Please welcome Suzanne Svahn as the new President of SACC San Diego!
Suzanne Svahn was born and raised in Gothenburg, Sweden, and holds a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation as a licensed REALTOR®. Her passion for helping sellers sell their properties and buyers find their ideal home for their lifestyles is evident in her work.
Suzanne graduated from SDSU with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing and remains actively involved in the Swedish community in San Diego. With her extensive network of connections and in-depth knowledge of various neighborhoods and their markets, Suzanne is dedicated to providing excellent service to her clients.
As the President of SACC San Diego, Suzanne will leverage her expertise and values to strengthen the organization's relationships with Sweden, San Diego, and beyond.
Thank you Suzanne, the Chamber is so grateful to have you!
We at SACC San Diego are happy to welcome our new corporate member Krvaric Capital & Risk Management! Krvaric is based in Rancho Bernardo, San Diego and offers expert assistance in investments, financial planning, and insurance to provide comprehensive financial services to their clients.
To introduce them we had an interview with the President and CEO of the company, Tony Krvaric!
Tell us about yourself, and what made you move to the United States?
I was born in Malmö, Sweden to parents who immigrated from Yugoslavia (present-day Croatia) to seek a better life. As a teenager I was inspired to come to America by President Ronald Reagan and at the age of 21 I made the move. It took eleven years to become a naturalized citizen, which was one of the proudest days of my life. America is quite unique in that once sworn-in as a citizen one is no more and no less a citizen than anyone else.
After a successful business in the microchip and modem (remember those?) business I started investing and found my true passion; helping people make smart choices with their money. I see myself as a financial "problem solver" in the overwhelming world of finance.
My wife is also Swedish, and we have four grown children - who all speak Swedish. We visit Sweden every couple of years and are proud of our Swedish heritage and traditions. There's nothing better than a Swedish summer.
Tell us about Krvaric Capital & Risk Management!
We are a small boutique firm helping select individuals and families make smart financial choices, aligned with their deeply held values. My middle son, Victor joined the business last year and is working closely with me. We are a small business by choice, serving fewer than 200 families so that we can provide individual attention and build close, quality relationships.
What has been your biggest challenge starting up a company in the US?
Like most places, it can be a challenge. One might think that it would be easier in the United States, but the bureaucracy here is rather terrible, with each level of government having their input; local, state, and federal. It's nothing that can't be overcome with the right advisors of course, and the opportunities in America are still tremendous so it's definitely still worth pursuing.
Do you have any tips and tricks for others wanting to move to the US and start up a company here?
Like anywhere else, be patient and beware who you deal with. Oh, and forget about get-rich-quick schemes. Build a quality business by surrounding yourself with quality individuals and enjoy the ride. And if you're in San Diego, then the weather literally can't be beat anywhere in the world.
What are some common mistakes that people make when it comes to managing their finances, and how can they be avoided?
Greed and fear are the enemy. Controlling one's emotions is key. But that’s easier said than done, which is why partnering with a financial professional one knows, likes, and trusts is important. It's impossible to be objective about one's own money, and the financial landscape is always changing so having a trusted advisor is key.
Thank you Krvaric Capital for joining us!
Read more about Krvaric and their business on their website here!
Meet our new Corporate Member at SACC San Diego - Viking Spirits!
We made an interview with Daniel Borg about his journey with viking spirits and what they have accomplished.
Tell us about yourself and your company Viking Spirits?
I was born and raised in Östersund, Sweden. By the time I finished my (mandatory at the time) military service in my hometown, I left to start a master’s degree in applied physics and electrical engineering at Linköping institute of technology. In my last year of studying I was given the opportunity to work on my master’s thesis at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California. I instantly fell in love with the beauty of what northern California had to offer, from Lake Tahoe to the beaches of Carmel and Monterey. When I finished my thesis, I moved back to Sweden and shortly after started working for a semiconductor company in Stockholm specialized in developing microchips for implantable medical devices. The company also had an office in San Diego, where I was later offered to relocate and brought my wife to begin a new life in the US.
