Drug Discovery and Development Platform (DDD)

National platform


Project Proposals


Per Arvidsson, Platform Director


Kristian Sandberg, Platform Co-Director



Platform directors
Per Arvidsson, Karolinska Institutet
Kristian Sandberg, Uppsala University

Platform Steering Group

Håkan Billig, Chair, University of Gothenburg
Outi Vaarala, Orion Pharma
Lars Ny, University of Gothenburg
Anna Sandström, AstraZeneca
Maria Jenmalm, Linköping University
Lars Grundemar, Lund University
Tomas Lundqvist

Platform Scientific Directors

Per Artursson (UU) – ADME of Therapeutics
Per Arvidsson (KI) – Biochemical and Cellular Assays, Medicinal Chemistry (Hit2Lead)
Helena Danielson (UU) – Biophysical Screening and Characterization
Mats Persson (KI) – Human Antibody Therapeutics
Mats Ohlin (LU) – Human Antibody Therapeutics
Rolf Larsson/Mats Gustafsson (UU) – In Vitro and Systems Pharmacology
Anders Karlén (UU) – Medicinal Chemistry (Lead Identification)
Per-Åke Nygren (KTH) – Protein Expression and Characterization
Kristian Sandberg (UU) – Target Product Profiling & Drug Safety Assessment
Pär Mattson (GU) – Oligonucleotide Therapeutics
Jens Carlsson (UU) – Computational Medicinal Chemistry

Per Artursson was recently featured in two articles, one in Swedish and one in English.

Drug Discovery and Development Platform

Call for projects!

In 2024, DDD needs to replenish its portfolio, of about 20 support programs, with 3-5 new programs. We are looking for:

  • Programs with defined targets for diseases with medical needs
  • Therapeutic ideas based on technologies that can be extended to other targets and/or other indications are of special interest, i.e., therapeutic platform technologies
  • Projects to develop therapeutic molecules with innovative mode-of-actions, e.g., targeted delivery or new modes-of-action for antisense oligonucleotides, small molecules, antibodies, and/or proximity-inducers

Read more and apply here

Units of the DDD Platform

What do we offer?

Check out the video where Marika Nestor talks about her experience with our platform:

The SciLifeLab Drug Discovery and Development (DDD) platform offers integrated drug discovery efforts to the Swedish academic research community. We offer industry-standard infrastructure, expertise, and strategic support for technology development or to help progress projects towards a preclinical proof-of-concept. We work with small molecules, human antibodies, and new modality therapeutics. There are three ways to interact with us:

Drug development projectAccess to resources/instruments/
technologies at DDD
Access to spare resources/
instruments at DDD

Services are offered in the following areas:

  • Consultation meetings in matters related to Drug Discovery (unit TPP&DSA)
  • Access to and logistics solution for compound management (units MCH2L and MCLI in collaboration with Chemical Biology Consortium Sweden)
  • A first draft for Target Product Profile (unit TPP&DSA in collaboration with RISE, Södertälje for Drug
  • Discovery Toxicology)
  • Protein production for assay development and therapeutic proteins (unit TPE)
  • Selections of protein/peptide ligands made in phage display libraries of antibody fragments (units D&S and TPE)
  • Selections of small molecule ligands made in DNA encoded compound libraries (units MCLI and TPE)
  • Medicinal synthetic and computational chemistry (units MCH2L and MCLI)
  • Medicinal synthetic chemistry for oligonucleotide chemistry (unit ON_Chem)
  • Design and screening of oligonucleotide libraries (unit ON_Bio)
  • Analysis of drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics data (unit ADMEoT)
  • Assay development and establishment of structure activity relation (SAR) in primary assays (units BCA and ON_Bio)
  • Biophysical and structural studies of ligands to target molecules (unit BSC)
  • Advice on design of preclinical proof of concept studies, PK and PK/PD studies (units TPP&DSA and ADMEoT)

Importantly, the researcher/customer retains all rights and ownership during this process.

For the latest updates, please follow us on LinkedIn.

Achievements and Testimonials

“We couldn’t have done this project without SciLifeLab. To begin with, we didn’t even know which things we didn’t know, so to speak. Nor did we have the funds to be able to do it ourselves. The vast competence of the DDD platform scientists has been invaluable to us.”

Olle Hernell (Umeå University)

“To have access to the expertise and techniques provided by the DDD was critical for us in order to be able to advance our research.”

Tina Sarén (Uppsala University)

Recent publications

A paper titled “An Adaptable Antibody-Based Platform for Flexible Synthetic Peptide Delivery Built on Agonistic CD40 Antibodies” was recently published in Advanced Therapeutics, with many contributors from the DDD Platform. This work was the result of a successful project owned by Sara Mangsbo and her colleagues, which made an exit in 2021.

Other recent papers of interest:

Izadi A, Karami Y, Bratanis E, Wrighton S, Khakzad H, Nyblom M, Olofsson B, Happonen L, Tang D, Sundwall M, Godzwon M, Chao Y, Toledo AG, Schmidt T, Ohlin M, Nilges M, Malmström J, Bahnan W, Shannon O, Malmström L, Nordenfelt P. The hinge-engineered IgG1-IgG3 hybrid subclass IgGh47 potently enhances Fc-mediated function of anti-streptococcal and SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. Nat Commun. 2024 Apr 27;15(1):3600.

