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The return of the factories


On July 6th, SwedenBIO arranged a seminar on the subject The return of the factories, this is how Sweden wins the battle for the future pharmaceutical production. During the seminar it was concluded for example that it is important for Sweden as a life science nation that there is a strong presence of manufacturing companies in the country. It will not only generate export income but also, the competence that the manufacturig companies contribute with is of great importance for the entire value chain within the life science industry.

The government has initiated a new industrial and export strategy, but is this enough in order to make Sweden a global leader within life science production and to continue to generate multi billion worth of export incomes? Pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medical technology already contributes to Sweden’s largest export incomes, after paper, and the new investments that are being made brings hope of an even larger export and more job openings. But according to SwedenBIO the success is far from secured in a global industry where the decisions are taken far beyond the borders of Sweden.

During the seminar factory managers and decision makers gathered to discuss this hot topic. Among the participants are for example Oscar Stenström, the state secretary for Sweden’s Trade Minister Ann Linde, Jan Erneberg, General Manager of GE Healthcare Global Supply Chain, Margareta Ozolins, VP Sweden Operations at AstraZenecaäs factories in Södertälje, Kirsti Gjellan, Head of Biologics Development and Supply at Sobi, Christopher Siegmund, Area Manager at Pfizer’s Strängnäs factory and Carl-Johan Sundberg, board member of Cobra Biologics and professor at Karolinska Institutet.

A long term competence provision

The panel agreed upon that a long term competence provision is very important for the Swedish life science industry. “We have already noticed a shortage of educated staff,” said Margareta Ozolins at AstraZeneca. Jan Ernberg at GE Healthcare hoped that the new life science hub developed in Uppsala will contribute to a new genereation of experts possessing the important cutting-edge expertise. “An open innovation climate has been succesful for Sobi and will continue to be important,” commented Kirtsi Gjellan at Sobi and Carl-Johan Sundberg at Cobra Biologics suggested that the government could contribute with economic stimulation to universities so that new and nisched master educations could start.

From the government, Oscar Stenström said that the government aims to have a close dialogue with the companies in order to understand the industry, for example when it comes to need for capital or competence. Kerstin Falck from Pfizer praised the efforts and the repsonsiveness from the government  but also said that the Swedish mentality is to market itself very softly. “Sweden needs to market itself more and also initate dialogue with the global companies head offices.”

Photo: Oscar Stenström, Margareta Ozolins, Christopher Siegmund, Kirsti Gjellan, Jan Erneberg and Carl-Johan Sundberg.