Antibodies attacking flu virus.

50 years of excellence – it all started with a collaboration between academia and industry!

In 1966, a Japanese team in USA published their findings on a previously undescribed immunoglobulin named IgE, and almost simultaneously a team here in Uppsala comprising Hans Bennich, Gunnar Johansson, and Leif Wide, did the same. The great potential presented by this discovery found an industrial partner in Pharmacia through a particle patented by this company; Sephadex. Using this particle, Leif Wide developed a method to diagnose allergy called RAST (RadioAllergoSorbent Test), and In November 1967, exactly 50 years ago, the description of IgE measurement for clinical use was published for the first time (Wide L, Bennich H & Johansson SGO, Lancet ii, 1105, 1967). The rest is, as they say, history. Pharmacia has since then partnered and separated from Upjohn, been bought by Pfizer, subdivided into Pharmacia Diagnostics, changed their name to Phadia and finally been bought by Thermo Fisher in 2011 which is the current state of affairs. Phadia, under Thermo Fisher, has been world leading in the field of allergy diagnostics for almost 40 years now. The RAST-method has been improved upon and updated during that time, currently the available methods share the name “ImmunoCAP” and hold one of the largest global market shares.

Clinical need for more personalized diagnostics is a growing issue as well as the rising prevalence of allergies and asthma. In the UK, as an example, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is set to include biomarker FeNO (fraction of exhaled nitric oxide, marker of local inflammation and predictor of clinical response to inhaled corticosteroids) in the upcoming guidelines on Asthma Diagnosis and Monitoring to push for a development towards more effective treatment based on individual needs. This is something we should not wait to follow in Sweden, personalized diagnosis and care will reduce the suffering of patients and societal cost from long-term effects such as pulmonary obstructive disorder. Professor Kjell Alving of Uppsala University, expert and entrepreneur in the field, suggests further steps to improve outcomes for asthma patients;

“The step taken in the upcoming NICE guidelines to include biomarker measurements in patients with suspected asthma is a global first and to be commended”

Read more from Kjell in Lancet Respiratory Medicine!

A key to the success of the RAST appears to have been the close association between academia and industry and how quickly an academic discovery was translated into industrial success. Uppsala’s life science cluster is still known for being close-knit and communicative but there is perhaps less collaboration between the separate backbones of the triple-helix today. This is where the innovation system comes in; to strive towards bringing everyone together, enable communication and collaborations. At Uppsala BIO we are addressing this particular issue by celebrating the 50-year anniversary of the RAST together with UU Innovation and Professor Kjell Alving; on the 22nd of November we will gather experts of industry and academia in an AIM-day to discuss the future of asthma and allergy diagnosis followed by an evening at Thermo Fisher in Uppsala Business Park.

Lovisa Case_portrait

Lovisa Case, Phd, Project manager, Uppsala BIO

- 2019-06-25

Scaling Up the Value: BioLamina

Uppsala BIO has an important role to connect and contribute to the overall growth of Life Sciences, nationally and internationally, both for academic institutions and companies.
Since the beginning of Testa Center, Uppsala BIOs team has as an external project coordinator role and has developed the application and selection process based on the BIO-X methodology.


Helena Ströberg, Uppsala BIO - 2019-06-19

Breaking down the numbers 2017-2018

The overall goal of Uppsala BIO is to contribute to Upsala's vision of 70,000 new jobs in 2050. Of these, at least 3500 jobs will be created in the life science sector.


Kristin Hellman, Uppsala BIO - 2018-08-22

Uppsala BIO helps Testa Center off to a flying start

Process based on successful BIO-X methodology.


Kristian Sandberg, Director of DDD, SciLifeLab in Uppsala - 2018-08-21

How to bridge the ‘Valley of Death’

The SciLifeLab Drug Discovery Model.


Erik Forsberg, Uppsala BIO - 2018-06-15

“You can make a holding company profitable, but it takes a bit of luck.”