Viking Spirits is an import and wholesale company, based in Sorrento Valley, CA. It was founded in April 2020 in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of the pandemic, we initially started selling Scandinavian wine and spirits through an online retail partner called Speakeasy Co. They facilitate a direct-to-consumer platform where customers from nearly all over the US can purchase our products and have it shipped to their doorsteps. More recently, we’ve also started to reach out to liquor stores, bars, grocery stores and restaurants in southern california and our presence is growing. Our full list of retail stores can be found on our website.
What was the inspiration behind the start of Viking Spirits? How did you come up with the idea to start this company?
Scandinavian wine and liquor have always been hard to come by in the U.S. and it’s especially during the holidays when I’m looking for a mulled wine (glögg) or an aquavit that the realization sets in. The situation has not improved much over the years. I’ve always been an entrepreneur by heart and dreamt about starting my own business someday in the future. Where there’s a problem I usually try to find a solution.It was during a midsummer’s eve party in Östersund that a friend, who used to work at Savhuset at the time, had brought a few bottles of sparkling wine. He said it was made locally, but obviously not from grapes since it would be much too far up north for any kind of grapes to survive. Instead, this wine is made from the sap of birch trees growing in the region outside my home town and it is called Sav Sparkling. Of course I was intrigued and couldn’t wait to taste it, even though I wasn’t expecting anything sensational since birch tree sap is not something you associate with wine. To my surprise, I was finding the taste quite similar to a dry champagne. The notes of green apples and birch, with a light body, captured my interest.
On my trip back to San Diego I had packed my suitcases with several bottles of Sav Sparkling to introduce to my friends in California. The response was overwhelmingly positive, which triggered me to start looking into the possibility of importing this wine.
My long time friend and former colleague, Daniel Hoggar, is a great listener to many of my wild ideas. We usually catch up for lunch and sometimes discuss possible business prospects. It was during one of these lunches when I presented the idea of starting an import business together with focus on bringing premium Scandinavian wine and spirits into the U.S. Although he was not familiar with the product yet, he didn’t dismiss it either. Together we worked through the process of how to acquire federal permits, ABC licensing, warehousing, etc. We read books about starting a wine import company to learn about the wine business. As the business plan began to crystallize, we agreed to form a company. This was the beginning of Viking Spirits, Inc. and we’re equal co-owners in the company.
Why did you decide to expand to the United States?
The wine and spirits market here in the US is huge. With 250M potential customers, it’s an enormous opportunity. Although imported wine only makes up a fraction of the total wine market here, there’s still many opportunities.
Can you tell me more about Viking Spirits products?
All of our products are made in Scandinavia. The environmental impact of wine and spirits production can be significant if not managed correctly. We therefore only select partners with sustainable business practices, where for example locally sourced products are being used to minimize the impact on the environment.
Peter Mosten at Savhuset Åre AB has released several new products over the years and we plan on continuing making them available in the U.S. Needless to say, all of their products are quite unique products made from birch tree sap instead of grapes. Their first product, Sav Sparkling, was entered into the San Diego International Wine & Spirits challenge in 2021. It was awarded a gold medal and given 92 points by the judging committee, which is a testament to the quality of this product.
This year we’ll also have a glögg called Sav Glöd available for the holiday season. It can be enjoyed either cold as an aperitif or warm with a spoon of raisins and almonds. Along with that we’ll also have a new sparkling wine called Sav Snö, named after the Swedish snow, with added natural flavors of ginger, angelica root, citrus, and more.
Our friends at Tevsjö Mill & Distillery have supplied us with a selection of award winning craft gin, aquavit, vodka and absinthe. The owners, Jonas and Anna Larsson are very conscientious about the environment and take pride in their own model of ensuring complete transparency and traceability, for example from where the wheat comes from, when and by whom it was farmed, etc. - they call it the Tevsjö model.
More recently we have started a collaboration with Göran and Ulrika Amnegård at Blaxsta Vingård in Flen, which is about 2 hours southwest from Stockholm. It’s one and the only vineyard in Sweden that grows unmodified traditional vitis vinifera. This allows them to compete on the international stage in the world championship for best wine. Among many of their products, the flagship wine is an Icewine from 2016 that has won double gold in wine world championships and is rated at 99.3p by Robert Parker. Our partnership with Blaxsta gives us exclusive rights to import their brands into the U.S. and we can’t wait to bring their products over here.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge with importing and selling your items from the Nordics to the U.S. market?
