Uppsala BIO Signs First European Open Innovation Agreement With Roche for its Program BIO-X

By Uppsala Bio, PRNE
Wednesday, September 14, 2011

UPPSALA, Sweden, September 15, 2011 -

Swedish life science initiative Uppsala BIO has formed a strategic partnering  agreement with Roche, the world leading pharmaceuticals and diagnostics company, for Uppsala BIO’s open innovation program, BIO-X.

The cooperation agreement links Uppsala BIO and BIO-X to Roche’s global innovation network on at least a three-year term, and will offer projects selected in the BIO-X program access to Roche’s expertise in early stage life science product development.

The agreement between Uppsala BIO and Roche is the result of Roche’s search for a European partner to its open innovation program EIN, Expanding the Innovation Network, and is the first of its kind in Europe.

The BIO-X program identifies and supports ideas in the research community that can satisfy unmet medical needs or solve problems in healthcare, drug development, and diagnostics. “We are very proud to be the first European partner to sign with Roche´s global program for open innovation Expanding the Innovation Network. Having Roche as a strategic partner opens up great possibilities to our early projects within the BIO-X program,” said Associate Professor Erik Forsberg, Managing Director for Uppsala BIO.

“The agreement with Roche, which has a long experience in working with early life science projects, is a fantastic opportunity and will give us strategic input on industrial and customer needs and add significant value and competitive edge to the region’s, as well as  Sweden’s life sciences sector,” Eric Forsberg added.

Each BIO-X project selectedby Rochefor collaboration will have a specially assigned contact within Roche, assuring that the projects get access to expertise and other internal resources that can advance the project towards its goal as efficiently as possible. Roche will also co-finance selected projects. In return, Roche will get a right-of-first negotiation.

Roche has a long experience in open innovation. Since 1999, the company has been running a global innovation program based on umbrella agreements with key partners. The agreement concluded between Roche and Uppsala BIO is the result of a long process during which Roche has looked for possible partners in Europe for this program, followed by a thorough evaluation of Uppsala BIO and its BIO-X program. Roche’s program so far has eight partners, reaching almost thirty universities globally with Uppsala BIO being the first open innovation partner in Europe.

“Roche’s program for working with early projects is one of the most promising we have seen in the life science industry, and we are happy that we can offer a cooperation possibility to our early projects that we believe will be highly beneficial for all parties involved, and not least for the possible improvements it can bring to healthcare,” said Associate Professor Lars Hagel, Chairman for Uppsala BIO and Director for external R&D collaborations at GE Healthcare Life Sciences.  

“I strongly believe that bringing in Roche, and its global resources with some of the most experienced life science developers, will be beneficial for the healthcare solutions we can offer our patients, here in Sweden and globally,” said Professor Sune Larsson, Director for Research and Development at Uppsala University Hospital.

About Uppsala BIO

Uppsala BIO is an independent and not-for-profit actor working to stimulate growth in the life science sector, by bringing together universities, companies, healthcare, and society in activities and common efforts that advance the sector’s international competitiveness. Uppsala BIO is part of the VINNVÄXT programme, a major VINNOVA, Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems, initiative to promote sustainable growth by developing internationally competitive research and innovation environments in specific growth fields. For further information, please visit: www.uppsalabio.se.

About BIO-X

The BIO-X program is Uppsala BIO´s core process to bridge the gap between academic results and proof-of-concept, the goal for each projected selected for support in the BIO-X program.

It invites academic researchers from central Sweden, including universities such as Uppsala University, Karolinska Institutet and the Swedish University for Agricultural Sciences, to present their ideas for solutions to needs specified by healthcare and industry in a call. Project proposals are evaluated along criteria such as customer needs and commercialization potential, and selected projects are supported during up to two years with finance and a tailor-made support process.

The restructuring of the life science industry, with shrinking resources for early projects, has created a need for structured approaches that can mature academic research into proof-of-concept, i.e. making it ready for further development in the life science industry. BIO-X fills this gap. For further information, please visit: www.uppsalabio.se/bio-x.

About Roche

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world’s largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2010, Roche had over 80′000 employees worldwide and invested over 9 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 47.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For further information, please visit: www.roche.com.

About open innovation

Open innovation is a term promoted by Henry Chesbrough a professor and executive director at the Center for Open Innovation at the University of California, Berkeley.

According to professor Chesbrough open innovation is a paradigm that assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, as the firms look to advance their technology.

The central idea behind open innovation is that in a world of widely distributed knowledge, companies cannot afford to rely entirely on their own research, but should instead buy or license processes or inventions (i.e. patents) from other companies.


High resolution photos are available for download here:

Associate Professor Erik Forsberg, Managing Director, Uppsala BIO


Associate Professor Lars Hagel, Chairman, Uppsala BIO and Dir External R&D collaborations, GE Healthcare Life Scienceswww.uppsalabio.se/Image.ashx?id=2091&gallery=2013&res=high

Professor Sune Larsson, Director R&D, Uppsala University Hospital


Contact for further information

Associate Professor Erik Forsberg, Managing Director, Uppsala BIO, Tel +46-70-350-41-43, erik.forsberg@uppsalabio.se

Madeleine Neil, Dir. of Communications, Uppsala BIO, Tel +46-768-29-77-77, madeleine.neil@uppsalabio.se

M: Communications: Mary Clark/Claire Dickinson, Tel: +44(0)20-7920-2361


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