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Q&A: Frida Lawenius, new Director General of SwedenBIO

Frida Lawenius SwedenBIO

Nordic Life Science asked the Interim Director General about strengths and challenges within Swedish life sciences, her message to the new government in Sweden, and about strengthening and showcasing the Nordic life science region.

Frida Lawenius, who has been Deputy Director General of SwedenBIO since January 2020, brings experience from both political influence and strategic development into her new role, stated the Board of the organization at the time of the announcement.

Prior to joining SwedenBIO in 2020, Lawenius was in charge of strategic development and policy at the trade union Naturvetarna.

What are you most looking forward to working with in your new role? Any particular issues or fields where you want to see a change or make progress?

“I’m particularly looking forward to working with our fantastic members and with my amazing team at SwedenBIO’s office. There is so much positive energy, talent and a hunger to meet up, work with, and learn from one another in our community. I’m eager to harness the joint power of the ecosystem to push the envelope on the most burning issues facing the industry.”

If you could send a message to the new government in Sweden, what would you like them to focus on/prioritize when it comes to life sciences?

“The message would be that life sciences are not like other areas of tech innovation. The requirements needed to enable a well-functioning industry are high, and that calls for political commitment and leadership. The pace in the frontline areas is fast and the competition high. The government needs to be nimble-footed and determined if they want Sweden to stake a claim in emerging areas, such as ATMP.”

“The government needs to be nimble-footed and determined if they want Sweden to stake a claim in emerging areas, such as ATMP.”

“Another message should be to level up on cross-border Nordic collaboration. Together, as a joint Nordic region, we can position ourselves as one of the leading life science regions in the world.”

What would you say are Sweden’s greatest strengths within life sciences?

“We have a strong, open, and sharing scientific community characterized by an innovative culture, flat organizational structures, and dedicated life science leaders. That combination is hard to beat!”

What would you say are Sweden’s greatest challenges within life sciences?

“Our relatively small size as a nation means that we’re not as flush with funding as larger countries, and there is a shortage of personnel with the right skills in many areas.”

“We also need to work harder to gain visibility next to big international players.”

“We also need to work harder to gain visibility next to big international players.”

How will you and your colleagues work to maintain and strengthen the Nordic life science industry?

“We will go on working on our winning concept, which is based on three pillars: the first is to create arenas for networking and business opportunities; secondly, to transfer and build knowledge; and thirdly, to provide a strong voice and visibility for life sciences. Our toolbox consists of our members and the forums we have established, which are our prime assets. We offer arenas for business contacts and deal-making, knowledge-transfer from senior to junior actors, and drive the international positioning of the Nordics as an arena to attract investments, new establishments, and cooperation with international actors.”

“Our toolbox consists of our members and the forums we have established, which are our prime assets.”

“We have a strong platform in our partnering conference Nordic Life Science Days. When it opens in Malmö next week, we have a record number of international delegates and a US pavilion, among other country-specific pavilions. In addition, a hundred investment actors will participate, and we offer a packed program and one-on-one partnering. This is a fantastic way to showcase the strengths of the Nordics as a life science region. Next year we celebrate our 10th NLSDays, which will take place in Copenhagen.”

 


 

Helena Strigård appointed CEO of NorthX Biologics

SwedenBIO’s previous CEO, Helena Strigård, is leaving the organization after five years (three as Director General). She will remain within the life science sector and has been appointed CEO of NorthX Biologics. Strigård will start her new job in the beginning of October. She will however remain in the organization until the end of the month and be a part of the NLSDays event, which she is leading together with Olivier Duchamp-Giudicelli.

Photo of Frida Lawenius: Alexandra Hoegberg/SwedenBIO