The biggest challenge at the moment is something we share with most other importers; shipping delays and supply shortages are affecting the retail industry in one way or another. Due to the war in Ukraine, our suppliers are short on glass bottles since Ukraine is Europe's major glass bottle supplier that almost everyone relies on.
For wine, in general I would say that it can be difficult to sell imported wine in the U.S., especially here in California where you’re competing against so many great vineyards. Almost 90% of all wine sales in CA is from domestically produced wine and the rest is from other parts of the world. When you’re trying to enter a marketwith a Scandinavian wine that is solely dominated by wine grapes, usually from known appellations, it’s often met with skepticism in both competitions and wine stores. The well accredited wine magazines, e.g. Wine enthusiast and Wine Spectator, etc., generally only welcome traditional grape wines, vitis vinifera, i.e. fruit wines or hybrids are not welcome. However, wine from Scandinavian is gaining traction with the use of the hybrid Solaris grape and Swedish wine has the potential to become a 100M dollar industry in the near future, much due to the warmer climate as a result of global warming
Most smaller vineyards throughout California are profitable because they get a steady stream of visitors stopping by for a wine tasting. If they like the wine, they may end up buying a bottle or two, which sustains the business for the vineyard. Being a wine importer and wholesaler, however, we’re bound by the antiquated prohibition rules that established the three tier system (importer, wholesaler, and retail). In essence, as an importer, you’re not allowed to directly sell or offer tastings to consumers without going through a retailer or restaurant/bar. Another way is to participate as a vendor at festivals or other sponsored events, which can be costly with uncertain ROI.
With liquor it’s somewhat of a different story. It helps having brands that have earned their ranks in notorious spirits competitions. Our interest is in selling craft spirits from smaller distilleries where there’s a uniqueness and authenticity in each brand. This ensures that our customers keep coming back for more, instead of settling for the old established brands.
Thanks to the power of social media, we have found a clientele who are particularly interested in Scandinavian products. Through our online retail partner, Speakeasy Co., we have access to an enormous market across 45 states, but the challenge is to reach the right consumer with the right interests. It’s therefore important to have a good conversion tracking in place so that you can choose where to spend your efforts.
Which are the best-selling items, and is there any difference in the best sellers in Sweden vs in the United States?
Our first product was Sav Sparking and it’s the product we have the highest sale from. Today we have 4 Sav brands in our portfolio, which includes two sparkling wines, one still wine and a glögg. We only sell and operate in the U.S.
If you could recommend one drink to a friend, which one would it be?
My favorite drink is G&T, but with a nice twist. The Gin Havtorn from Tevsjö distillery can easily stand on its own, but mixing it with an Elderflower tonic brings it to the next level and I would serve it to any of my friends.
Three fast questions:
What is your personal favorite item that you sell?
The Ragnarök Gin, partly because of the name and how it represents our company, but also because it’s a gorgeous bottle with an amazing gin.
Spirits or wine?
Wine! I’m a wine drinker myself, not by volume, but by quality. I enjoy tasting different kinds of wine and hearing the story behind them.
Where can one buy your items?
Taste of Denmark, in Hillcrest
Tip Top Meats, in Carlsbad
Poway Liquor & Deli, in Poway
Norway Hall Foundation, in Vista
Holiday Liquor & Wine, in Vista
Our Corporate Member HELA won Flemingsberg Science Award in the category "Startup 2022 - East Region"
HELA's app increases adherence to cardiac rehab programs by making their health development visible to them during the program.
Motivation from the jury:
With an ambitious drive and a good mix of skills, this year's winner of the Flemingsberg Science Award works to increase the individual's physical and mental health in connection with rehabilitation after a heart attack. With the help of patient data, AI, integration with smartphones, the individual's own goals and progress, an automated treatment plan is created that gives the patient full control over their health. With flexible solutions and scalability, the vision is to become a global technology supplier.
Read the full press release here.
Meet our new Premium Corporate Member at SACC San Diego - Suzanne Svahn! We made an interview with Suzanne Svahn to get a deeper insight in how it is to work as a real estate agent in San Diego.
Tell me about your background in being a real estate agent?