This autumn, Lars Jonsson, CEO of UU Holding since 1998, retires and hands over a very successful investment business to his successor. “UU Holding is nothing short of a success story,” writes Uppsala BIO’s Erik Forsberg. Lars Jonsson has proven that it is possible to make a holding company profitable.


Magnus Engevik, Uppsala BIO - 2018-05-21

Uppsala’s innovation support system works! Award-winning Kontigo Care is the latest proof.

“With its high costs and huge suffering for those affected as well as their relatives, alcohol abuse is one of our major social problems. Kontigo Care’s work on digital biomarkers is one of the most exciting things I’ve witnessed during my career,” writes Uppsala BIO Buiness Developer Magnus Engevik.


Margaretha Gadnell, Uppsala BIO - 2018-04-25

Spotlight Uppsala’s unique resource!

Uppsala’s life science industry is healthy and developing well. More than 100 life science companies can be found here and in 2016 they employed about 5000 people and had a combined turnover of approximately SEK 27 billion.


Christina Wass, Project leader, Innovation Akademiska - 2017-12-13

“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…”

During 52 hours, staff from the Academic Hospital, AbbVie, Bristol Myers-Squibb and Microsoft worked together to develop and test new ideas and models for early diagnosis and better treatment of cancer. Now the experiences of Sweden's first “Innovation Race” can be summed up.


Lovisa Case - 2017-11-07

50 years of excellence – it all started with a collaboration between academia and industry!

2017 marks the 50 year anniversary of the RAST-method. Learn about the history and see how Uppsala BIO and UU Innovation are addressing future challenges in asthma and allergy diagnostics.


Johan Gómez de la Torre - 2017-10-25

Sweden needs new regulations and ways for collaboration to stay ahead in healthcare and the life sciences

Challenges and opportunities for countries wanting to take a leading role in life sciences, with focus on the future role of Sweden, was the topic of a seminar in May 2017. In our blog Johan Gómez de la Torre, Business Development Manager, Stockholm Science City digest the report.


Anna Ridderstad Wollberg - 2017-10-16

Call for proposals: A pull to transform inventions into innovations

How do we pull out the good ideas that may become new innovative products or treatments for the benefit of patients? Calls for project proposals may be the pull that is needed.


Madeleine Neil, Uppsala Health Summit - 2017-10-08

Uppsala Health Summit 2017: Time for the world to meet on Infectious Disease Threats  

10 – 11 October Uppsala Health Summit gathered 200 decision makers and experts from 30 different countries in a discussion about global threats from zoonotic infectious diseases. 


Karin Meyer, CEO, Swedish Pharmaceutical Society - 2017-10-02

EMA needs Sweden’s strong scientific environment

Karin Meyer, CEO, Swedish Pharmaceutical Society about what Sweden can offer the EMA and EU.


Margaretha Gadnell, Uppsala BIO - 2017-09-26

Check out EIT Health and its Uppsala activities

The purpose of EIT Health is to accelerate entrepreneurship and innovation for healthy living and active ageing in Europe.


Margareta Gadnell, Uppsala BIO - 2017-09-18

Fast-growing companies in Uppsala’s life science cluster

Between 2014 and 2015, the number of employees in this category increased by 11%. If we include 2013 as well, the increase is almost 20%.


Erik Forsberg, Uppsala BIO - 2017-08-28

Financial support and further action!

Our long-term goal is, as always, to contribute to growth by driving actions that complement those of the private and public sectors.


Annakarin Svenningsson, Uppsala BIO - 2017-08-15

Tough competition prior to relocation of EMA after Brexit

Among the arguments stressed in the Swedish application to convince other member states that Sweden and Stockholm is best suited to host the EMA, is the Swedish Medical Products Agency (MPA) in Uppsala.


- 2021-12-02


A visionary who wants to make a difference

Life Science is entering a new and exciting time, sometimes called the fourth industrial revolution. To meet these opportunities, the STUNS foundation has recruited Björn Arvidsson to fulfill the role of the new Managing director of the foundation's life science branch Uppsala BIO. Björn’s most recent engagement has been at the Swiss pharmaceutical and diagnostics giant Roche.