Meet Anders Persson, SwedenBIO’s new Chairman of the Board

After one term as an ordinary board member, Anders Persson took over the chairmanship of SwedenBIO in May this year. We asked Anders a few questions about SwedenBIO and the development of the industry.

You have announced that you want to focus on giving SwedenBIO an even stronger voice on life science issues. How do you want your organization to reach that goal?

– Our greatest strength is our members, and all the knowledge and experience they have. We will use that brain trust and, based on that confidence, dare to take a more leading role in the debate. It’s about pushing and discussing issues with decision-makers at different levels, but also telling the public about how important life science is for Sweden and what all our companies contribute in terms of innovation and health, even in a global context.

You have over 25 years in the industry, how do you see Swedish life science development during this period?

– The short answer is: excellent but with great untapped potential for further development. Scientific and technological progress has been enormous, and is accelerating every year. When I started doing this in the 90s, many medicines were mainly about symptom control and trying to slow down the progression of disease, and now with the next generation of medicines coming along, it’s increasingly about actually curing diseases. We are currently in the midst of a scientific revolution, with precision medicine, cell and gene therapy and many other things that will change the way we treat diseases. Technology developments are also leading to the convergence of different sectors such as sensors and AI applications in health.

What is the single most important thing policy can do today to strengthen Swedish life science?

– Given the rapid developments in our sector, it is extremely important that policy makers are nimble, that they are prepared to take decisions to enable scientific advances to benefit patients, and that they do not drag things out. The research program in the autumn is important, where life science needs to be given a lot of space. Then, of course, the big, overarching issue is competitiveness. Policymakers must do everything in their power to strengthen Sweden’s and the EU’s competitiveness, otherwise there is a risk that cutting-edge research and development will take place elsewhere in the world.

And what is the single most important thing industry stakeholders can do?

– You get three answers: Collaborate, collaborate and collaborate. Industry players must dare to cooperate across borders, with other companies, with academia and with healthcare, preferably across disciplines and in areas they are not used to. I want to encourage people to be curious and inspired by innovation and progress in other sectors. Then we all need to do a better job of telling people about all the great things the life sciences industry is doing, and how the research and development that is taking place is helping to improve the health of millions of patients around the world.

Finally, what do you like to do on a day off?

– I like to be outdoors, skiing in winter, taking bike rides as often as possible in summer and picking mushrooms in the forest in fall. When I’m inside, besides reading a good book, I like to cook good food for my loved ones.

Here is SwedenBIO’s new board.