Protein research in Sweden dates back to the invention of the ultracentrifuge by The Svedberg, Nobel Laureate 1926. Since then, Sweden has held a world-class position in this field thanks to the long-standing presence of experts versed in the complexity of protein science and close interactions between health care providers and industry. Molecular and protein research is conducted in all major Swedish universities and Swedish innovations within this area are behind many solutions on the world market.

Sweden has for a long time been in the forefront of molecular bioscience and protein science and this position is currently growing stronger thanks to new investments in research infrastructure and bold projects.

The single largest, governmental investment in research infrastructure took place a few years ago when SciLifeLab was created.

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Did you know that the term “protein” was coined by the Swedish scientist Jöns Jacob Berzelius, Karolinska Institutet 1838?


GE Healthcare invests 90 million Euro in doubling protein purification production capacity in their Uppsala-based facility. The facility, 45 minutes north of Stockholm is home to GE Healthcare’s global R&D and manufacturing centre for the chromatography medium used in the purification of biopharmaceuticals. Over 90% of today’s approved biotech drugs globally rely on equipment and media from this state of the art facility. The proven performance of the highly skilled workforce was cited by GE as the key reason to continue investing in Uppsala rather that other locations.


Building on a world-leading position within protein science and biopharmaceutical production, the Swedish government, AstraZeneca and Sweden’s leading, private research funding body, the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation aim at further advancing the field by investing in next generation biologics. The two parallel investments exceed 90 million Euro.

The Swedish government will fund an 8-year research program, aimed at taking a lead in the development and production of biologics. With this program, implemented via Vinnova (Sweden’s innovation agency) and the Swedish Research Council, the Government aims to further enhance the collaboration between academia, industry and public and private funding in this field. Within the newly established Wallenberg Centre for Protein research, AstraZeneca and the three Swedish Universities, Chalmers Technical University, KTH Royal Intitute of Technolgoy and Uppsala University will collaborate. The program will focus on developing new technologies for biologics production and identifying new targets for disease research in the ground-breaking area of the Secretome (research into the function and interactions of all proteins secreted by a cell or exposed to the outside of the cell from within the cell membrane). 


The Human Protein Atlas aims to map all human proteins to their location in the body. The project has to date annotated over 13 million images showing the localisation of our proteins in the human body on a cellular and subcellular level.

All images and data are publicly available at


WCPR is a new research centre established in cooperation between KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Uppsala University, Chalmers Technical University and AstraZeneca. Both the Human Protein Atlas project and the new centre are funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

The centre will focus on protein research and bioproduction and run the following programs:

  • Developing an innovative platform for production of biopharmaceuticals.
  • Providing recombinant proteins for research, drug development and diagnostic applications.
  • Devising new concepts for therapeutic antibody design.
  • Offering knowledge resources for exploring the human proteome.
  • Integrating omics technologies to explore the druggable proteome.


Biomarker discovery research is conducted at several leading Swedish centres, including Lund University, Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg, Umeå University, Uppsala University, SciLifeLab and Karolinska Institutet. This has led to Sweden becoming home to a critical mass of biomarker and molecular diagnostics companies, ranging from start-ups to more established companies with approved products on the market.

The great potential of innovation in protein science is illustrated by the progress that CREATE Health at Lund University has made in biomarker development. The technology is now being verified for early detection of one of the deadliest oncology indications, pancreatic cancer.

CASE “Early diagnosis providing hope”