Anna Ridderstad Wollberg
Senior projektledareContact Anna
Sweden is still a strong nation when it comes to development and production of pharmaceuticals. Pharmaceuticals constituted Sweden’s second largest export post 2022, adding up to 7% of the total export, with a value of almost 140 billion SEK. In Sweden, the majority of the drug discovery and development pipeline consisted of “traditional” chemistry based drugs. However, even if these “small molecule drugs” will remain a substantial part of present and new medicines you will find at the pharmacy, the trend is moving towards more and more biological drugs being approved. 2022 50% of all FDA approved new drug entities were biological.
New Therapies could be traditional monoclonal antibodies and other protein-peptide type of drugs, advanced therapies (ATMP), more complex and conjugated modalities, synthetically made molecules such as therapeutic oligonucleotides as well as mRNA vaccines and immune therapies. Several of these new biologicals have already shown their value in treating and sometimes curing disease. Examples include CAR-T cell-gene therapies in treating leukaemia’s, as well as mRNA vaccines during the Covid-19 pandemic. At RISE we have knowledge and capabilities to support different steps in development of these types of drugs, and we are presently running a strategic project to strengthen our offer even further, as we see this as an important area for Sweden’s future competitiveness as well as for the patients benefit.
Also, development processes of chemical drugs need to be updated, mainly for sustainability reasons, but also for cost-effectiveness and resilience (pandemic preparedness and other crises that may occur). Areas to explore include digitalisation and AI/ML, fossil-free carbon sources, a non-toxic environment as well as supply chains. Changes in processes cost money and often small companies do to prioritise this, unless the legislation demands it. However, at RISE we have a broad expertise in for example digitalisation, environmental toxicology, green chemistry, and life cycle analysis, being applied on other areas, but is as relevant for pharmaceutical development. Taking the step towards sustainable and circular development of chemical drugs would certainly be an advantage, both for the business and the planet.