobel Biocare, which has since treated millions of patients around the world. Today, Dentsply Sirona is a leader in dental implants, but the technology is central to all types of bone-anchored implants. Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions. Both companies have development and an important presence in Gothenburg. Last, but not least, growth company Promimic develops smart surface treatment for bone anchored implants.

Trend 7: Sector convergence

As in all industrial shifts, the change means challenges for established brands and companies, but at the same time exciting business opportunities for new entrepreneurs and organizations that are open to new ways of working. Gothenburg is well positioned in this area, with the city’s strong tradition of open collaboration, according to Business Region Göteborg. One explanation is the region’s strengths and scope in the life science, tech and automotive industries. Saab, Ericsson, Telia and Beyond Gravity are examples of advanced, leading ICT companies, but the mobility industry is also becoming increasingly software-centred. Kognic and Volvo Cars-owned Zenseact are at the forefront of advanced machine learning, big data and AI for autonomous mobility. All this know-how is now cross-fertilising the life science sector, not least via AI Sweden and Chair, Chalmers’ AI initiative, which collaborates closely with Region Västra Götaland and Sahlgrenska University Hospital. Broad collaboration also characterizes Chalmers University of Technology’s education and research in health engineering.

For example, Volvo Cars and AstraZeneca are exploring how the car can be used to collect health data and analyse how we feel.”

Other enablers are BioVentureHub, Mobility X-lab and the Great network, which focuses on developing a top-class digital infrastructure for the Internet of Things and Health Tech. For example, Volvo Cars and AstraZeneca are exploring how the car can be used to collect health data and analyse how we feel. The area is unchartered territory, but the opportunities for the future are vast.

Read the full report here!

Source: Business Region Göteborg

Featured photo: iStock