Commentary: The Swedish Drug Discovery and Development Pipeline 2020

By: Johan Strömquist

About a month ago SwedenBIO released their much awaited pipeline report, outlining the state of Swedish life science R&D.

The report, that hadn’t been released for four years, fills an important information gap around the development and progress of the Swedish pharmaceutical pipeline – and the development since 2016 is no less than impressive.

Since the last report the Swedish life science scene has grown in almost every aspect – from the number of companies active in clinical research through the number of projects on-going and the amount of capital raised. It is also interesting to note how close to the global trends we are tracking here in Sweden.

Both when it comes to our therapeutic area focus (oncology in the top at 30%) and the importance of orphan drugs for the pipeline (26% of products target rare diseases) we are following the global pipeline trend very closely.

I think the most encouraging indicator of scientific success comes from the increased maturity of the pipeline. We still experience a slight congestion in Phase 2 but the number of products that are now in Phase 3 have increased noticeably – from 17 four years ago to a commendable 24 in the beginning of this year. With readouts from many pivotal trials on the horizon this bodes well for the companies in question, but also for the industry as a whole.

After all we share in each other’s successes in this industry – development success attracts capital, not only for the happy winners, but also for the fledgling startups and the academic spin-outs.

This year’s pipeline report is not just a solid piece of work, whose author’s deserve respect and commendations for its quality, but it’s an indication of our progress as an industry and of what the future may hold for us. Having read it I feel encouraged and humbled by the brilliant minds hard at work in labs, clinics and offices across our tall country, from Lund in the south to Umeå in the north.

If you want to better understand the current state of drug development in Sweden, and maybe even glimpse a part of its future, I recommend you read it too.

You can read the full report here: