Report on Swedish life science cluster

9 February 2010

Stockholm-Uppsala Life Science has published a comprehensive report on the research expertise in the Stockholm-Uppsala region of Sweden.

The region currently hosts over 500 life science companies, 300 major research projects and more than 25,000 employees — making it one of the largest life science clusters in Europe.

Universities in the region include the Karolinska Institutet, Uppsala University, Stockholm University and the Royal Institute for Technology. Stockholm-Uppsala researchers currently participate in around one third of all EU-funded life science projects and have developed breakthrough innovations, such as the pacemaker, recombinant growth hormone and Gamma Knife.

Bestselling products developed in the region include ÄKTA, Sephadex and low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH).

Eight major research areas

The report identifies for the first time the region’s eight major research areas: protein research / molecular bioscience; neuroscience; cancer; metabolic diseases; infection; immunology; inflammation and cardio vascular diseases.

Each of the eight major research areas identified in the report are supported by strategic research initiatives within several universities; interact with EU-funded projects; and include a critical mass of companies with development activities in the field.

Key projects in the region, all involving universities in both Stockholm and Uppsala, include SciLifeLab, a major molecular bioscience research project, the Human Proteome Atlas and the Human Regenerative Map.

Ola Björkman, CEO of Stockholm-Uppsala Life Science, said: "Stockholm-Uppsala has long been one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. Not only is the region host to deep research expertise, but it also has an enviable commercial network that actively encourages collaboration and has been responsible for generating some of the region’s most successful innovations.

"I firmly believe the collaborative approach is fundamental to the development of the life science sector as we move into a new decade and a new era for the sector – and this first report firmly places Stockholm-Uppsala at the heart of this evolution.”

2010 Sector outlook

A group of CEOs of major international life science companies based in the region, world-renown researchers and key politicians who attended a launch dinner last December were polled on the outlook for 2010. 100% believe that the life science sector will see growth and confirmed that their organisations are planning on expanding their current activities. 50% of the luminaries predict an uplift in the IPO market in 2010, with more confidence in the growth of M&A – 85% predicted an increase in deal activity in the next 12 months.

When asked about the most attractive features of the Stockholm-Uppsala region low labour costs for R&D was the favourite (50%), followed by the presence of biobanks and patient registers (35%) and management culture (15%). Greater innovation and more investment were cited as the key factors that will secure the future prosperity of the sector.

Commenting on the predictions Ola Björkman said: “These predictions — made by leaders from the region’s life science sector — bode well for 2010. The anticipated sector growth, combined with greater M&A activity, builds a much more positive picture as the sector emerges from a tough eighteen months.”

More information

The Stockholm-Uppsala Life Science (SULS) website:


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