A continued search for a diverse Scientific Advisory Board

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“It is unique to have these kinds of capacities in a Scientific Advisory Board. The network and outreach they have are crucial for the expansion of our international network and with their experience, we will establish the leading and preferred life science incubator in Europe.” Jens Nielsen, CEO.

Since the beginning of 2019, CEO Jens Nielsen and BII’s Board of Directors have taken the first steps to establish a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) for BioInnovation Institute. In November 2019, Dr. Robert Langer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology was announced as the first member and chair of the SAB. He is one of the most accomplished engineers in history, and he has spent most of his career in the field of biotech. His articles have been cited over 325,000 times, and his h-index of 280 is the highest of any engineer in history.

“I accepted the chair position because of my strong belief in the research and mission of the BioInnovation Institute and because of my great respect for Jens Nielsen, who is a great scientist and person,” says Robert Langer.

Scouting for top-level projects

With him as lead, the SAB will advise on BII’s strategy and ideas as well as scout for top- level projects that could benefit from joining BII’s program. Robert Langer has been joined by MIT-professor and CRISPR pioneer Dr. Feng Zhang, professor Sang Yup Lee from Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology, and Dr. Mathias Uhlén, professor of Microbiology at Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm and founder of SciLifeLab in both Stockholm and Uppsala. Together, the four represent the first half of the members of the SAB.

Continued search for a diverse board

Besides an ongoing dialogue with BII’s team, the SAB members will visit BioInnovation Institute once a year. Feng Zhang visited BII for the first time in March 2019, and he believes the rapid acceleration of life science research is leading to a transformation in the development of new therapies and biotechnologies.

“Incubators and communities aimed at supporting biotechnology entrepreneurship will play a critical role in fostering a new generation of leaders, enterprises, and products that will profoundly improve people’s lives around the world and help overcome global challenges including infectious diseases and global warming,” he says.

Throughout 2021, Jens Nielsen and the BII Board of Directors will search for additional scientific profiles with entrepreneurial experience to present a full SAB with diverse profiles from the most prestigious institutions around the globe.

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“I hope that my experience from 25 start-ups and board positions in large international companies, such as Pharmacia and Novozymes, will be helpful for the development of BII.” Mathias Uhlén, Scientific Advisory Board Member

Dr. Mathias Uhlén, Board Member

Mathias Uhlén leads a research group at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Biotechnology. He is a part-time professor at the Technical University of Denmark and a guest professor at Karolinska Institutet. His research has led to more than 650 publications, and 25 start-ups have come out of his group at KTH – four of which have IPO’ed – two in Sweden, one in Norway and one in Korea. In 2010, he founded the national center for molecular bioscience, SciLifeLab, in both Stockholm and Uppsala which bring more than 1000 scientists together.

Dr. Robert Langer, Chair

Dr. Robert Langer is one of 12 Institute Professors at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a widely recognized researcher in biotechnology, especially in the fields of drug delivery systems and tissue engineering. He has been cited more than 325,000 times and his h-index of 280 is the highest of any engineer in history. He has more than 1,360 issued and pending patents worldwide which have been licensed or sublicensed to over 400 companies.

Dr. Feng Zhang, Board Member

Feng Zhang is one of the pioneers in the development of CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing and a leader in the field of optogenetics. He has a BA from Harvard and a Ph.D. degree from Stanford. He holds the James and Patricia Poitras Professorship of Neuroscience at the McGovern Institute for Brain Research and professorship in the departments of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Biological Engineering at MIT. In 2018, Feng Zhang was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Sang Yup Lee, Board Member

Sang Yup Lee is a biochemical engineer and well known for the development of microbial strains and bioprocess for the fermentative production of many chemicals including polylactic acid, succinic acid and gasoline. He is Distinguished Professor at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and is Co-Chair of Global Future Council on Biotechnology at the World Economic Forum. Lee has ties to Denmark through his position as Scientific Director at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability.