A life science co-working environment

A Working Lab (AWL) Innomedicum on Solna Campus is home to start-ups in life science, offering office space and lab facilities to new companies. We had the chance to speak to Åsa Johansson, newly appointed head of A Working Lab, Akademiska Hus, to find out more.

Åsa Johansson.

What is Innomedicum?
“A Working Lab (AWL) Innomedicum is a meeting place for start-ups and companies on Campus Solna, and one of Akademiska Hus’s co-working environments that are established on campuses around Sweden. Start-ups at AWL Innomedicum are primarily active in life science. Each company has a membership agreement that suits their growth phase and shares common resources such as meeting rooms, lounges and kitchenettes. The building also houses KI Innovations and KI Science Park, which further strengthens the support system for the member companies.”

Why is Akademiska Hus investing in facilities for companies?
“A Working Lab is a unique concept for developing campus-friendly environments and giving students, researchers, business and other societal actors the opportunity to meet in new and more flexible forms. The AWL establishments will be obvious test beds on campus and bring together research, education and business. They also create opportunities for efficient use of premises and contribute to strengthening Sweden as a knowledge nation.”

Photo: Johan Eldrot.

What sort of business model do you have?
“We have a flexible business model in which we have removed the traditional lease step. All companies share important facilities such as living areas, kitchenettes, meeting rooms, etc. And they can choose different office space constellations. We offer open plan environments with fixed or flexible seating. It is also possible to rent your own office. For smaller companies, this reduces the risks associated with entering into multi-year contracts with long notice periods. What makes A Working Lab Innomedicum unique is that we have also applied our model to a lab environment. You either rent your own lab or a lab bench in a shared room. Then everyone shares a variety of basic facilities such as cleaning and instrument rooms, for example.”

Photo: Johan Eldrot.

What is the main added value for companies locating to A Working Lab Innomedicum?
In addition to the benefits of flexible contracts, shared resources and the network offered at AWL Innomedicum, you also become part of a national community and as a member you can, for example, easily work at A Working Lab in Umeå one day even if you are usually based in Solna.

Innomedicum is located on Campus Solna, is that important to companies?
“Several of A Working Lab’s member companies have their origins at Karolinska Institutet and well-established links to the life science sector. With our offering, they can work closely together and gain access to the large knowledge bank that exists at the New Karolinska Hospital and Karolinska Institutet. Small and medium-sized enterprises often have a particular need for contact networks to improve their growth opportunities. It is also advantageous to be able to provide a postal address with a strong connection to internationally recognized research conducted in the field.”

You are part of the Stockholm Life Tech project that is financed by the European Structural and Investment Funds – how do you hope to benefit from that?
“We see Stockholm Life Tech as a fantastic opportunity to offer our member companies a network and greater access to, among other things, research and innovation infrastructure. It also broadens our own network and gives us even better tools to help small and medium-sized companies in their growth journeys. Stockholm Life Tech also helps to create greater understanding between different actors in the network and thereby contributes to further building Sweden as a nation of knowledge.”

A Working Lab

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