The AstraZeneca R&D centre in Gothenburg is already one of the best sites in the world when it comes to advanced research and innovations development. It is one of three global priority R&D centres at AstraZeneca, together with the sites at Gaithersburg in Washington, USA, and Cambridge in England, UK.
Gothenburg is an excellent place for developing strong life science clusters. The region does not, however, obtain the same reputation as Washington or Cambridge – at least not yet. AstraZeneca is currently on a journey, aiming to change the way the Gothenburg region is seen globally.
“Gothenburg has in fact been the heart of AstraZeneca’s innovations development for over five decades. The main difference today, compared to the past and up until now, is that the climate for innovation has changed. This is largely connected and due to two major aspects; the digital revolution and the scientific revolution within life science, which includes the development towards personalised medicine”, says Matti Ahlqvist, AstraZeneca Site Manager in Mölndal, Gothenburg.
“Both revolutions are changing the way we deliver value”
The digital revolution involves the development of systems for faster and more secure sharing of patient data, better communication and decision making based on that data, and it can also provide patients with better insight into their own care and how to manage parts of it using digital tools.
The scientific revolution involves entirely new biological mechanisms for developing treatments, with a shift in focus from merely treating symptoms to actually being able to cure more and more diseases. This branches out in the development of more personalised medicine, where very small patient groups obtain the same treatment. Some treatments are even adjusted at individual level, meaning they are entirely unique for each person.
“Both revolutions are changing the way we deliver value to healthcare systems and patients. If we are to take advantage of the opportunities that these developments bring, we must work much closer to others, both in the healthcare sector and in the private business sector, and not least involving the academic side. The benefits are many and we call this the cluster effect”, says Matti Ahlqvist.
The cluster effect of which he speaks is already widely known in large life science regions such as Washington and Cambridge. AstraZeneca wants to implement the same feeling and the same advantageous and collaborative environment in Gothenburg.
The world’s best place for life science
Initiatives such as mentoring programs and open innovation platforms are not new at AstraZeneca. They play an important role in bringing Gothenburg to the forefront of the Swedish life science industry and its development. However, to be a global player in life science R&D, Gothenburg needs more.
“Over five years ago we founded BioVenture Hub, a place within our own grounds where external life science companies can grow. Emerging companies within pharmaceutical development, medical devices, digital health systems and diagnostics are working together in this unique environment to develop the technology, products and treatments that future healthcare providers and patients will require. And we at AstraZeneca are at the heart of all this development”, explains Matti Ahlqvist.
It does not end here. AstraZeneca has a lot more on the go, and a lot more to share to make Gothenburg the world’s best place for life science research and development. Another example is the GoCo Health Innovation City project, which was initiated by AstraZeneca and in time developed into a new health innovation cluster for the Gothenburg region. The future of innovative health starts in Gothenburg, no doubt.