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Medicon Valley – From good to great and beyond

This year the Swedish-Danish life science cluster organisation, Medicon Valley Alliance, is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary.

Our organization, which has Lund University and University of Copenhagen as its founding fathers, and the bi-national region we embrace, has come a long way since the humble beginnings in the late 1990s when the Øresund Bridge was still under construction and collaboration and commuting was limited and restricted.

“Today, the two separate life science eco-systems from the 1990s have both grown and merged to become one life science powerhouse even by European standards.”

Today, the two separate life science eco-systems from the 1990s – one centred around Lund University, science parks such as Medeon and Ideon and the AstraZeneca facility and another centred around University of Copenhagen, Technical University of Denmark and companies such as Novo Nordisk, Lundbeck, Leo Pharma etc. – have both grown and merged to become one life science powerhouse even by European standards.

In a region of only about four million inhabitants, Medicon Valley has grown to become the largest life science region in the European Union with about 66,000 life science jobs in the more than 1,200 private life science companies in our region and with more than 12,000 new jobs and 300 new life science companies established, in just the last five years. Our key challenge right now, in order to keep the engine running and continue the impressive growth trajectory is to supply our industry with the number of talent and the highly skilled workforce needed.

“This does not close the gap between demand and supply of talent, but it does help internationalizing and merging our life science eco-system and thus better position our bi-national region in the decisive global race for talent.”

Skåne, the Swedish part of Medicon Valley is booming and has shown an impressive increase in new life science start-ups. 100 new companies have been established alone over the past 5 years. On the Danish side of Medicon Valley it has been primarily the boom of life science jobs totaling 58,000 jobs from primarily the larger pharma companies that have stood out over the past 5 years. Consequently, the almost 1,000 commuters living in Skåne and working in Danish life science companies, are an important contribution to the workforce.

Simultaneously, a growing number of experienced Danish pharma executives are traveling in the other direction taking up C-level positions in some of the Skåne-based start-ups. This does not close the gap between demand and supply of talent, but it does help internationalizing and merging our life science eco-system and thus better position our bi-national region in the decisive global race for talent.

“We believe joining forces and exploring the potential for Nordic cross-fertilization, will benefit us all and thereby help establish the Nordics as the centre of gravity and go-to place when it comes to life science in the EU.”

Although our primary focus is the Medicon Valley region, in a joint effort with other clusters we would very much like to help position all the Nordic countries more prominently on the global life science map, in a joint effort with other clusters. As such we are engaging with and reaching out to the other leading life science cluster in the region, Stockholm-Uppsala, Gothenburg and clusters in both Norway and Finland in order to explore the potential to in working more closely together.

We might be competing in some instances but being the leading life science cluster of the Nordics, we believe joining forces and exploring the potential for Nordic cross-fertilization, will benefit us all and thereby help establish the Nordics as the centre of gravity and go-to place when it comes to life science in the EU.

 

Column by Anette Steenberg, CEO, Medicon Valley Alliance, and Ulf G. Andersson, Vice Chairman of the Board, MVA.

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