Sarén, T., Saronio, G., Marti Torrell, P. et al. Complementarity-determining region clustering may cause CAR-T cell dysfunction. Nat Commun 14, 4732 (2023).

Luttens, A., Gullberg, H., Abdurakhmanov, E., et al. Ultralarge Virtual Screening Identifies SARS-CoV-2 Main Protease Inhibitors with Broad-Spectrum Activity against Coronaviruses. JACS 144, 7 (2022).

Featured project

Teamwork and cross-disciplinary collaborations were key for Drug Discovery and Development Platform exit project

Ulf Ribacke, Kristian Sandberg, Anja Sandström, Jens Carlsson, Helena Danielsson and Lindon Moodie at the exit ceremony

On November 7, 2023, we celebrated the commercial exit of Jens Carlsson’s project, which used virtual screening, fragment screening, and fast make-test-analyze cycles of compound optimization for the discovery and lead generation of SARS-CoV2 Mpro inhibitors. Read the SciLifeLab news article here.

Recent developments at the DDDP

With its mission to support researchers in developing prototypes for new drugs, the DDD platform is focused on providing state-of-the-art drug discovery technologies to scientists across the country. During the last couple of years, the platform has developed DNA-coded chemical libraries that make it easier to find relevant starting points for small molecule drug discovery. In 2020, the platform launched its third library, containing over one million unique DNA-coded drug-like substances. Currently used for COVID-19 projects, the library will be made available for academic researchers nationwide in 2021.

The platform also recently established a new methodology for developing PROTACs ® (Proteolysis targeting chimera), a new kind of drug which breaks down target proteins instead of inhibiting their functions. In 2020, the platform’s researchers – in close collaboration with scientists at Karolinska Institutet, Uppsala University and Recipharm AB – showed the first functional degrader to be produced in Swedish academia. Now, the aim is to make this technology available to users in early 2022.

In 2020, the activities at the platform were in many ways affected by the corona pandemic, but despite restrictions, the platform managed to carry out most of its operations as planned. During the year, it added three new academic projects to its portfolio, and carried out two successful exits; one of which, a project on developing a new kind of cell therapy (CAR-T) for glioblastoma, was advanced into a private company that will continue its development.

The platform also launched two research projects on COVID-19 – one aiming to identify inhibitors of a viral protease essential to the growth of the virus, and one where antibodies with high-binding strength to the virus surface protein have been identified.

The DDD platform has until recently focused on small molecules and protein drugs; a recent addition is oligonucleotides. Oligonucleotide drugs have a potentially faster development compared to other drug types. The OligoNova Hub is based in Gothenburg and will become part of SciLifeLab’s DDD platform.

 ”This endeavour enables the DDD platform to take on new kinds of projects for diseases with unmet medical needs, and focus on different therapies. It also creates several potential synergies, for instance, a possibility to combine DDD’s unique antibody expertise with oligonucleotide drugs to facilitate delivery to the correct cell type”, says Kristian Sandberg, Co-Director of the platform.

“The OligoNova Hub will establish a vibrant center based on scientific excellence for these new medicines, creating a unique opportunity for SciLifeLab to work on new drugs together with the life science community in Sweden. We look forward to working with the Wallenberg Centre for Molecular and Translational Medicine, to make these technologies available to researchers across the country”, he continues.

Current projects

We are currently running 19 drug discovery projects at the DDD platform: antibody, small molecule, and technology development projects. The DDD Platform strives to stay up to date with current drug discovery techniques used in the pharmaceutical industry.

Small molecule projects

Antibody projects

Oligonucleotide projects

Recent project exits

YearPrincipal InvestigatorAffiliationTherapeutic areaProject Type
2023Jens CarlssonUppsala UniversityInfectious DiseasesSmall Molecule
2023Thoas FioretosLund UniversityOncologyAntibody
2022Marika NestorUppsala UniversityOncologyAntibody
2021Thomas HelledayKarolinska InstituteOncologySmall Molecule
2021Maréne LandströmUmeå UniversityOncologyAntibody
2021Sara MangsboUppsala UniversityOncologyNew Modalities
2020Mattias HallbergUppsala UniversityNeuroscienceSmall Molecule
2020Magnus EssandUppsala UniversityOncologyNew Modalities
2019Susanne LindqvistUmeå UniversityAutoimmune DiseasesAntibody
2019Sonia LainKarolinska InstituteOncologySmall Molecule
2018Margit MahlapuuGothenburg UniversityMetabolic DisordersSmall Molecule
2018Per AlmqvistKarolinska InstituteNeuroscienceNew Modalities
2017Maria EriksdotterKarolinska InstituteNeuroscienceSmall Molecule
2016Mårten FryknäsUppsala UniversityOncologySmall Molecule
2016Johan FlygareLinköping UniversityBlood DisordersSmall Molecule
2016Thomas HelledayKarolinska InstituteOncologySmall Molecule

Featured Project

Activation of potassium channels

“SciLifeLab Drug Discovery & Development project owner and SciLifeLab board member Professor Fredrik Elinder was interviewed in the ionchannellibrary. He outlines the challenge of undertaking and funding drug discovery efforts in academia, the need for high-throughput ion channel measurements, and ultramarathons – all in one place.

Fredrik Elinder and Malin Silverå Ejneby in the lab. Photo: Linkoping University.

News archive

Interested in DDDPs past new articles and achievements? Below are links to older news articles involving the work that is done at our unit.

Last updated: 2024-05-21

Content Responsible: admin(website@scilifelab.se)