Top 10 under 40: Pharmaceutical researchers on global top list

4 June 2018

Evelina Vågesjö is a researcher at the Department of Medical Cell Biology and one of the founders of the Ilya Pharma company.

Uppsala researcher and entrepreneur Evelina Vågesjö was cited by the journal Genetic Engineering News (GEN), as a future leader within the rapidly emerging field of biopharmaceuticals.

When GEN listed the 10 most promising individuals under age 40 in biopharma research and business this year, “Top 10 under 40”, Uppsala researcher and entrepreneur Evelina Vågesjö was included in the list.

Vågesjö is a researcher at the Department of Medical Cell Biology and one of the founders of Uppsala company Ilya Pharma. The company develops next-generation biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of ulcers of the skin and mucosa. It was founded in 2016, based on a research discovery about a new mechanism in healing made by Mia Phillipson, Professor of Physiology at Uppsala University; Stefan Roos, a researcher in microbiology at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences; and Vågesjö. Large and chronic ulcers are one of the world’s greatest challenges and can also involve great suffering for the patients. With Ilya Pharma’s new technology, it is hoped that the healing process can be accelerated by 80 per cent and that the use of antibiotics can significantly decrease. EIT Health, the European consortium commissioned by the European Union to tackle health care challenges, chose early to support the development of Ilya Pharma through financial backing and access to a unique European network. In November last year, the company was awarded 2.99 million euros (about SEK 30 million) by the European Commission in fierce international competition. The funding – which was awarded by Horizon 2020, the EU’s largest research and innovation programme up to now – assures Ilya Pharma of financing to gather clinical data with its new pharmaceutical candidate.

All the individuals on the list that GEN presented are singled out for their contributions in the field and have either a background in research or are engaged in business or a combination of both. In addition to Vågesjö, there is another Swede on the list. An equal number of men and women are on this year’s “Top 10 under 40” list.

“To be included on this top 10 list is awesome and a great honour at the same time. The goal of converting a fantastic research discovery into an innovative technology and onward to a new type of medicine is achieved thanks to a talented team and network, and we have set our sights on the future,” says a delighted Evelina Vågesjö.

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