“What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…”

As I am walking through a sadly snow free, but beautifully lit up Uppsala crowded with stressed-out Christmas shoppers, I am reminded of how I spent the week before Christmas last year.

To think that it has been almost a year since quite a few us from Uppsala University Hospital – colleagues from Innovation Akademiska and clinical experts – locked ourselves up together with several companies researching and treating cancer, for 52 hours in an Innovation Race to explore how together we could address some of the challenges in cancer care. 52 hours of intense work, adrenalin and sweat. Afterwards we felt as if we had completed an important mission. There, at hotel Gillet, I think we were all just so proud of what was achieved in those three days of hard work and little sleep.  What would need to happen during the following 52 weeks for us to take these bright ideas and make them the patient’s reality seemed rather distant.


But how do we make what happened in hotel Gillet not stay in the hotel, but rather be brought across Fyrisån to our hospital to be the reality for our future patients?  How do we go from that feeling of euphoria at the end of the Innovation Race and turn it into determination and hard work with project plans, budgets and clearly defined specifications? All the factors that normally are key to developing something new with lasting benefits, whether it is new products, services or ways of working. After all the creative thinking, how could we make something meaningful for the patient? 

In the day to day business of doctors and nurses there is however little room to focus on new sophisticated technology solutions when faced with patients that may just have had life changing news delivered. Priorities are obvious. Efforts that will bear fruit tomorrow, or even next year, must of course be set aside in favor of the help that can be provided here and now, in terms of medical therapy but also things like just listening or holding a hand…

How to make room in healthcare for development of new procedures and products is perhaps a question bigger than what any innovation race can address, and requires a lot of consideration from decision makers and stakeholders. What Innovation Akademiska can do here and now is to show results of the magic that can happen when we join together and focus on generating ideas and solutions together with brilliant people from other disciplines, other worlds.

Our target is to launch three of the ten project concepts set up at the race. Early in 2018, when the 52 weeks since the race have passed, there will be new tools to facilitate the process of deciding on the treatment for patients. We will have tried new ways of involving the patient in the development of healthcare. We will also launch dedicated information to patients based on their specific condition and chosen treatment. It is not rocket science, but a small step aimed at accelerating the collaboration with the life sciences’ industry that is one of Uppsala University Hospital’s key missions.

So, what about the Innovation Race? Will we do something similar again?

Yes, we probably will. But this time we will make sure resources are in place not only for the race itself but also for the implementation to follow. For those willing to commit to the whole process of developing bright ideas into solutions available to patients, this will be a fantastic opportunity. A chance to design the healthcare solutions of tomorrow in collaboration with colleagues, patients and the life sciences’ industry. This will make the journey from “Vegas” back to the hospital smoother. Then hopefully even more of the bright ideas and solutions from the hospital’s employees and our collaboration partners can be implemented in healthcare and bring value to patients.

Christina Wass
Christina Wass
Project leader, Innovation Akademiska

Innovation Race® was developed by Innovation Plant AB. Innovation Plant acted as facilitators of the 2016 Innovation Race on healthcare in Uppsala.

- 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.