GU Holding, wholly-owned by University of Gothenburg, was founded in 1995 as an initiative by the Swedish government. The core business of GU Holding is to create successful businesses by developing and investing in new innovations originating from the university, and thereby creating new employment opportunities as well as promoting industrial and economic growth in the Gothenburg region.
Klementina Österberg, CEO, points out the fact that GU Holding has a significant focus on the business of Life Science by developing and investing in more than 20 Life Science innovations between 1996 – 2010. This is more than one third of all development projects supported by GU Holding so far.
Here, Klementina gives us some important arguments for investing in the area of Life Science: “The Gothenburg region is regarded as one of Sweden’s most important hubs for development projects and innovations in industrial technology, infrastructure and advanced large-scale research within a broad spectrum of disciplines such as renewable energy, construction technology and perhaps most important, in the vast area of Life Science”, she explains.
The role of GU Holding is primarily to support research and innovations at a very early stage, and to promote the development projects in order to attract new opportunities. “We are always involved at an early stage when we only have an idea, as we intend to promote the commercial opportunities of such developments, preferably before anyone else.” The University of Gothenburg is a well-established research institute with globally recognised expertise, particularly within biomaterials, cardiology, anti-inflammatory drugs and vaccines. “GU Holding is actively supporting innovations and technological advancements within all these fields.”
From small-scale program to large-scale business
One example of success is A+ Science, mainly operating within clinical trials. Starting out as a small-scale development program with GU Holding as sole investor, that made an initial investment of 100 000 SEK, A+ Science expanded tremendously through organic growth between 1997 – 2007.
As from 2007, the company is listed on a small cap stock market and GU Holding has disposed of most of its shares at the remarkable profit of around 20 million SEK. The A+ Science group is today a successful company with around 80 employees and a turnover of more than 100 million SEK.
A comprehensive project portfolio, from Blue Biotech to Alzheimers
The projects within the Life Science area are focused on an ambition to improve healthcare to the community at large, for example by providing better diagnostics, care and rehabilitation. “Our project portfolio is very comprehensive, containing anything from new medicines; anti-inflammatory drugs in particular, to newly discovered treatments. By supporting projects that for instance are focusing on Alzheimer’s disease and kidney cancer, GU Holding aims to develop innovations into viable treatments.”
Yet another example, GU Holdings is supporting the development of a solution for traumatic neck injuries including whiplash, and in yet another project they are developing new rehabilitation systems for patients recovering from a stroke. “We are also working closely with researchers focusing on obesity and diabetes and we are currently investigating some exciting innovations involving Blue Biotech, the opportunity to produce medicines based on living organisms in the sea”, explains Klementina Österberg.
Klementina concludes by telling us: ”Our overall goal is to boost new ideas and innovations through early funding and business development. We are constantly on the lookout for new investors and partners in order to expand lucrative projects.”
“The aim is to provide the innovators with the best possible foundation to expand an idea that we believe has both commercial prospects and will provide something substantial and useful to our society at large. The region is already widely recognised for its prominent expertise and largely unique research within Life Science, so the next five to ten years are looking exceedingly bright for those venturing in to this lucrative area of business.”