“The next generation of therapeutics has the potential to not only treat symptoms but also to cure, stop and reverse disease.”
Image of Matti Ahlqvist
Matti Ahlqvist, AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a gold sponsor of this year’s Park Annual event. Matti Ahlqvist, Executive Director for AstraZeneca’s Gothenburg site, shares some thoughts about AstraZeneca’s next generation patient therapies, what he’s looking forward to at Park Annual and why West Sweden is the place to be for world-class life science.

Publish date: 2023-10-30 Text: 
Ella Smith

Why has AstraZeneca chosen to be gold sponsors of Park Annual this year?


The main reason we are gold sponsors of this event is because we think it is important to support life science in our region. This year is perhaps particularly important since we have some new fantastic initiatives like CCRM and OligoNova that deserve exposure in the life science community. Then also, of course, Sahlgrenska Science Park is a close collaboration partner with whom we want to foster good relations. 


What are you looking forward to most at this year's Park Annual event?


I am looking forward to seeing, hearing and getting a feel for all the cool things happening at Sahlgrenska Science Park, as well as catching up with friends and acquaintances and, hopefully, hearing about new things that I didn’t know before. 


The main theme of this year's Park Annual is ‘Next Generation’. How do you interpret this theme?


In two ways: firstly, as in the next generation of people coming into life science with new energy and new ideas. And, secondly, of course, next generation therapeutics. I represent the pharmaceutical industry so speaking about the next generation in our context revolves very much around the next generation of therapeutics that have the potential to not only treat symptoms but also to cure, stop and reverse disease.


What are your thoughts when it comes to developing the next generation of patient therapies?


When it comes to next generation therapies, the kind of impact they can have on people’s lives will be so different from what we are able to do today. They have the potential to treat, stop and cure more serious diseases and we will be able to do that on an individual, personalised level, which means that disease diagnosis  and treatment follow up will be done differently. Inevitably, the whole concept of value beyond the treatment will be much more significant.


In ‘That Human Touch - Health Innovation in West Sweden’ podcast, you highlighted the importance of attracting new talent to AstraZeneca and West Sweden. What makes West Sweden the place to be when it comes to life science? 


The key things that make West Sweden the place to be are: the strong presence of AstraZeneca, with one of the best R&D sites in the world; a robust medtech sector that we should talk about more loudly and more proudly; we also have world-class academic institutions and a hospital that is home to several, globally-renowned centres of excellence.  These things exist in other places, but what is unique here in West Sweden is the collaboration within our life science community and the momentum we currently have in building the cluster. I don’t see that combination so vividly anywhere else in the world.


What is your key message for the participants at this year’s event?


Park Annual is a great opportunity to learn new things and to meet new people. Be open with what you contribute with, listen to ideas from others and network! If you want to have a tangible impact on collaboration, I would also advise you to follow up on the contacts you make at the event.



Do you have a message for the next generation of life scientists on their way up in the industry? 


Be bold, be brave and be ambitious. It’s hard work and requires lots of collaboration, but you can do it and you can change people’s lives!



Read more about AstraZeneca









Thank you to this year's Park Annual Gold Sponsors:

AstraZeneca  I  Setterwalls  I  EKN