BIO-X – Uppsala BIO’s own way of working

We launched the Open Innovation programme BIO-X in 2003, the same year that Uppsala BIO was formed. The aim of BIO-X was to bridge the gap between basic academic research and industrial product development. Through BIO-X, promising projects receive funding and coaching to develop towards a proof-of-concept, i.e. a stage able to attract new investment. The BIO-X method has been constantly reviewed and developed and now forms the basis for Swelife’s Hands-on model in its calls for projects, as well as in our own programmes.

Bridge between academic research and industrial product development

The background to Uppsala BIO starting-up the BIO-X programme in 2003 was the identification of a noticeable gap between basic academic research and industrial product development. The intention was to create a bridging programme that would help researchers better exploit the commercial potential of their work.

Sweden has long enjoyed high-level, internationally-competitive education and basic research, and has also succeeded in turning research findings into a number of cutting-edge products on the world market. However, despite strong basic research, its results are not translated into commercial successes to the extent that we want to see. At the same time, the global life science industry is allocating less money for exploratory research, looking instead for external solutions and collaborations outside of company walls.

Based on healthcare and industry needs

The BIO-X approach, which is entirely based on the needs of healthcare and industry, was new in 2003. The method was developed over several rounds until 2010, when the format still in use today was adopted. BIO-X methodology is based on demand-driven challenges in key life science areas, ranging from pharmaceuticals, medical technology and diagnostics to plant and environmental biotechnology. Within the programme framework, projects receive funding, but perhaps even more importantly, support and contacts as well. Accepted projects are guided through the normally two-year programme by an experienced Advisory Board, which acts as a virtual board, as well as a personal BIO-X coach.

In addition to industry, BIO-X was built on including end-users, usually healthcare, as partners in the projects. The reason for this was the observation that innovative ideas have a much better chance of developing and succeeding in environments where they first receive early exposure to both healthcare and the global life science industry.

As the world changes, BIO-X develops

Since the BIO-X model began to evolve, the outside world has changed and new stakeholders have emerged; the working methods once unique to BIO-X are now employed by more players. Innovation offices with experienced business coaches work closely with early projects, as is the case in BIO-X. Most national life science calls-for-proposals are now based on defined needs in healthcare and, also like BIO-X, require several project partners, such as end-users and / or industry. Furthermore, the BIO-X model is also used nationally within the framework of SWElife and now referred to as ‘Hands-on’.

BIO-X methodology – our tool

  • Nine of ten projects reach proof-of-concept and develop further after completion of the project period.
  • During 2003-2017, fifteen call campaigns have been carried out.
  • Projects that have made an exit have, on average, attracted 7.5-fold the invested funds within two years.

BIO-X portfolio

2015: New diagnostic solutions for disease monitoring
2014: ICT healthcare solutions
2013: New opportunities for existing drugs
2012: Hospital-acquired infections
2011: New diagnostic tools and methods
2011: Green & Industrial biotechnology
2010: New diagnostic tools and methods

Expert network

Over the years, we have worked with many different life science experts, both regionally and nationally. If you have a special need, we can connect you with the right person.