Published: 16-06-2016 22:23 | Updated: 16-08-2016 16:55

Christer Betsholtz appointed new Head of ICMC

Professor Christer Betsholtz is the new director of AstraZeneca and Karolinska Institutet joint Integrated Cardio Metabolic Centre (ICMC) based at KI .

"To me, the ICMC represents a unique type of platform for academia-industry collaboration that I am certain will deliver fundamental knowledge suitable for the translation into new therapies. I look forward to working closely together with ICMC’s many talented researchers and help building their networks and collaboration with AstraZeneca scientists and academic institutions worldwide.” says Christer Betsholtz.

Betsholtz is a leading scientific authority in the field of vascular biology with more than 300 publications. He is currently professor with tenure both at Uppsala University and Karolinska Institutet and will maintain his professional appointment and a significant research presence at Uppsala University. Professor Betsholtz will also take up a part time position as Chief Scientist at AstraZeneca. Through the synergies of these roles, he will provide a day-to-day link between the ICMC, the universities and AstraZeneca.

Centre established three years ago

Karolinska Institutet and AstraZeneca established the Integrated Cardio Metabolic Centre in 2013, with the aim to identify and validate novel targets within cardio metabolic diseases, focusing on three strategic research areas: heart failure, diabetes and chronic kidney disease across both small molecules and biologics. The collaboration goes deeper than the usual industry-academia partnership, as scientists from both partners work side-by-side in a dedicated university unit to develop new therapies for people in need.

“Christer Betzholtz is a world renowned scientist in his field. He is also a great leader and mentor. He is committed to raising ICMC to the next level, where we will be working more on joint projects, publishing more joint publications and truly establish ICMC as world leading in scientific excellence.” says Menelas Pangalos, Executive Vice President, Innovative Medicines & Early Development at AstraZeneca.

When the collaboration was announced in 2013, the contract was initially for five years. The collaboration has since then been prolonged until 2020.

Uniquely powerful collaboration

Acting Vice-Chancellor at Karolinska Institutet, Karin Dahlman-Wright, says:

“It has become increasingly clear that industrial and academic scientists provide complementary skills that are needed to meet current challenges in medicine and health. Although we have been leading in biomedical sciences, we need partnerships in order to develop new therapies for patients. This collaboration is uniquely powerful as it goes beyond traditional partnerships.”

Under the leadership of Christer Betsholtz, ICMC intends to become a hub for building fruitful networks within cardio metabolic diseases in Sweden and globally, tapping into frontline scientific excellence. ICMC will endeavor to draw on nature’s own solutions to regeneration to develop regenerative medicine therapies to meet today’s unmet medical needs in diseases such as heart failure and diabetes.