Published: 26-08-2014 08:41 | Updated: 26-08-2014 08:44

Karolinska Institutet recruits international top innovator and business developer

Karolinska Institutet has recruited Professor Alexander von Gabain to the new position as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Innovation and Corporate Alliances¹. He will be responsible for identifying, fostering and coordinating opportunities in research, health care, education, business outreach, investment and entrepreneurship leading towards an increased innovation output from Karolinska Institutet

Alexander von Gabain. Foto Andi BrucknerAlexander von Gabain’s long-term experience and international reputation in academia, biotech industry and institutions facilitating innovation are prone to bolster the “knowledge triangle” that encompasses research, education and business, with the entrepreneur in the driver’s seat.

“I am excited that Alexander von Gabain returns to Karolinska Institutet in this new and for Sweden very important function. I am convinced that he, alongside with our talented scientists and external collaborators, will be able to strengthen and unlock the existing innovation output of our university.” says Professor Anders Hamsten, Vice-Chancellor of Karolinska Institutet.

“Karolinska Institutet is already world-famous for its strong assets in the ‘knowledge triangle‘, and I believe that it will become an innovation trendsetter in the future university landscape.” says Alexander von Gabain. “It is necessary to integrate all competences to enable development to move from the student to the entrepreneur, from research to products, and from the laboratory to the patient.”

In 1978, Alexander von Gabain obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology at the University of Heidelberg, and then completed his post-doctoral training at the Stanford University Medical Center. In the 1980s and 1990s, he worked at the University of Umeå and Karolinska Institutet, and also served as advisor to pharmaceutical and biotech companies. His own research has resulted in a large number of original articles, book chapters and patents.

As Chairman of the Department of Microbiology of the University of Vienna between 1992 and 1998, he was strongly involved in the development of the private-public partnership between Boehringer Ingelheim and the University of Vienna at the Vienna Biocentre.

In 1998, he co-founded the vaccine company Intercell AG, and as CEO he led this enterprise until it was successfully floated on the Vienna Stock Exchange in 2005. Later, the company merged into the new biotech company Valneva, listed in Paris and Vienna.

von Gabain has continued working with business development in the biotech space. In his role as Chairman of the business incubator of the Viennese Universities (Inits), he has contributed to the launch of more than 140 start-up companies.

In 2008, he was appointed to the Governing Board of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), which he then chaired between 2011 and 2014. Under his leadership, the EIT has evolved into a high-impact innovation investment fund, today with a 2.8 Bill € budget for the next 7 years.

His achievements have been acknowledged with prestigious academic prizes, industrial awards, and honorary memberships in scientific societies, including the Swedish Royal Academy of Engineering Science.

Fotnote: ¹ The Anglo-Saxon title of Vice-Chancellor is equivalent to the American one of University President