Sweden bolsters biotech
05.04.2012 - Swedish pharma company Astra Zeneca plus Wallenberg Foundation and Swedish government pledge a record investment into the biotech industry.
Stockholm – Under a new initiative, AstraZeneca will invest €2.3m to €4.5m (SEK20m to SEK40m) a year over the next five years in early-stage research projects. The Wallenberg Foundation, a private financing institution which is dedicated to promoting scientific research and education in Sweden, will provide additional €25m (SEK220m). The money will be used to build up technology laboratories for the SciLifeLab collaboration between four Swedish universities. The contribution of the Swedish government is yet unknown, but a spokesperson already announced the government is planning a record investment in the country's life science infrastructure. The details would be published in the autumn budget. Jan Björklund, the Swedish Minister for Education, announced the SciLifeLab will become a national research institute for major research in molecular biosciences and bioinformatics. According to the government’s plan, SciLifeLab will grow to employ about 1,000 scientists and have a turnover of about €113m (SEK1bn) within a few years. SciLifeLab is a joint venture between four universities; Karolinska Institutet, the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm University and Uppsala University. The medical research focuses on investigating the molecular basis of complex human diseases, and seeks to find biomarkers that can help diagnose diseases and monitor their progress. The vision is to make SciLifeLab a competitive centre for high-throughput biosciences with platforms in genomics, comparative genetics, proteomics, bioimaging and functional genomics as well as research communities in biology, medicine and environmental sciences.