I've been a REALTOR® for eight years and have lived in San Diego for 20 more. I’ve always loved houses and neighborhoods and, being an avid long-distance runner, I know San Diego inside and out on foot. Building real relationships with wonderful people is my favorite part of the job. I love what I do and I’m so grateful that I get to wake up every morning and help people find their home or ideal commercial property in America's finest city.
What differentiates you from other real estate agents in San Diego?
I'm a very hands-on person and I am actively involved in every part of the process. From first meeting a client to seeing them through either a successful find or sale, I make it a point to be available, communicative, and supportive as I lead my clients through the buying and selling journey.
Not only do I help my clients find the right property for their lifestyle, but I shine at crafting competitive offers and guide them through complicated timelines, contingencies, and escrow. California is a disclosure state with many documents that can be overwhelming. I will walk you through every step of the process and make sure you understand everything you need to know to make confident decisions. Additionally, I'm a certified international property specialist (CIPIS) and am actively involved in international real estate through our real estate association here in San Diego.
Negotiating is one of my biggest strengths. I’m a huge advocate for my clients and work relentlessly to get them the very best deal on their home whether they’re buying or selling. It’s important to me to do my due diligence, collect the best research, and provide my clients with a successful, satisfying experience. To me, it’s not about the quick flip; it’s about helping my clients find peace of mind as they buy or sell their home at the best possible price.
What does the process look like when a person from Sweden wants to relocate to the United States?
I have in-depth experience helping international buyers and sellers with their real estate needs. The process starts with an initial consultation where we get to know each other. Ideally this would be in person but FaceTime and phone calls are a great way for us to connect when we can’t be together face-to-face.
Finding a home is such a personal undertaking and it can feel difficult when you aren’t there in person. That’s why I prioritize communication and work hard to anticipate and answer all of your questions. If you’re not already familiar with San Diego, it’s my pleasure to educate you on the area and introduce you to neighborhoods that, based on our conversations, will be a fantastic fit for you. I listen to you and ask tailored questions to get a clear understanding of what you are looking for in a neighborhood and a home.
In addition to doing all the research and conducting viewings on your behalf, I will do everything necessary to find the perfect home to fit your lifestyle and preferences. If that requires talking to the neighbors, exploring the neighborhood, and frequenting nearby establishments, that’s what I’ll do. Going above and beyond for my clients is second nature to me. I take pride in helping every client, near or far, feel confident, informed, and taken care of as they buy or sell their home.
What would you say are the greatest benefits of having a Swedish-speaking agent?
There’s a special trust that comes from working with people who share your culture and can understand where you’re coming from and how you think. Having the Swedish language in common is an important part of that connection— it’s so nice to meet over a “fika” without having to define the term!
Being fluent in both Swedish and English allows me to translate and guide my clients step-by-step through unfamiliar legal jargon and important deadlines. My familiarity with the buying and selling process in Sweden also helps me further relate to my Swedish clients and lead them through the similarities and differences they might face during the American real estate process. Overall, my professional experience and intimate knowledge of San Diego combined with our shared cultural background is a huge advantage for my Swedish clients.
What would you advise someone who is considering relocating to San Diego?
First, I’d say congrats— you’ve made an excellent decision choosing San Diego for your new home!
The most important thing when you’re relocating to San Diego is to find a responsive agent that knows the area well. I have lived here for 28 years and know each corner of the city in detail. Real estate is more than a 9-5 business and I pride myself on being available to my clients when they need me. I am committed to exceptional communication and accountability and, when we work together, you will always be informed.
As you’re considering moving to San Diego, I’d love to speak with you sooner rather than later. It’s never too early to start searching for your home in America’s finest city.
Three fast questions:
Do you prefer living close to the beach or city pulse?
The great thing about San Diego is that the city is practically on the water— you don’t really have to choose! But, if I must, the beach is my personal favorite.
What's your favorite thing in your house?
I love my home and am so grateful for everything in it. I have a deck with a beautiful canyon view. It’s my favorite place to sit and be present.
Which is your favorite neighborhood in San Diego?
The neighborhoods in San Diego have such distinct personalities and I love them all for different reasons. While I can’t choose for myself, I look forward to helping you find a home in your favorite neighborhood!
Read more on Suzanne Svahn here.
WELCOME OUR NEW CORPORATE MEMBER - MTL!
Let us introduce our new corporate member at the chamber, Measurement Technology Laboratories (MTL).
