2017 Uppsala University Innovation Prize winner collaborates to improve
Hello there, Hans Lennernäs, Professor of Biopharmaceutics and winner of this year’s Uppsala University Innovation Prize, Hjärnäpplet, for successful knowledge transfer. You have worked with pharmaceutical development for 30 years. What are the highlights of your career?
“I’ve had a long international partnership with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop new regulatory guidelines for bioequivalence (a biopharmaceutical classification system). The work lasted for over a decade. I’ve also initiated and participated in multidisciplinary collaborative projects in pharmaceutical development that have led to several different products, for example to combat endocrine diseases such as Addison’s disease, and cancers such as prostate and liver cancer.”
As a researcher, how did you start working with putting research findings to use?
“I have a theoretical and more mechanistic understanding of the transport and effects of pharmaceuticals in the body. Together with others, I can package that in pharmaceutical formulations that are tested in patients, which leads to more targeted disease treatment with improved outcomes and fewer side effects. That has been a strong driving force. My focus has been on pharmaceuticals that combat cancer, endocrine diseases and pain. I now also work with obesity and type 2 diabetes. It is an integrative, multidisciplinary partnership with pharmaceutical companies and different types of financiers.”
What are your best tips for success with collaborative and innovation projects?
“Success with business and research requires a good partnership. That may sound like a cliché, but just like in sports, it’s important to play for a good team and work with people who want to get ahead and improve. It’s not that you need ‘yes’ people, but rather, people who are prepared to work hard together. There are no magic solutions; it’s all about hard work, good collaboration, competence and sharing a goal.”
What do you have underway right now?
“I’m working on two development projects. One is about improved treatment of liver cancer and the other is about pharmaceuticals to treat obesity and type II diabetes. Both projects are run in the Uppsala-Stockholm region, in collaborations with around ten people with various expertise.”
Hjärnäpplet, the Uppsala University Innovation Prize, is presented annually for outstanding transfer of knowledge from academia to a company or another external organisation and has resulted in innovation. The decision is taken by the vice-chancellor after assembling an award committee comprising internal and external representatives. The award is presented at the Inauguration of Professors in November.