Small and medium-sized life science companies operating in the Västerbotten county in Sweden will double in numbers over the next ten years, while a vibrant scientific community will add to the growth. These are the goals set by Umeå Biotech Incubator (UBI), which is now entering a new development phase of its incubator operation in Umeå.
“We have finally reached the incubator phase that I have been looking forward to for so long”, said Jennie Ekbeck, CEO of Umeå Biotech Incubator, who has an extensive background in biomedicine and as an entrepreneur.
For years Ekbeck has had ambitious plans to build the sort of business incubator she herself would have wanted to exist when she first started out. Together with her team she has systematically developed and grown UBI, which is now recognised as one of Europe’s leading life science incubators.
“The life science companies that we have worked with now attract the kind of funding needed to power growth and our ambition is to help them achieve their development goals”, said Ekbeck.
Success raising capital
It was recently announced that Umeå-based biotech company Lipum has secured SEK 25 million in new investment to continue its development of a new treatment for chronic inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. Lipum is the latest in a line of UBI companies that have successfully attracted funding – thanks in part to UBI’s focus on securing investment in recent years.
More biotech jobs
Over the next few years UBI will develop an incubator process that contributes to the growth of the region’s life science companies and helps create more jobs. This work will be carried out within the framework of a three-year regional funding project entitled ‘Life Science Engine’.
“In addition to developing our business support service the project will create opportunities for people to come together and exchange knowledge, experiences and resources. Together we are stronger and because the companies in the region can share staff and equipment their growth will be more sustainable,” said Ekbeck.
Today UBI is working closely with a women’s network and regular regular “house meetings” at the business incubator, where companies can present their activities to one another. Over the next few years UBI will develop even more intimate event formats where established companies and startups can meet each other as well as academics and representatives from the County Council. The focus will be on the kind of themes and content that are being sought after by the industry.
“In ten years from now the region will have several major life science companies and a myriad of smaller companies emerging with great growth potential,” said Ekbeck.
Hans Adolfsson, Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University, believes strongly in UBI.
“I’m look forward to more great results from UBI in the years to come. With the help of creative ideas from the university and robust business support, real social benefits can be created” he said.
Life science is a term used for the interdisciplinary focus on the development of practical applications, primarily within biomedicine: an area Umeå University has long distinguished itself in. Since 2004 UBI has supported life science companies in developing their businesses.