Jessica Martinsson took up her new role as Director General of SwedenBIO on March 1st 2023. NLS asked Jessica about her previous experiences from the life science industry and about current challenges and opportunities for Swedish life science companies.
You are the co-founder of, and you have been both operational manager and CEO of Sprint Bioscience. You also have experience from Pharmacia&Upjohn and Biovitrum, and as board member of Lipigon Pharmaceuticals. What previous experiences from the life science industry do you believe will be useful and will benefit you in your new role?
“As my experience spans from big pharma to a start-up I hope that I will have something in my repertoire for every step in the value chain. I have co-founded and formed a company that made an IPO and several license deals, so I’m aware of the hurdles that you come across as an entrepreneur.”
“I hope that I will have something in my repertoire for every step in the value chain.”
“I also have a good understanding of the specific conditions here in Sweden, such as our teacher’s exemption and public listings. I would like my experiences to be beneficial to our members and help us internally to develop an even stronger offer from SwedenBIO towards our members.”
What are you most looking forward to working with in your new role?
“SwedenBIO is an organization that I know well from the member side, and I have initiated and maintained several business contacts through its network over the years. I have the ambition to further strengthen what we can deliver in terms of value to our community. We will gear up our efforts in building networks and knowledge, and be the loud voice of the industry.”
What challenges does the Swedish life science industry face and how should we handle them?
“The Swedish ecosystem is a strong foundation for innovation and entrepreneurship and we have been successful in bringing a large number of assets forward in start-ups and academic spin-outs. The challenge now is to get these companies to take the next step in going from start-ups to scale-ups, but as much as this is a challenge it is also an opportunity.”
“The challenge now is to get these companies to take the next step in going from start-ups to scale-ups, but as much as this is a challenge it is also an opportunity.”
“We have the creative small companies but also a pharma legacy with a strong track record. The industrial perspective is important to incorporate in our growing companies, for them to be able to develop projects that can be competitive on an international market.”
“We need to look at the Nordic region as one entity.”
How will you and your colleagues work to strengthen collaborations within the Nordic life science industry and strengthen Nordic life science?
“It is apparent to me that we need to look at the Nordic region as one entity and use our strengths in the best way. To that end, we will work with our members and regional stakeholders to build a stronger network in the Nordics. We established Nordic Life Science Days ten years ago with the ambition to provide a steppingstone to the global pharma world, for our members as well as for our Nordic friends.”
“SwedenBIO will gain a leadership that will drive the industry’s development further.”
“With her entrepreneurial experience and co-founder of a life science company, SwedenBIO will gain a leadership that will drive the industry’s development further. Jessica’s knowledge within drug development in both small and large companies as well as her passion for cooperation will create better conditions for the industry, which is needed in the long term in order to improve the public health and the society at large,” says Lotta Ljungqvist, Chair of the SwedenBIO Board.
Photo of Jessica Martinsson: SwedenBIO