Attractive Innovation Project Award

Rewarded for significant efforts and progress on the path from idea to innovation

The Attractive Innovation Project award goes to innovative projects and startup companies that have successfully attracted external funds that further strengthen development opportunities. The funding can come from public or private funders, from customers or collaborative partners, and can be in the form of grants, investments or sales revenue. In addition, another common factor among the projects is that they have been started by researchers and students at Uppsala University, and have received early-stage support from UU Innovation on their journey from idea to innovation.

The award was launched by UU Innovation in 2017. From initially being awarded at an annual event, the award is now awarded on an ongoing basis to those innovation projects that succeed in securing external funding. Award-winning projects receive a diploma.

2022 Award Winners

So far this year, two projects have received the Attractive Innovation Project award:

Tools for combined diagnostics and gene therapy of brain tumours
Fredrik Swartling, Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology.

Fredrik Swartling (in centre) and his research team. 

Building on promising results from a previous ERC Starting Grant project, Fredrik Swartling and his team are developing new tools to identify cells that have become resistant to standard treatments, usually radiation and chemotherapy, for malignant brain tumours. The aim is to use the tools to screen cells taken from biopsies during brain tumour surgery to better identify and treat patients at risk of serious recurrence. The project has received an ERC Proof of Concept grant to strengthen the conditions for future commercialisation.

CoLD Therapeutics
Jens Carlsson, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Helena Danielson, Department of Chemistry (BMC), Anja Sandström and Lindon Moodie, Department of Medicinal Chemistry.

Helena Danielson, Jens Carlsson and Anja Sandström.

The multidisciplinary research team has developed a group of novel molecules that have a very good ability to block coronavirus from replicating. The research has been carried out in collaboration with the pharmaceutical platform at the Science for Life Laboratory. The hope is that the discovery will form the basis of a future antiviral drug against coronavirus that can complement vaccines and contribute to treatment options against new virus variants. The road to a new drug is long, and the first step is to further develop the molecules to ensure that they have the essential properties required. UU Invest’s project company has invested in the project and is assisting the research team in investigating the interest of pharmaceutical companies to work further and develop the drug.

2021 Award Winners

In 2021, four innovative projects and startups received the Attractive Innovation Project award:

HaLaCore Pharma
Mats Larhed, Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Mathias Hallberg, Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences.

Mats Larhed and Mathias Hallberg.

The researchers have developed a series of new chemical compounds intended for further development into future drugs for the treatment of lung diseases such as fibrosis. The project has been conducted in collaboration between the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and the Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, and with the support of the SciLifeLab drug discovery and development platform. The researchers have applied to patent the substances and formed a company called HalaCore Pharma, which has sold the rights to a listed pharmaceutical company that will take over responsibility for development.

Rarity Bioscience
Lei Chen and Ulf Landegren, Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology.

Ulf Landegren and Lei Chen.

Rarity Bioscience is a precision diagnostics company aiming to commercialise a robust new technique for detecting small amounts of DNA mutations, particularly in blood samples. The technique has a very high sensitivity and could provide healthcare professionals with a whole new way of monitoring cancer patients to detect and prevent recurrence at an early stage. Rarity Bioscience is a spin-off from Professor Landegren’s research group, which is conducting world-leading research in the field of molecular tools. Uppsala University Invest AB has invested in the company.

Learn more about Rarity Bioscience on the company's website

Mod4Sim Pharma
Hugo Gutierrez de Teran and Willem Jespers, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology.

Hugo Gutierrez de Teran.

The researchers have developed new computational chemistry methods with the potential to have a major impact in structure-based drug design. The methods enable the rapid and highly accurate prediction of how and how strongly particular drug molecules bind to key receptors. Using computer calculations to reduce the number of compounds that need to be tested or synthesised in order to identify the most promising drug candidate among millions of potential compounds is of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry. The researchers have received funding in national competition from Vinnova’s VFT+ programme to further develop the methods commercially, which is now being done in the company Mod4Sim Pharma that the researchers founded.

Learn more about Mod4Sim Pharma on the company's website

Inger Gustavsson and Ulf Gyllensten, Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology.

Inger Gustavsson.

The research team has been working for many years to develop HPVir, a combination of a self-sampling kit and an HPV test. The test is designed to detect whether a woman is infected with HPV (human papillomavirus) and thus at greater risk of cervical cancer. Almost all cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV infection. HPVir testing uses a special sampling card that makes samples stable at room temperature for several years and also allows safe handling of the samples. The effectiveness of HPVir, both in terms of accuracy and propensity to test, has been proven by a large number of scientific studies. Health economic analyses show that the method is cheaper than current screening with gynaecological cell sampling. The project has received funding in national competition from Vinnova’s VFT+ programme.

Watch a short film about the HPVir project on Youtube

2020 Award Winners

In 2020, 12 innovative projects and startups received the Attractive Innovation Project award, for example:

2019 Award Winners

Award winning innovation projects 2019.

