Karolinska Development: Pharmaceutical innovation from a Swedish point-of-view. Tornbjörn Bjerke
A strict screening and selection method, grass-roots contact with the best Nordic universities, clear-cut and concrete goals for market launching. And a pay-off that leaves no room for doubt: “Profit from Innovation”.
These are the elements that make Stockholm-based Karolinska Development a global ecosystem model for innovation.
At the Technology Forum of The European House–Ambrosetti, Friday and Saturday, May 24-25 at CastelBrando (Cison di Valmarino – TV), the Chief Executive Officer of Karolinska Development, Tornbjörn Bjerke, will present this paragon of pharmaceutical innovation. Bjerke, who has been CEO at Karolinska since 2011, has more than twenty years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and has been President and CEO of Orexo, President and CEO of Biolipox and Pharmacology Director at AstraZeneca.
But Karolinska is a world apart. Quoted on NASDAQ OMX, it aims at creating value for patients, researchers and investors by transforming top-class scientific innovation into successful products. Its current portfolio includes 36 projects, of which 16 are in the clinical development phase and 10 in phase II, as well as 25 companies, in 21 of which Karolinska plays an active ownership role.
Pharmaceuticals is a high-risk sector. Therefore, those who wish to be successful must guarantee themselves a constant flow of new projects. This is the reason for its collaborative agreements with the most prestigious universities in northern Europe, as well as its exclusive agreement with the Karolinska Institutet Innovations AB. A formula that, to-date, has provided Tornbjörn Bjerke and his staff over 1300 projects to evaluate, of which only five at most are invested in each year.
Among the basic requirements to make it past the initial screening are: meet a significant medical need and have international market potential; be based on a unique technology from prominent research and show potential to guarantee solid intellectual property.
At this point, Karolinska Development becomes involved, financing a validation period and then entering as a full-scale investor.