A good collaboration between the University, scientific community and business world is crucial for development and innovation. The partnership of Alvotech and the University of Iceland, has contributed to the escalation of knowledge building in Iceland in the area of biotechnology, opening opportunities for more biotechnology companies to operate in the country.
This was one of the conclusions made at a symposium hosted Thursday 9 September 2021, by Alvotech and the University of Iceland, in collaboration with Aztiq, the Swedish/Icelandic Chamber of Commerce and the Science Park of the University of Iceland.
The symposium is the first in a series of conferences on the Future of Innovation and how the scientific and business communities can create value together. Several domestic and foreign experts spoke at the symposium, with an emphasis on innovation in the field of biotechnology and collaboration experiences between the academic and the business community in this field.
Jon Atli Benediktsson, rector of the University of Iceland, said that the University's Science Park has an important role to play in this regard and highlighted how the partnership between the university and Alvotech has already yielded vast expertise contribution to the community, adding that further collaboration will further strengthen development in the field of biotechnology.
Thordis Kolbrún Reykfjord Gylfadottir, Minister of Industry and Innovation, discussed Iceland’s infrastructure for innovation. She said that export revenues generated by the knowledge industry have more than doubled since 2013, making innovation one of the pillars of the Icelandic economy.
Alvotech’s founder and chairman, Róbert Wessman, discussed Alvotech’s foundation, strategy and vision. He outlined the benefits of being positioned in the University’s Science Park and the importance of the collaboration with the University, but 56% of the company’s employees have a Master’s or a PhD degree. He conveyed his confidence that Alvotech would be one of the cornerstones of Iceland’s GDP and exports in the future.
Kari Stefansson, CEO of deCODE Genetics, praised Róbert Wessman for turning his vision into a reality and acknowledged Alvotech’s importance for the Icelandic society. He reminded us that in the 25 years since its establishment, DeCODE Genetics has returned enormous expertise and knowledge to the community in Iceland and around the world.
Lars Lannfelt, a professor at Uppsala University who has been researching Alzheimer's for about 20 years, gave a very interesting insight into the process and challenges of developing a new biotech drug for the disease.
Other speakers that gave very interesting and insightful presentations were Matthias Uhlén, PhD. Professor at KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Karolinska Institutet, Eugen Steiner / MD, Ph.D., Investor and life-sciences veteran, Lars Molinder / Senior Adviser at Carnegie Investment Bank, Stockholm, Investment banking veteran, responsible for the public listing of a large number of biotech companies in Scandinavia and board member of Alvogen, Sesselja Ph.D., Head of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Alvotech and Professor at the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences of University of Iceland, who was also a panellist along with Inga Thorisdottir, Ph.D., Dean of School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland and Sigridur Valgeirsdottir Ph.D., Senior Advisor on innovation, and former member of Roche Diagnostics Operations Leadership Team.
A recording of the conference is accessible here.