Tor 25 jul / År 42 / Nr 3 2024

Gothenburg: The ideal hub for health innovation and life science

Gothenburg is emerging as a leading location for health innovation and life sciences, driven by strong collaboration between healthcare, academia, the city, and industry. It hosts world-class research institutions like Sahlgrenska Academy and Chalmers University, and AstraZeneca's research center.

Cecilia Edebo, is the new CEO of Sahlgrenska Science Park (SSP).

The region employs over 60,000 professionals in the broad life science sector, including 7,000 in over 450 private enterprises. Known for clinical trials and medical advancements such as Losec, Parkinson’s treatments and uterus transplantations, Gothenburg excels in medtech, stem cell research, and regenerative medicine. Its innovation ecosystem includes 60+ test beds and significant R&D investments. Recognised for sustainability and collaboration, it is a European Innovation Leader.

Supporting small companies with big ideas

Sahlgrenska Science Park (SSP) plays a pivotal role in this ecosystem, acting as a catalyzer and coordinator to strengthen health innovation and life sciences in West Sweden. SSP is a "spider in the web" and actively contributes to the establishment of new and development of existing companies, collaboration between business, healthcare and academia, and coordinating national and international strategic R&D projects.

SSP’s comprehensive support and services are designed to help small companies with groundreaking ideas grow their operations. These include:

1. Incubation and acceleration programs: Tailored support for startups in health innovation and life sciences. For example, SSP’s CO-AX Accelerator program, which has supported more than 140 companies over the years, recently welcomed four innovative healthtech companies: Blood Simplings, Medagogic, Nano Dentica and Skillup.

2. Market Access and internationalisation: Providing companies with the resources and strategies needed to enter and expand in international markets. This includes partnerships with international clusters and guidance on regulatory requirements in different regions. SSP is a founding member of HealthTech Nordic.

3. Funding and investment support: Assistance with navigating the complex funding landscape and connecting with potential investors. SSP helps companies secure grants and venture capital funding, vital for early-stage growth.

4. Networking and collaboration opportunities: Facilitating connections between startups, established companies, academic institutions, and healthcare providers. SSP organizes events and workshops to foster collaborations.

5. Access to expertise and advanced facilities: Providing state-of-the-art laboratories, research facilities and office spaces. The newly launched Health Innovation Labs offer access to cutting-edge equipment and expert guidance.

Recent highlights at SSP

New Health Innovation Labs: Launched in collaboration with Akademiska Hus, these labs offer advanced research facilities and expert guidance.

New funding opportunity: SSP and Science Park Skövde have brought the prestigious EIT Digital Venture Incubation Program to Sweden, thus expanding funding support for digital solution entrepreneurs.

New Compliance Hub: Marking the launch of SSP's new Compliance Hub with the seminar "Unlocking compliance to power health innovation."

Four new companies in CO-AX Accelerator: This spring, SSP has welcomed four innovative healthtech companies into its CO-AX Accelerator program.

HackHERHealth Hackathon: SSP co-hosted a femtech innovation hackathon with GoCo Health Innovation City & Health Innovation West to address the gender health gap.

HealthTech Award 2024: Celebrating significant innovations in healthtech from across the Nordic countries, together with GREAT and Vitalis.

Cecilia Edebo's appointment: The new CEO brings extensive experience and leadership to guide SSP’s mission to accelerate health innovation. Edebo commented: “Together with our partners, we are co-creating a world-class life science region in Gothenburg. One that is internationally renowned with sustainable and competitive companies on a global market.”

Medicinareberget and GoCo Health Innovation City: a dual hub of excellence

Medicinareberget in Gothenburg is where Sahlgrenska Science Park, Sahlgrenska University Hospital and Sahlgrenska Academy coexist and collaborate. This central location creates a unique environment for innovation and research, driving advancements in health and medical technology. The Sahlgrenska University Hospital aims to become one of Europe’s leading university hospitals by 2030, further boosting the region’s health innovation capabilities.

GoCo Health Innovation City is a new and exciting environment for health innovation in the Gothenburg area. Together, Medicinareberget and GoCo are advancing as leading health innovation sites, making Gothenburg a dynamic and multifaceted region for life science progress.

Sector convergence and collaboration

The convergence of life science with other sectors, notably the mobility industry, is a growing trend. In Gothenburg, the life science industry collaborates with companies like Volvo to share knowledge and co-create solutions that benefit health. This interdisciplinary approach is driving innovation and creating new opportunities for growth, such as developing new health monitoring systems for vehicles or using automotive safety technologies to enhance medical devices.

Collaborative ecosystem for healthcare innovation

SSP collaborates closely with Innovationsplattformen and Gothia Forum, sharing the goal of facilitating healthcare innovation. This partnership enhances the support ecosystem, making it easier for innovative solutions to reach healthcare systems and improve healthcare outcomes.

SSP's role in Health Innovation West

SSP coordinates Health Innovation West, a collaborative initiative aimed at fostering innovation and growth in the health sector across West Sweden. This initiative brings together industry leaders, academic institutions, and healthcare providers to drive advancements in health innovation and improve public health outcomes across the region.

In conclusion, Gothenburg, with its supportive ecosystem and SSP's catalysing role, is an ideal place for health innovation and life science companies to thrive and lead in developing groundbreaking solutions.