Looking for greater Nordic cooperation – “We have Norway and Finland in our sights”

How can Medicon Valley Alliance bring the big pharmaceutical companies back to the organisation? Life Science Sweden discussed this topic and others with the cluster organisation’s new radar pair.

In April, Novo Nordisk’s Sweden CEO, Niels Abel Bonde, was elected the new Chairman of Medicon Valley Alliance (MVA). At the same time, Malmö Science Park Medeon’s CEO, Ulf G Andersson, was re-elected as Vice Chairman. When asked to share their visions for the organisation, Ulf G Andersson replies that their ambition is to develop genuinely relevant projects that will benefit both sides of the Oresund.

“This is the unique thing about MVA; everything evolves around life science and health, and everything is Swedish-Danish rather than national. We will build on that.”

They also have a more unexpected ambition, at least given that Medicon Valley in the name MVA refers to the area in the Oresund region. It is a vision that involves working with other stakeholders to strengthen and develop the Nordic Region into a strong hub for life sciences.

“We are becoming more outwardly active in our geographical areas, and we now have robust communication across Denmark and Sweden. We are also turning our attention towards Norway and Finland because if we in the Nordic countries come together even more than we do today, we will have a truly significant mass in terms of patients, number of hospitals, number of professors, number of companies, turnover and number of employees in the industry,” says Ulf G Andersson.

He believes that greater cooperation is necessary for the Nordic Region to be able to compete with large life science hubs, such as Boston in the United States, and emphasises that this is something that MVA wants to contribute to.

MVA currently includes more than 300 members on both sides of the Oresund. The universities in Lund, Malmö and Copenhagen, all hospitals in the region and the vast majority of Biotech and Medtech companies in southern Sweden and the Copenhagen area are members.

However, the big Danish pharmaceutical companies are conspicuous by their absence. Novo Nordisk Sweden is a member, but neither Lundbeck, Leo Pharma, nor Novo Nordisk in Denmark are.

How come?

“They were involved at one time, but there were a number of other national initiatives in Denmark that they chose to join at some point,” says Ulf G Andersson, mentioning the Danish Life Science Cluster.

Niels Abel Bonde makes it clear that he wants to attract the Danish pharmaceutical giants to the MVA.

“Of course, we want to include the three elephants,” he says.

How will you make it happen?

“It is important to continue on the path that MVA is already pursuing to create value for our members. I also think it is important to raise the issue of the exciting development that is taking place on both sides of the Oresund. We have a very exciting mix of companies.”

Niels Abel Bonde highlights the large number of exciting start-ups and biotech companies in Skåne and the strength of the universities on both sides of the Oresund.

“With the large pharmaceutical companies on the Danish side, this area represents an extremely exciting environment that leads to a cross-fertilisation that is beneficial to all parties,” he says.

The Medicon Valley Alliance includes over 300 members in the Oresund region. Its members include life science companies, as well as universities, regions and hospitals on both sides of the Oresund. Niels Abel Bonde succeeds Søren Bregenholt as Chairman of the organisation.

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