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Life Science in Stockholm

Preamble :

The most creative life science hub in Europe

The Stockholm-Uppsala life science cluster is a hotbed of innovation and expertise – and it’s growing fast.

For investors with an eye on commercial life science projects, getting to know the Stockholm-Uppsala life science sector is an absolute must. Not only is it Scandinavia’s leading cluster, it’s also one of the world’s most productive hubs for health care advancement and life science knowhow.

On average, an astounding 15-20 new life science companies were formed in the region each year during the last decade. Close ties between government, industry and academia facilitate the development of ideas into commercially viable products. Five of Europe’s finest academic institutions, among them Karolinska Institutet, home of the Nobel assembly, play their part too.

Combine all this with large medical databases and the basic principle in Sweden that the individual researcher owns the result of his or her research and you get the perfect conditions for new and profitable ventures.

Contact us for free, tailor-made information and assistance if you are planning to invest, expand or start a life science business in the Stockholm region. 

Ylva Hultman

Ylva Hultman

Business Development Manager - Life Science

Phone: +46 (0)8-508 280 65

Mobile: +46 (0)70-472 80 65

E-mail: ylva.hultman@stockholm.se

Key Investment Opportunities

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Neuroscience

Stockholm-Uppsala's neuroscience focus covers a broad spectrum of research with hundreds of scientists working on promising projects. Among them the Karolinska Institute’s Bengt Winblad who has been ranked as the world’s most prolific researcher in the Alzheimer field.

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Metabolic Diseases

The majority of the initiatives in the metabolic diseases field in the Stockholm-Uppsala region are directed towards diabetes, and in some cases obesity. Examples of on-going projects are the development of a diabetes vaccine and transplantation of insulin producing cells.

The academic backbone

To ease the flow of ideas, every good brain needs structural support and the Stockholm-Uppsala life science cluster is fortunate to have an educational spine of the highest quality.

Karolinska Institutet is one of the world’s leading medical universities; Stockholm University is one of Sweden’s foremost scientific research centers; while the KTH Royal Institute of Technology is one of Europe’s finest tech universities.

Recently the three universities decided to pool their compatible skills and resources through the creation of Stockholm Trio, an alliance that enables the universities to forge common alliances with seats of learning across the world and makes them even more competitive internationally.

With so much creativity and research happening in the region, establishing a framework to get ideas into the marketplace is essential. As such, the Stockholm School of Business makes a crucial contribution, educating graduates who can give the sector a commercial edge. KI Innovations is also a key player in ensuring that so many ideas make it to the product stage.

For decades life science companies have thrived in Uppsala, home to the oldest university in the Nordic region, and one of the most respected. The beautiful cathedral city is also home to the highly regarded Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. The sector is bolstered by the high standard of education at other regional colleges including Mälardalen University and Södertörn University.

Researchers in the life science community also benefit greatly from having access to SciLifeLab, a government-funded national research institution for the advancement of molecular biosciences.

World class university hospitals

The academic strength of Karolinska Institutet and Uppsala University is mirrored in health care: Karolinska University Hospital was ranked the tenth best hospital in the world in 2020, while Uppsala University Hospital has lost none of its quality in the more than 300 years since its foundation, also ranking in the global top 50.

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    Investment opportunities in digital health

    One fourth of the investable companies on the Life Science Hotlist represents the digital health sector.

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    Innovation that saves lives

    The Pacemaker, a medical device that uses electrical impulses to regulate the beating of the heart, was invented in Stockholm in 1958.

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    Advanced Therapeutics Manufacturing

    Leading life science companies and rapidly expanding startups from around the globe are selecting the Stockholm region.

The life science industry

The life sciences in the Stockholm-Uppsala cluster, as elsewhere in Sweden, receive vital support from SwedenBIO, a non-profit association dedicated to creating optimum conditions for the sector to thrive in Sweden. Start-ups, SMEs and large enterprises all benefit from membership in an association that functions as a crucial hub for research, industry and government. This interplay is hugely important in explaining the success of the life sciences in Sweden, with all parties working together to ensure that innovators get the backing they need from business and institutions.

The research-based pharmaceutical sector also has its own trade association, LIF, which advises and assists approximately 90 members and associated companies with industry-related questions.

Thanks to European Union support, Invest Stockholm has been able to maintain a Life Science Hotlist, a service that gives potential investors insight into the latest developments in a vibrant and fast-moving sector.

Science parks, foundations and networks

Nowhere is the interaction of research and business more apparent than in the science parks that work to commercialize life science innovations, and in so doing contribute to better health care for everybody.

Established in 1990, Stockholm Science City Foundation is currently focused on ensuring Stockholm’s Hagastaden district becomes a global hub for the life sciences. The non-profit foundation works with concept development, communication and relationship building to strengthen Stockholm's competitiveness in the sector.

The nearby Karolinska Institutet Science Park possesses a natural closeness to its parent institution, but also collaborates with KTH and Södertörn University. Sixty kilometers up the road, Uppsala Science Park ensures a continual rejuvenation of the city’s incredibly vibrant life science ecosystem.

The sector also derives essential nourishment from foundations that ensure research, government and business are given the best conditions to thrive. The Electrum Foundation stimulates growth and cooperation in research-based and innovative growth companies and is the parent of both the key startup incubator STING and Kista Science City, Europe’s leading ICT cluster.

To the south of the city, the Flemingsberg Science foundation and Södertälje Science Park also provide top-level collaborative platforms for municipal, academic and financial players to work together on research and development projects.

From its base in Uppsala, STUNS sees to it that the considerable breadth of knowledge in the Stockholm-Uppsala life science doesn’t get stuck in silos. By connecting the ecosystem, it fosters mutual learning and growth in the region.

Finally, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation is a hugely important benefactor in the life sciences, disbursing an average of SEK 2 billion yearly to finance research, primarily in medicine, technology, and the natural sciences. 

The Nobel Prize

Stockholm’s commitment to the sciences comes into the spotlight each year with the awarding of the Nobel Prize. Ever since its establishment in 1900 the Nobel Foundation has guaranteed the independence of the selection process that rewards the outstanding achievement of scientists worldwide. 

The Nobel Prize exerts a strong influence on Sweden and there is a strong link between innovation, entrepreneurship and academic research in Stockholm. High international expectations are placed on scientific institutions and Swedish schoolchildren are exposed at an early age to the implications of both research and the prize. Businesses too benefit from an open, inquisitive, and research-oriented climate.

Nobel Laureates are chosen after an extensive selection process at the top scientific academies in Stockholm. When the Laureates receive their prizes from King Carl XVI Gustaf, work on the nominations for next year has already begun.

Nobel Week begins around 6 December each year. All of the Nobel Laureates and their families come to Stockholm. They participate in an extensive program of festivities and academic events arranged by the Nobel Foundation, culminating in Nobel Day on 10 December. The Laureates receive their prize from the King at Stockholm Concert Hall, followed by a banquet at Stockholm City Hall.