Support provided greater confidence for commercialisation


Portrait of Marcus Wanselius in the lab.
Marcus Wanselius turned to UU Innovation for support in reaching a wider target group with his
research results. Photo: Mikael Wallerstedt.

Marcus Wanselius began his doctoral project with a single goal – a finished dissertation. But once he had promising results in hand, he realised there could be more to it. He is now packaging his method for sale to the pharmaceutical industry.

Marcus Wanselius is a doctoral student at the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, with a studentship funded by the SweDeliver project. SweDeliver is a world-leading research and competence centre in the field of drug delivery based on multi-disciplinary collaboration between academia and industry. 

“The idea for my project originated with the industry, where there is a need to understand what happens when biological drugs are injected into subcutaneous tissue,” Wanselius explains.

Wanselius has worked with this question in his doctoral project, now it its final phase, and has developed a method that can measure how drugs interact with biopolymers in the body.

“I have focused on two biopolymers, hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate, which are commonly found in subcutaneous tissue. The transport and uptake of drugs depend largely on how they bind to these biopolymers.

Useful method

At the outset, Wanselius did not believe this would lead to anything beyond scientific publications of his dissertation, but as the method developed he realised that it is very good – and useful.

“When my supervisor and I got feedback from the SweDeliver network that this is a method that we should commercialise, we thought it would be worth testing so that our results reach a larger target group and not only academics in the same field,” Wanselius says.

In need of help to take the idea forward, Wanselius turned to UU Innovation.

“It was incredibly valuable to get help studying the market for our method and exploring opportunities to patent our inventions. In addition, we have gained access to a large network through UU Innovation in various ways, including the Mentor Programme. We were also encouraged to apply to the Uppsala Innovation Centre’s start-up program, which also gave us numerous fresh insights and new contacts.”

A welcome push

Wanselius relates how help from the innovation support system gave him the push he needed to take the next step and develop his idea in a commercial direction.

“What drives me is reaching out, beyond the academic world, with my results so that they can benefit society, which is often difficult if you are happy to publish in a scientific journal and leave it at that. Also packaging it as a product makes it easier to reach out and I am very grateful for the support I received to make the process possible.”

To drive innovation projects forward, verification from potential clients is necessary – is this an attractive solution?

“We were able to identify potential customers through the market survey we carried out with support from UU Innovation. The next step is to work with one or more of those companies to determine whether we can deliver what they are asking for.

“I have learned a lot during this journey: how you should think about commercialisation, how to start a company, who the potential customers are and what they want. Now I hope and believe that we have together given the method strong potential to reach out and be useful.”

Text: Frida Henningson Johnson

Support from UU Innovation

Marcus Wanselius has made good use of the services that UU Innovation offers free of charge to students, researchers and employees of Uppsala University. He has received business development coaching, support from intellectual property advisors and funding for market analysis and patent applications. He has also participated in the UU Innovation Mentor Programme, where he was matched to a mentor who is a co-founder of a pharmaceutical company and has comprehensive experience with research in the industry.

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Last modified: 2023-12-01