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”We will contribute to Uppsala’s luminosity”

The new centre formation SweDeliver is developing a multidisciplinary cluster around drug supply in Uppsala. The aim is to produce research that benefits society.

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT around new types of drugs is one of Uppsala’s great strengths. But how do you make sure that the patient really gets the right amount of medicine, to the right place in the body, at the right time? Enter SweDeliver – a new research collaboration with co-funding from Vinnova, Uppsala University, and the business community.

The term “drug delivery science” is used most frequently. Research on tablets, creams, and syringes does not always receive as much attention as the development of new drug substances or a new vaccine, but it is probably as important from a patient perspective.

At least, that is the opinion of centre director Christel Bergström, vice dean and professor at the Department of Pharmacy at Uppsala University. She is very hopeful about the possibility of making a difference in the ecosystem.

– The step from drug development in laboratories to clinical research is long and passes what is often described as the “valley of death” where many projects fail. This is where drug delivery comes in as an increasingly important part. We see that the demand for skills in this field will only continue to increase in the future.

In other words, research on drug delivery is about bridging the gap between drug development and the patients’ everyday lives. In the end, it is often a matter of the patient being able to administer their medicine on their own, regardless of whether it involves injections, inhalations, tablets, or patches with microneedles.

At the horizon, there is also a connection to monitoring systems and a holistic perspective where drug delivery is linked with diagnostics and treatment. Christel Bergström mentions both theranostics and nanomedicine as possible solutions where an accurate supply of the drug substance becomes vital.

– For research to create real benefits for society, we must work multidisciplinary and in close collaboration with other actors in this sector. There is often an invisible boundary between medical and technological research that we hope to break.

Broad collaboration that benefits everyone

SweDeliver will promote collaboration between many different players from both academia and the corporate sector, and so far about twenty researchers have been through the academic system. Christel Bergström is happy to highlight Uppsala’s unique position as a life science hub.

– We have ten minutes walking distance between pharmacologists, clinical competence, technology development, and authorities such as the Swedish Medical ProductsAgency. It is a fantastically broad and strong competence gathered in a small area. We are good at using it, but not always as good at communicating our strengths to the outside world.

Communication is connected with the supply of skills, she says. Recruitment processes and visa issues need to proceed faster to build a more attractive and robust system for attracting talent to Uppsala and Sweden.

– At SweDeliver, we want to contribute to Uppsala’s luminosity in life science. Together with other key players, we must look at the supply of skills from a longer perspective. How can we present Uppsala as an exciting region to live and work in? To attract a skilled workforce, we must be able to offer both exciting career opportunities and international schools, says Christel Bergström.


“To attract a skilled workforce, we must be able to offer both exciting career opportunities and international school” – CHRISTEL BERGSTRÖM

is ”a world-leading research centre focusing on new strategies for parenteral, oral and pulmonary drug delivery.” 15 Scandinavian pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are affiliated as industry partners. 18 doctoral students and post-doctoral students are affiliated with SweDeliver.