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Umeå’s life science industry is on the rise

UBI Photo Malin Grönborg

Employment has risen by more than 17 per cent per year and life science companies have attracted SEK 230 million in equity investment over the past two and a half years.

This is stated in a press release from Umeå Biotech Incubator.

“Two years ago we set a goal that the life science industry in Umeå would generate more than SEK 1 billion and add more than 500 jobs by 2030. At today’s rate we will far exceed this goal,” says Jennie Ekbeck, CEO of Umeå Biotech Incubator (UBI).

Raised just over SEK 230 million in equity

Right now UBI is participating in an EU project called Life Science Engine v. 2.0, which aims to create the right conditions for life science companies to thrive in Umeå. The project will end in December this year. Despite the fact there are six months left until the end of the project, four of the six intermediate goals have not only been achieved but exceeded, UBI states.

Companies linked to UBI attracted SEK 91.4 million in equity investment between 2019 and 2020, and since the turn of the year this upwards trend has only strengthened. Biopharmaceutical company Lipum raised SEK 85 million through a new share issue and Lipigon Pharmaceuticals attracted SEK 50 million in new investment. The result is that life science companies in Umeå have raised just over SEK 230 million in equity since UBI’s EU project began, states UBI.

Employment has increased

Employment in the life science industry has also increased, with 44 new positions created – 35 of which have been full-time positions since 2019. In recent years employment in the region’s life sciences sector has risen by almost 17 per cent .

As part of the project, Umeå Biotech Incubator has focused on strengthening the ability of life science companies to find and recruit talent. The project has worked with the marketing of Umeå nationally in order to help companies attract expertise from all over Sweden.

“Diamyd Medical establishing a facility for vaccine production here in Umeå was one of many positive things that happened last year, which of course benefits the industry as a whole. It is important to show the rest of Sweden that Umeå is a great place to be.”

“Diamyd Medical establishing a facility for vaccine production here in Umeå was one of many positive things that happened last year, which of course benefits the industry as a whole. It is important to show the rest of Sweden that Umeå is a great place to be. A place where employees can get rewarding and highly-skilled jobs and thrive in a vibrant, growing city,” says Ekbeck.

Lack of laboratory facilities

UBI’s premises at Tvistevägen 48, where startup companies are able to rent one or more offices, are another step towards creating the ideal conditions for companies to grow in Umeå. And right now UBI is tackling an even bigger challenge – the city’s lack of laboratory facilities.

The laboratory at Umeå Biotech Incubator is currently at full capacity. Nordic Biomarker has just moved into its purpose-built 4,500 square meter premises in Umestan and vacated a 1,200 square metre facility that was quickly taken over by Agrisera.

“In ten years from now the need for facilities for life science companies will amount to more than 15,000 square metres. If we do not start building now, the risk is that companies will leave Umeå if the conditions for growth are not in place.”

“It is vitally important that the conditions are created to build more laboratory facilities in Umeå – both for research as well as for development and production companies,” says Ekbeck. “In ten years from now the need for facilities for life science companies will amount to more than 15,000 square metres. If we do not start building now, the risk is that companies will leave Umeå if the conditions for growth are not in place.”

Team UBI: Malin Grönborg