MTL specializes in the capture and analysis of fine particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM1.0). They provide necessary laboratories and equipment for environmental monitoring and emissions testing. Their products include industry-standard filters, portable air samplers, laboratory buildouts, and automated measurement equipment.
"We believe in working together with our partners to train and equip laboratories for the highest quality air particulate measurements. MTL offers ongoing support to our clients to help ensure a successful program."
MTL seeks collaborations in Sweden as well as with Swedish companies worldwide for applications in the LifeSciences, Healthcare, and Transportation fields.
Harlan T. Jacobs
mobile +1 612 701 8153
The Swedish American Chambers of Commerce of the United States of America (SACC-USA) invites you to the 2022 Executive Forum on June 2 in House of Sweden, Washington D.C. This year’s theme – Navigating Turbulent Waters – will take stock of market conditions and market solutions to tackle challenges ranging from supply chain bottlenecks to climate change imperatives, against the backdrop of geopolitical tensions. The event will reveal groundbreaking technologies, effective strategies, and efficient practices to capitalize on evolving political, macroeconomic, financial, and commercial conditions.
Let us introduce one of our amazing sponsors for this year’s Bridging the Gap. Brinter® is a trailblazing Finnish-American 3D bioprinting company. The company makes high-end 3D bioprinting mainstream. Brinter® ONE is an out-of-the-box 3D bioprinting device with several printheads and modules perfected for cancer research, clinical trials, personalized medicine, and stem cell laboratories.
Bioprinting has an important role in the future of life science and Brinter® have a clear vision of what their company’s role is in it.
We would like to share this super interesting article about Brinter®, written by Pharmaceutical-Networking.com. The article is called “The Brinter® vision: accessible bioprinting for life sciences”. It contains information such as an introduction of the Bioprinter platform and how it can be used as a versatile tool for basic research in tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.
Read the full article here.
On Bridging the Gap 2022, Brinter® was presented by Antti Arjonen, Ph.D. Chief Science Officer at Brinter® who discussed the objective view of 3D bioprinting, its current state and its effect on the future of life science.
Let us introduce one of our amazing sponsors for this year's Bridging the Gap, Back Bay Life Science Advisors!
Back Bay Life Science Advisors works with international Biopharma, Medtech Guidance and Investment Banking with Emphasis on US-Nordic Growth. The company was founded 12 years ago in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood by a physician with a long academic background and a life science advisor. Since then, Back Bay has become an integral part of the Boston and Nordic life science ecosystem with roots that run around the globe.
With offices in Boston, Frankfurt and Toronto, Back Bay Life Science Advisors is a globally respected boutique consultancy known for pairing expert strategy with investment banking guidance and execution with a special emphasis on US-EU life sciences partnerships, particularly on the Nordic region. Back Bay has completed dozens of strategy and investment banking projects with Swedish, Danish and Norwegian organizations and provides supportive work for Nordic events throughout the year.
Back Bay works to advance biotech, healthtech and medtech development on an international level by partnering with life science innovators that range from global brands to emerging companies, nascent startups, government-backed incubators and academic centers. The Back Bay team, comprised of scientific researchers, biotech executives, physicians, surgeons, bankers and data researchers, excels at partnership and in guiding global life sciences companies and their investors through complex business, scientific, market and transactional challenges.
Back Bay is an industry leader for a reason; they know how to turn data into knowledge. With custom-designed due diligence, primary research, optimal strategy, forecasts and insight, Back Bay offers deeply experienced life science expertise. All of their assignments leverage a comprehensive range of data sources backed by the analytic capabilities of their team, and their integrated strategy and investment teams bring their scientific expertise, clinical knowledge and M&A experience to every project.
They provide solutions that are advantageous and actionable, and Back Bay delivers a keen understanding of the value of new technologies, medicines and scientific approaches. They work with companies across every stage, sector, geography and disease area to position assets for maximum value and impact.
Their strategic analytics have supported work by leading global banks and corporate entities, and Back Bay regularly works with clinicians, opinion leaders, investors, C-suite investors, payors and regulatory experts, across industry and academia.
Back Bay offers industry insight and interviews via their monthly podcast, The Life Science Report. Listen at https://www.bblsa.com/podcasts.
