Stockholm-Uppsala, Scandinavia’s leading life-science cluster, is getting increasing attention from international investors as the region's life science sector continues to go from strength to strength.
It seems a remarkable turnaround, considering pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca closed its Stockholm research and development facility in Södertälje last year. But what could have been a disaster instead generated several pioneering new biotech start-ups.
Like AstraZeneca, many large pharmaceutical companies are slimming their organisations to cut costs. That has actually opened up new opportunities for smaller research firms in Sweden. Now the pharma giants frequently hire talents from niche research groups with expertise in specialist areas.
"Stockholm-Uppsala is well placed in this area with many highly competent research groups," said Ylva Hultman-Erlandsson, head of Stockholm Business Region Development's life science unit, explaining that the organisation is helping the groups to better promote their services.
She added that another interesting trend is the growing number of mobile healthcare (m-health) companies and projects.
In another boost for the burgeoning sector, the government included a 11.5 billion kronor ($1.76 billion) investment in life sciences - spread across 2013-2016 - in its new research and innovation bill. One of the beneficiaries was Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab), which got an extra 200 million kronor annually.
At the same time, Hagastaden, a developing area in Stockholm which is aiming to create world-leading research and highly specialised medical care, is likely to give a boost to the life science sector as it attracts both national and international companies and researchers.
Hultman-Erlandsson said there are a number of important events coming up in 2013 in the Stockholm region, including the conference ICT – Life Science – Health, in August.
"An investment conference, BioEquity Europe, will take place in Stockholm in May," she said. "Stockholm Business Region Development will play an active role.
"Together with seven firms from Stockholm-Uppsala, we will participate in the Swiss-Scandinavian Bio-Business Seminar in Zurich next month, where company representatives will get the opportunity to network with possible partners and investors from the financial sector."