Medicon Village Focuses on Health and Better Lives
The city of Lund has a long history of work within life sciences. Recently, Lund has been influenced by the global trend of development and innovation happening in smaller companies with unique expertise. The premises that once hosted the large and successful AstraZeneca pharmaceutical company now house more than 150 organizations within life sciences. At Medicon Village, researchers’ ideas are transformed into companies that deliver products and services.
Lund and the pharmaceutical and medical device industry are an uncommonly successful combination. In the past, life science researchers at universities could take their knowledge and skills further to large companies, such as AstraZeneca or Baxter. Nowadays researchers have the opportunity to transform their ideas into products and services within their own companies, as happens for instance at Medicon Village.
“It is the intersection between the business community, the municipality, the health care system, and the university that are important in Lund,” says Kerstin Jakobsson (picture), CEO of Medicon Village Innovation. “In Lund everything is nearby; the city is like a large campus.”
Medicon Village was formed when the Mats Paulsson Foundation for Research, Innovation, and Societal Development purchased the former AstraZeneca premises next to the E22 in 2011, right after AstraZeneca moved its research from Lund to Gothenburg. AstraZeneca left behind unique laboratory facilities and analytical instruments, which created an excellent foundation for research and innovation within life sciences. In the almost eight years since opening its doors, Medicon Village has filled the premises with work related to the life sciences in a broad sense – focusing on human health and bettering lives. Almost all of the ideas around which the companies are founded come from Lund University.
Successful areas for companies at Medicon Village include diagnostics and treatment of cancer with new technology, such as immunotherapy, as well as cell therapy, gene therapy, and antibiotic resistance. Additionally, Kerstin Jakobsson identified digitalization including AI as well as preventative healthcare as important areas that an increasing number of companies are focusing on. There is also competence remaining from AstraZeneca’s time, which has led to the creation of service companies to support the development of other companies.
Medicon Village offers an environment where ideas from research can be transformed into products and services. It offers support systems which enable small organizations to receive the benefits of large organizations and which make the transformation of ideas possible through unique laboratories and expertise.
“Medicon Village is truly a world designed for intersections with success”, says Kerstin Jakobsson.
Why is it beneficial for companies and start-up companies to move to Medicon Village?
According to Jakobsson, “There are several reasons. One is that there is a sharing economy here that enables start-up companies to access unique laboratories and analytical instruments without having to invest in everything themselves. Another important reason is that small companies are offered an office where everything is included and where they can get many new colleagues. Even the meetings become simpler because so many companies are located in the same area. Additionally, it is our task to facilitate informal meetings – which often develop good ideas and exciting collaborations. Medicon Village works so that companies are made visible and network more, for instance through meetings and events. But one should also remember that we are a part of the Öresund Region. There is a lot of expertise in the area, a mobility in the market, and several university hospitals. It is an environment that attracts international talent and results in many international collaborations.”
The Medicon Village way of collaborating among companies has produced good dividends in regards to EU funding. Five companies at Medicon Village have been granted a total of 15 million euros without the requirement of match funding – a mark of quality for groundbreaking projects.
Jakobsson highlighted that “The share of grants in this specific EU-program for member companies at Medicon Village is now higher than in any other research park in Europe. This shows that Medicon Village‘s offerings attract leading European innovation companies. Companies that have received grants within this EU program are SenzaGen, Immunovia, Idogen, Clinical Laserthermia Systems and CombiGen for their cutting-edge projects within medical- and biotechnology.”
And that’s just the beginning; there is much more going on at Medicon Village. For instance, Region Skåne moved its organization for the new digital medical record system to the area and KRY opened a location to test something new: how the digital doctor becomes physical. Furthermore, E.ON has made an internal demonstration site for the energy system Ectogrid, an energy solution that will greatly reduce the carbon footprint for the area. Additionally, a new office building, The Spark, is ready and more than 400 employees in more than 50 companies are moving in during the autumn 2019.
Medicon Village is owned by a foundation, whose terms stipulate that all surplus must be reinvested into research and innovation. The City of Lund is on the board of Medicon Village Innovation AB.
Medicon Village houses more than 150 organizations. Most members are companies working within pharmaceuticals, medical technology, biotechnology, nanomedicine, or eHealth.
Together these companies raised approximately SEK 800 million in new issues in 2018.
There are 22 listed companies with a market capitalization of about SEK 9.6 billion (September 2019) at Medicon Village.
In total, the companies have attracted more than SEK 4 billion in new issues from start-up until 2019 (only includes companies headquartered in Medicon Village).
Medicon Village’s comprehensive cancer center gathers Lund University medical and engineering researchers with diverse complementary backgrounds including technology, oncology, and laboratory medicine for clinical, translational, and experimental cancer research. It enables researchers to jointly study cancer diseases from many different sides.
Other organizations within Medicon Village include e g :
- Lund University, with more than 300 scientists
- Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Lund University
- Palliativt Utvecklingscentrum (Center for the Development of Palliative Care), which is a part of Lund University and Region Skåne
- Region Skåne’s IT department
- Labmedicin Skåne, a biobank with more than 20 million samples
- SmiLe, the highly successful incubator with, among other things, a unique set of instruments in its Makerspace and collaboration with OpenLab Skåne
- Health2B Accelerator, an intensive 2-month global acceleration program, for startup companies in the field of digital health and operated by SmiLe incubator
- Cleantech Scandinavia, connect innovators, investors and partners searching for smart and clean solution from Scandinavia.
- Innovation Skåne, provide innovation management and innovation support for Region Skåne’s operations and employees. As well as helps entrepreneurs and startups in Skåne with business advisory.
- Future by Lund, an innovation platform for smart and sustainable solutions for growing cities, villages and the people who live there.
- LU Innovation, the hub for innovation and commercialization and the Tech Transfer Office at Lund University.
Text: Caroline Wendt
Translation: Finlay McGregor
Photo: Caroline Wendt