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Two new Swedish industry research centres with life science focus


The Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF) is investing 400 million SEK in four industrial research centres, and two of these are focusing on challenges within life science; nucleotide based drugs and personalized diabetes medicine.

SSF has decided to establish four industry research centres with the purpose to enable groundbreaking innovation coming from external industrial challenges. At least 75 million SEK will be invested in the research centre, FoRmulaEx, a collaboration project together with AstraZeneca. The aim is packaging biological pharmaceuticals in nano capsules in order to reach cells inside the body or to cure severe diseases.

The centre will be operating for 6 to 8 years and hopefully lead to a better understanding of the mechanisms that steer cellular uptake, transport and release of so-called nucelotide-based pharmaceuticals. Besides AstraZeneca, four other companies will be a part of the collaboration; Camurus, Evox, GSD and Vironova, as well as three universities; Chalmers (coordinator Fredrik Höök), the University of Gothenburg and the Karolinska Institutet. The centre will study fundamental conditions for nucelotide-based pharmaceuticals. Findings could lead to new genetic-based treatments within cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, but also other genetic diseases.

“Our growing portfolio of oligonucleotide- and modRNA-projects underlines the importance of discovering and developing improved delivery systems. In this collaboration we take a step back in order to deepen our understanding of the underlying mechanisms for cell-trafficking, like endosomal escape, where we so far have noticed that a large part of the administrated dose is lost. I am very happy to collaborate in this consortium of experts from the industry and the academia in Sweden,” says Anders Holmén, Head of the IRC board and Head of Pharmaceutical Sciences at AstraZeneca.

The consortium will work closely together with AstraZeneca’s global research facility in Gothenburg.

Diabetes in focus

One of the other three centres is also focusing on life science, and more specifically on personalized medicine in diabetes. The project coordinator is Maria F Gomez at the University Hospital of Lund. The purpose of the project is to find predictive biomarkers relevant for diabetes and its complications. By using large patient data and “big data” new potential biomarkers could be identified. They will be included in experimental models and innovative clinical trials, for example in targeted patient recruitment based on genotype and/or phenotype.

Collaborating partners in the projects are Novo Nordisk, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Pfizer, Probi, CardioVax, Follicum and the Region of Skåne/The University hospital in Malmö.


Image: Biologics in the treatment of asthma, AstraZeneca