New report and survey show Stockholm-Uppsala life science foundations and confidence still strong despite AZ cutbacks

Major Euros 7 billion infrastructure investment now underway, while protein science companies continue to expandA new report published today in conjunction withe Nordic Life Science Days by Stockholm-Uppsala Life Science, Stockholm Science City and Uppsala BIO shows that despite taking a hit from the widely reported Astra Zeneca closures over the last years, the region maintained its position as one of the leading international life science clusters (data from 2011).

586 companies employ 20,729 people, generating a combined turnover of SEK 141 billion (Euros 15 billion; national figure). Although the report reveals that total work force has decreased from 2009 to 2011, to a large extent due to AstraZeneca’s downsizing, it also appears that a group of companies has increased hiring suggesting that, at least a proportion of the individuals losing their jobs have been re-employed. Thus, crucially the competence pool has most likely been retained within the region.

Furthermore, companies in protein science continue to show growth whilst ongoing research funding and infrastructure investments totaling some SEK 60 billion (Euros 7 billion) such as SciLifeLab, Hagastaden and a new university hospital (New Karolinska) are starting to bring returns. This is backed by the results of a survey carried out on the eve of the conference amongst research, industry, financial and government leaders. 80% of respondents were positive about the region’s future, with the same number stressing quality of research and number of qualified researchers as the regions’ main asset.
Stockholm-Uppsala Life Sciences CEO, Ola Bjorkman commented: “The Astra Zeneca downsizing has shown that we are not immune to global trends, but on the other hand, I believe the underlying foundations are still strong and a number of factors point to the region recovering well. Production-intensive companies such as Fresenius Kabi and Cepheid have expanded, growth in several companies with 11-50 employees suggest a good potential for further growth and companies in the protein science area including Olink also show excellent growth.
The government package announced last year is starting to take effect and will benefit SciLifeLab in particular. The signs that this will be a powerhouse of innovation are promising. The survey was also encouraging. As I suspect with all other regions in Europe access to capital came up as an issue, but on the other hand the respondeeshighlighted more strengths than weaknesses, particularly in terms of quality of research and international networks.”
The report was presented on the Stockholm-Uppsala stand at the Nordic Life Science Days at 10.00 on Tuesday October 15.

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