In 2019, 15 innovative projects and startups received the Attractive Innovation Project award, for example:

  • Molboolean – method for labelling and measuring proteins for research and diagnostic application developed by Ola Söderberg, Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences.
  • Enphasys company founded by Janneke Keeemink and Christel Bergström, Department of Pharmacy, to further develop and commercialise a proprietary device for the lab environment that evaluate the intestinal performance of various oral drug formulations. The aim is to accelerate drug development and to provide patients with convenient oral drug products. Learn more at
  • Anatycan – innovative method that drives the development of drugs for the treatment of severe form of cancer developed by Marika Nestor and Anja Mortensen, Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology.
  • Uppsala Therapeutics – redesigning existing technology to create conditions for new drugs. The company is founded by Jöns Hillborn and Oommen Varghese, both researchers in polymer chemistry at the Department of Chemistry – Ångström Laboratory, together with Oommen P Oommen at Tampere University and Victor Hartman who is the company’s CEO. Learn more at
  • MM18 Medical – computer-aided image analysis enables significantly reduced health care costs for prostate cancer. Company founders are Erik Wilander, professor at the Department of Women's and Children's Health and Sören Nygren. Learn more at
  • Percy Roc – using microwaves to harden carbon fibre. Dragos Dancila and Kristiaan Pelckmans, Department of Physics and Astronomy have together founded Percy Roc to commercialise microwave technology for new applications. As a first step, it will be used to cure carbon fibre composites within the aviation and automotive industries. Learn more at
  • Individualised immunotherapy – a unique idea for fighting cancer. Sara Mangsbo, Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, together with Helena Persson and colleagues leading the SciLifeLab Drug Discovery and Development (DDD) platform for antibodies, have developed a strategy similar to vaccination to get the body’s own immune cells to expand and specifically attack the cancer. The treatment is individualised, but the platform uses some generic components to shorten the time to treatment. In 2020, Strike Pharma was founded with the aim of commercialising the proprietary ADAC technology platform. Learn more at
  • Scaleout – software that facilitates the use of artificial intelligence. The company Scaleout Systems provides a new solution for privacy preservation and secure machine learning developed by, inter alia, Andreas Hellander and Salman Toor, Department of Information Technology. Learn more at

2018 Award Winners

Award winning innovation projects 2018.

Drug delivery with less risk of abuse and novel solar cell technology for new applications among 2018's attractive innovation projects. In 2018, 17 innovative projects and startups received the award, for example:

  • Emplicure – safer, more effective drug delivery with less risk of abuse. Emplicure has developed a ceramic-based transdermal patch to combat chronic pain, in cooperation with Håkan Engqvist at the Department of Engineering Sciences. By gradually releasing strong opioids under the skin, the company’s treatment is not only safer and less painful for patients, it also reduces the risk of drug abuse via smoking or oral intake. Learn more at
  • Peafowl Solar Power – novel solar cell technology for new applications. Peafowl Solar Power has developed a very thin, transparent and cost-effective solar cell. Its key competitive advantage, however, is that the technology allows coating surfaces with solar cells without altering their appearance, thus opening up a vast array of new applications. Jacinto Sá, working at the Department of Chemistry – Ångström is co-founder of the company. Learn more at
  • Cartana – provides a new way to sequence genes directly in tissues. The technique provides information on both the type and function of individual brain cells as well as their location in relation to each other. Several of the people behind Cartana, including Malte Kühnemund and Mats Nilsson, have previously worked as researchers at Uppsala University. In 2020, Cartana was aquired by American biotech company 10x Genomics.
  • Deep Forestry – sensor systems accurately map forest resources. The company has developed powerful sensor systems for building 3D models of forest stocks to help generate volume calculations and highly accurate maps with georeferences. The company’s prototype drone can navigate under the tree canopy in commercial forest plantations. The company's co-founder and CEO, Levi Farrand, is a former student at the Department of Earth Sciences. Learn more at
  • Oncodia – the company has streamlined the clinical analysis process from DNA sequence data to cancer-specific mutation report and integrated it into a single, quality-managed solution. This will help facilitate the choice of treatment, provide better quality care and reduce costs to society. Oncodia was founded by Tobias Sjöblom, Ivaylo Stoimenov and Tom Adlerteg, at the Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology. Learn more at
  • Sence Research – improved post-market follow-up on new drugs. Sence Research’s statistical modelling analyzes drug benefits, side effects and cost-effectiveness using data from records, thus creating an important decision base for authorities and industry. Thomas Cars, at the Department of Medical Sciences, has developed the method. Learn more at
  • Soccermatics’ digital expert David the bot, an algorithm created by David Sumpter at the Department of Mathematics, uses statistics and machine learning to analyze real-time games. Intended to make football more fun and engaging to watch, David also assists professional football clubs understand matches.

2017 Award Winners

The first recipients of UU Innovation's Attractive Innovation Project Award.

New materials and diagnostic tests, forecasting tools and virtual windows to the past are examples of innovations in the works by those projects and startups that received the Attractive Innovation Project award in 2017. Here is a selection of the award-winning projects:

  • Graphmatech – introducing graphene light-weight material for large-scale use. Inventor and company co-founder is Mamoun Taher, Department of Chemistry - Ångström Laboratory. Learn more at
  • Astrego Diagnostics – fast diagnosis and therapeutic information for urinary tract infections. The company is a spin-off from Johan Elf's research group at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology. In 2022, Astrego was aquired by Sysmex Corporation, Japan. Learn more at
  • Inossia – new elastic cement for mending fragile bones. Inventor and company co-founder is Cecilia Persson, Departement of Materials Science and Engineering. Learn more at
  • Indicio Technologies (former F&A Forecasting) – software for more accurate financial forecasts. Company founded by David Fagersand and Frans Andersen, two former students of Uppsala University. Learn more at
  • Magström – company developing both hardware and software that can reduce the unnecessary wear of components in hydroelectric power plants. Company founded by Urban Lundin, Johan Abrahamsson, José Perez-Loya, Department of Electrical Engineering.
  • Disir Productions – making historical research come alive. Disir Productions combines archaeology and digital communication in a modern gaming environment. Company founders include John Ljungkvist and Daniel Löwenborg, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History. Learn more at

Last modified: 2022-05-23