Contact person at Back Bay Life Science Advisors: Jonathan P. Gertler, Co-Founder, Managing Partner & CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about Back Bay Life Science Advisors here
Meet the new president of SACC San Diego, Ulf Sundberg!
Ulf, with a background in engineering, has spent a career in high tech driving product development and software introduction in telecom carrier networks, consumer software like Intuit's TurboTax, and software development programs for Augmented and Virtual Reality at Qualcomm. Ulf is Swedish but has lived abroad since the mid 1980s, including London United Kingdom, Yokohama/Tokyo in Japan and has resided in California since 2000. Ulf also volunteers as head judge advisor FIRST FTC Robotics San Diego region, a youth STEM program, and is a member of Tech Coast Angels that helps start-ups get their initial funding to grow their business.
He spent five years in Silicon Valley, but is calling San Diego home where lives with his wife, dog and a cat. Ulf was a Board Member at SACC San Diego from 2006 to 2010, rejoined in the summer of 2021. Ulf is an engineer at heart but has a big passion for the positive impact companies can have for employees, customers, investors and society in general.
"I am excited to continue to work with the other board members, our interns/marketing managers, advisory board and other stakeholders to help make San Diego an excellent choice for companies that are looking to set-up or expand their presence in the US market."
Gothenburg, Sweden – Captario, the life science SaaS-platform decision analytics company, announces the launch of Professional Services to further enable strategic decision-making throughout the drug development process.
The Captario proprietary SaaS-platform, Captario SUM® (Strategic Uncertainty Management), is a purpose-built decision analytics tool developed by former pharma professionals who saw a need for proactive, faster, and informed business decisions. Through the use of the Captario SUM® tool, customers can model an end-to-end drug development cycle, account for developmental uncertainty, have access to real-time insights across functional silos, and run countless what-if simulations in a sandbox environment that enables superior decision-making.
Customers now have access to the just launched Professional Services, which serve as extensions of the already existing Captario SUM® subscription, and are being offered in two separate ways:
”It has always been our mission to make a major step-change in decision-making within pharma – and that’s what SUM® does today. With a talented team that hold a variety of of essential competencies such as advanced statistics, applied mathematics, data analytics, and decision theory, we feel confident that our Professional Services offering will further expand our ability to collaborate individually with customers and answer their most pressing and complex development questions.”
The Captario Professional Services offering span the entire drug development life cycle from early-stage to late-stage product and portfolio needs, and can help answer questions such as:
"The partnership with Captario has, since the beginning with a Proof of Concept, been outstanding… we only wish we had more vendor partnerships like this!"
Read press release here.
Bridging the gap 2022
We are excited to announce Bridging the Gap 2022, a life science event presented by Life Science Bridge. Life Science Bridge is a joint initiative by the Swedish-American Chambers of Commerce in San Diego, San Francisco/Silicon Valley and New England - the three biggest life science clusters in the U.S. The purpose of Bridging the Gap is to promote trade across borders, build bridges between different regions and connect people in the life science scene. To make the event even more global, this year’s edition of Bridging the Gap will be in partnership with the Finnish American Chamber of Commerce in San Diego.
Bridging the Gap 2022 will be a two-day webinar on April 20-21st, with speakers within the various areas followed by a networking session on each day. Day 1 will have the theme Expanding to the U.S and day 2 will be focusing on The future of Life Science. Speakers and sponsors will be released soon.
The event will be free of charge, but make sure to sign up for both days here: Day 1 and Day 2
If you have any questions or are interested in attending, sponsoring or speaking, please check our social media or email our head of Life Science Bridge - Kajsa at email@example.com.
Make sure to follow us on LinkedIn for updates about the event.
We are happy to announce a new corporate member at the Chamber, Hela Technologies!
Despite new treatments, heart diseases continue to be a leading cause of death worldwide.
But it doesn't have to be. Hela helps patients change the odds in the
comfort of their own homes.
Hela is the Swedish word for heal or whole, and that is also the name of a new app
developed by the health tech startup Hela Technologies.
"We give the support heart patients need to take control of their health," explained Asmen Gul,
co-founder and CEO. Still, the dropout rate from cardiac rehabilitation programs is alarmingly
high both in the U.S and worldwide.
Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised physiotherapy program, usually prescribed
after a heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty, or heart surgery.
"Research shows how essential it is to participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program,
but it is difficult when someone is scared and still in shock, which is common after a
serious cardiac failure," Gul said.
The team behind Hela has put effort into understanding all aspects of heart diseases, including
their impact on the patient's quality of life and its toll on emotional well-being.
After a thorough evaluation, Hela gives the users a customized program for a new healthier
lifestyle with supervised live-streamed rehabilitation group sessions, health recommendations,
"One group consists of eight users and a physiotherapist that makes sure the patient does the
exercises correctly without putting too much effort on the heart. The platform will immediately
let the therapist know if a patient has deviating vital signs," Gul explained.
The users also get support to improve their knowledge of their condition and how minor
changes could drastically improve the odds of avoiding future cardiac diseases. Further, the app
helps patients keep track of daily health parameters and understand what changes mean for
their health. One of the main reasons patients drop out from programs is lack of insight to how
their health is improving. We draw insights from data which only used to make
sense for cardiac nurses, and visualize them for patients.
The next step for the development team will be to add artificial intelligence such as computer
vision and machine learning, allowing Hela to even more efficiently guide patients to a more
Hela is focusing on the U.S. market due to the demand for an easy, efficient, and affordable
solution for cardiac rehabilitation, and openness for online health care.
Facts about the app Hela
● Live-streamed medically supervised group sessions
● Customized rehabilitation program
● Health advice
● Buddy support system
Read more about Hela here
Dagens Industri just published an article about SAGA Diagnostics AB. It includes an introduction to the company and one of the founders, Lao Saal, talks about its development, going from creating a research group at Lund University to actually starting a company. If you want to find the original article in Swedish, click here!
At Lund University, cancer research is one of the academy's flagships. In close collaboration with healthcare and other actors, the goal is to take the university's innovations out into the real world, where they can make a real difference. A successful example is SAGA Diagnostics AB - a spinoff company that now works with, among others, AstraZeneca.
It all started in 2009 when Lao Saal, today a lecturer at Lund University, moved to Lund and started a cancer research group. The research group received financial support from, among others, the Cancer Foundation and the Swedish Research Council and studied several different types of treatment for cancer diseases. However, one area that made them raise their eyebrows a little extra was liquid biopsy.
- Instead of having to do a major operation on the patient when you take a tissue sample, as you usually do, you can get a sample by liquid biopsy, which is based on the liquid. Either blood, urine or in some cases saliva, says Lao Saal.
Through liquid biopsy, you can measure how many cancer cells a patient has in the body and how it changes. The technology measures a specific biomarker, the so-called Circulating tumour-DNA (ctDNA).
- Today, there is a great need for improved biomarkers to diagnose cancer, choose the best treatment, and monitor how the patient responds. Through ctDNA, we can solve those problems in a minimally invasive way, Leo Saal explains.
From research group to spinoff company
The years passed and cancer research continued to flourish. The research group had something big going on and an organization at the university saw potential in taking the research one step further. As a spinoff, SAGA Diagnostics, a cancer genomics company, was formed in 2015, which today develops ultra-sensitive liquid biopsy tests for early detection of cancer recurrence and precision medicine in cancer treatment.
- We actually had no plans to start a company, we only focused on research. But when the idea got presented to us and the opportunity came, we took it. Lund University and Lund University Cancer Center (LUCC) have played a major role in being able to take this significant step, says Lao Saal, who is one of the two founders of SAGA Diagnostics AB.
Lund University is creating opportunities
Six years have passed since the company was created and today the company has 20 employees who strive to improve healthcare with its ultra-sensitive services and products. The company is financed by large investors such as Segulah Medical Acceleration and collaborates with the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and Swedish Alligator Bioscience.
- I am incredibly proud that our technology has reached the healthcare industry and can be used in practice. We are a young company that has come a long way in a short time. The development and commercialization we have been able to do, from starting at Lund University to actually making a difference for patients and society, means an incredible amount, says Lao Saal.
SACC SD ANNUAL CRAYFISH PARTY
On the 25h of September 2021 we hosted our annual crayfish party. Due to the pandemic the celebration was limite, however still a huge success! We would like to say a big Thank You to everyone who participated and we wish to see you again next year!