Swedish Government and GE Healthcare Open an Innovation Center for Life Sciences

The new Testa Center in Uppsala, Sweden is a collaborative test bed offering biotechnology equipment for process development.
Aug 24, 2018
By Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

The Swedish government and GE Healthcare have opened an innovation center in Uppsala, Sweden to boost the commercialization of new technologies and support manufacturing capabilities in the life sciences sector, GE Healthcare announced in an Aug. 21, 2018 press release. The 2500-m(27,000-ft2) Testa Center houses four bioprocessing laboratories with GE Healthcare technologies for testing new discoveries for the production of biopharmaceuticals.

The Swedish government, which has invested around EUR 10 million in the center, is striving to increase collaboration between the public sector, business, and academia to strengthen the country’s competitiveness and innovation capability. Earlier this year, the government opened an office that is fully dedicated to life sciences.

“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,” said Mikael Damberg, Sweden’s Minister for Enterprise and Innovation, in the press release. “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.” 

Swedish biotechnology company BioLamina is the first company to run a project at Testa Center. Biolamina develops and manufactures protein-based reagents (Biolaminins) used to create reliable and robust processes to develop therapeutic cells from stem cells. The company recently entered into a collaboration with the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk to support the development of new cell therapies targeting Parkinson’s disease, heart failure, and loss of vision. BioLamina will use Testa Center to scale-up its production capacity, helping it deliver more reagents to its global customer base.

“With the increasing demand of our high-quality laminins within the cell therapy industry, we need to scale-up our production capacity,” said Kristian Tryggvason, CEO of BioLamina, in the press release. “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,” said Lotta Ljungqvist, CEO of GE in the Nordics and CEO of Testa Center, in the press release. “We can learn from smaller companies with fast and flexible ways of working. 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 center 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 investment coming from the Swedish government through its innovation agency, Vinnova, GE Healthcare has invested around EUR 4.5 million (USD 5.2 million) in the center. The other sponsors are 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 in Swedish).

Testa Center is a national and international testbed open to academia, start-ups, and industry. It is purpose-built for verifying digital, technical, and biological innovations in an authentic production setting. This setting helps organizations achieve a more time- and cost-effective way to reduce the risks of securing industrial proof-of-concept, which is vital for later market introduction and sales, said GE Healthcare in the release. The industrial-standard bioprocessing laboratories up to pilot-scale (non-GMP) are mainly based on single-use technologies from GE Healthcare Life Sciences. The center is owned and operated as a non-profit company by GE Healthcare in Uppsala, which also provides operational support and expertise for project owners. The project owners retain full control of their intellectual property and data.

Source: GE Healthcare

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