In order to boost the commercialisation of new technologies and support manufacturing capabilities in the life sciences sector, the Swedish government and GE Healthcare are opening an innovation centre — Testa Center.
The centre, located in Uppsala, Sweden, houses four bioprocessing laboratories with GE Healthcare technologies for testing new discoveries for the production of biopharmaceuticals.
Around €10 million have been invested by the Swedish government, which has identified the life sciences as one of its top five partnership programmes, is aiming to improve collaborations between the public sector, business and academia to improve the competitiveness and innovation capabilities of the country. Additionally, the government opened an office dedicated to the life sciences earlier in the year.
“This impressive test bed, Testa Center, which GE Healthcare chose to develop in partnership with the government promotes innovation, strengthens competitiveness and will help us provide more efficient care in the future,” stated Mikael Damberg, minister for Enterprise and Innovation. “This is important for Sweden and our life sciences strategy, as we are facing tougher health challenges globally. People grow older and chronic and lifestyle-related diseases are increasing. Life sciences is a knowledge-intensive sector with a high growth potential.”
The first company to run a project at the centre, BioLamina, has entered into a collaboration with NovoNordisk to develop new cell therapies targeting Parkinson’s disease, heart failure and loss of vision, and will further use the centre to scale-up its production capcity.
“With the increasing demand of our high-quality laminins within the cell therapy industry, we need to scale-up our production capacity,” explained Kristian Tryggvason, CEO of BioLamina. “Testa Center gives us a unique possibility to do this internally instead of relying on large global contract manufacturers.”
“Testa Center was created to advance innovation, but it also strengthens the life sciences talent pool in Sweden. We can learn from smaller companies with fast and flexible ways of working,” summarised Lotta Ljungqvist, CEO of GE in the Nordics and CEO of Testa Center. “Testa Center is a real-life example of a successful public-private-partnership that has brought together many key players in Sweden. The engagement and buzz around the centre has been astounding, and I believe that many discoveries will be taken to the real world with the help of Testa Center.”
In addition to the government funding, GE Healthcare is investing €4.5 million in the centre. Other sponsors include the national life sciences facilitator SWElife, Region Uppsala, the industry organization Uppsala BIO, the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth and the Foundation for Collaboration between the Universities in Uppsala, Business, and the Public Sector (STUNS).