Sön 5 dec / År 39 / Nr 4 2021

Life Science 2021

The task of developing the healthcare systems, technology and treatments of the future requires a much sharper focus on facilitating collaboration across borders. Not only geographical – but across disciplines as well. Gothenburg has a strong and growing Life Science cluster which deserves to be highlighted from a national point of view.

One of the world’s best equipped laboratories for molecular analyses is expanding

Tataa Biocenter has an exciting history and an even more exciting future. It all started in Gothenburg over two decades ago. The Gothenburg-region is now yet again in the global limelight as Tataa Biocenter is building a top-class and large-scale laboratory for molecular analyses right here.

Founder and CEO Mikael Kubista.

The heart and soul of Tataa Biocenter stems from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg. Several of Tataa Biocenter’s key personnel, including the founder and CEO Mikael Kubista, were involved in introducing molecular biotechnology at Chalmers. The same people also contributed to the development of PCR technology, which today is more talked about than ever in connection with testing for covid-19.

Academic spin-off

Tataa Biocenter’s founders were among the pioneers developing quantitative real-time PCR and developed in the mid 90ies some of the first diagnostic tests for viruses in Europe. Tataa Biocenter company was founded as a spin-off from Chalmers University, initially focusing on training activities back in 2001.

“When quantitative PCR became available, skills development was urgently needed for healthcare professionals and diagnostics companies. Researchers and laboratory workers from all over the world still come to Tataa Biocenter in Gothenburg to learn practical aspects of molecular analyses”, says Mikael Kubista.

One of the world’s best equipped laboratories

There are many exciting examples of companies and organisations that Tataa Biocenter collaborates with. One is NASA, who came to Tataa Biocenter for training when planning qPCR testing of astronauts in space and most recently for advice how to secure that their Perseverance rover was completely SARS-CoV-2 virus free when launched for Mars.

“We have one of world’s best equipped laboratories for molecular analyses. We offer services for both industry and academia. Our unique strengths are quality assessment verifying that all steps in a workflow are performed to expectations, single cell analysis and multimodal analysis, i.e., the analysis of many different biomarkers in the same sample. We were first in the world with profiling single cells for microRNA, mRNA, DNA and proteins in high throughput”, clarifies Mikael Kubista.

Tataa Biocenter has evolved from being an education company to being a comprehensive provider of molecular analysis services. In recent years, Tataa Biocenter’s researchers have also developed new technologies including Two-tailed PCR for the analysis of short nucleic acids, such as microRNAs, cell-free DNA and degraded material, and Direct Blood Genotyping (DBG) to analyse nucleic acids directly in capillary blood, which reduces cost and saves time, but also makes point-of-care testing at Doctor’s office feasible.

“Tataa Biocenter is a service provider that support industry in the development of customized analyses and tests, rather than a diagnostic company. This positioned us extremely well when the SARS-CoV-2 virus started to spread around the world. We were included in a European expert group working with the hospital in Wuhan and we set up covid-19 testing already in February 2020, supporting hospitals in several countries. We were also among the first to have their covid-19 PCR test CE-IVD approved”, explains Mikael Kubista.

Of interest to major pharmaceutical companies

The winds of change are blowing and Tataa Biocenter continues to evolve. 

“Beginning of 2021, we shared vision with US based Care Equity to develop Tataa Biocenter to the leading molecular service provider globally. We provide the scientific and technical know-how and skills, while they provide the capital. We are now in the process of expanding the laboratory in new premises, recruiting new skills and experts joining us in Gothenburg, complementing with latest equipment and instrumentation, and broadening our scope of accreditation by introducing GLP and GCP. Business developers have been recruited covering Europe and next year we plan to expand to the US”, Mikael Kubista reveals.

The goal for Tataa Biocenter is now to become the leader in molecular analyses services for both industry and academia globally. With the impending development and larger laboratories, all major pharmaceutical companies in the world are potential customers that can benefit from the expertise and proprietary technologies at Tataa to speed up their drug development process and enhance the power of their clinical studies.