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 Lannfelt, Uppsala 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
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

Units of the DDD Platform

What do we offer?

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:

  • Up to 80 hour free support to prepare your project as a drug discovery project, including an initial drug target product profile, and a lead generation/antibody selection strategy with progression plans
  • In collaboration with Chemical Biology Consortium Sweden, logistic solutions and data management for sharing large numbers of compounds (SciLifeLab compound collection)/antibodies.
  • In collaboration with Chemical and Pharmaceutical Toxicology at RISE (Södertälje), projects are evaluated for target safety concerns and approved projects are offered chemical toxicity support (in silico profiling of small molecules), immunotoxicity support (antibodies) and safety support in the design of in vivo studies.
  • Protein production for assay development
  • Identification of binders from our IP free phage display library of human antibodies
  • Biochemical and cellular screening, both at single concentration in large compound libraries and to generate dose-response data for iterative chemistry
  • Medicinal synthetic and computational chemistry
  • Analysis of drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics data for compounds and antibodies
  • Advanced analysis of in vitro pharmacology and systems pharmacology of compounds and antibodies
  • Biophysical identification of binding partners (small molecules or proteins), screening of chemical libraries and characterization of interactions between hits/leads and their targets, using a range of time-resolved and structure-based biophysical methods

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 publication

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.

Since 2020, the DDDP has had high priority on covid-19 through the Nevermore Covid project, which has resulted in promising inhibitors of the Mpro protease of SARS-CoV-2, just published in JACS by Jens Carlsson, Helena Danielsson and others.

“This shows how academic researchers can in fact get results in highly competitive fields such as covid-19 research by working in an open and collaborative environment and by accessing the national infrastructures that DDDP and SciLifeLab provide,” says Kristian Sandberg, platform director for the DDDP. He also adds that other promising molecules have been identified in DNA-encoded library screens performed at the DDDP.

Per Arvidsson, platform director for DDDP, adds: “At the outset of this project, few believed that drugs for covid-19 would be needed given the pace of vaccine development; even more were skeptical that academic efforts could make a meaningful impact in this highly competitive space. Less than two years later, we see a huge global demand for antivirals, and everyone now realizes the importance of preparing for future pandemics by having drug candidates lined up for development. Most impressively, this project demonstrates the power of combining cutting-edge drug discovery technologies, such as virtual screening and DNA encoded chemical screening, with the capabilities available at both national and international infrastructures like SciLifeLab, Max IV Laboratory, and the Diamond Light source, in an international collaboration under a professional project leadership. The team has really done a remarkable job in getting this far in such a short time!”

Watch a video from 2020 by Upptalk Weekly where Jens Carlsson (Uppsala University) talks about this project around SARS CoV-2 main protease drug discovery, and how molecular dynamics simulations can accelerate drug discovery. The video is in Swedish.

The SciLifeLab Symposium: “Accelerating the process from basic drug discovery to clinical trial for Covid-19” from Dec 1, 2020, is available on YouTube.

Featured project

Recent DDD-exit: Promising antibody candidate in the fight against cancer

Image Magnus Bergström (source: kaw.wallenberg.org)

A new promising cancer treatment, aiming to inhibit tumor growth by attacking the signaling pathway of transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) has just left the SciLifeLab Drug Discovery and Development (DDD) platform. Umeå University based researcher Maréne Landström and her team are behind the project that is aiming for clinical trials in the near future. Read the full 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
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

Recent project exit

What a year 2021 has been for our platform! We have celebrated the exits of three very successful projects, the latest of which is Thomas Helleday’s project on MTHFD2 inhibitors. The candidate drug will be further developed in the recently started company One-carbon Therapeutics AB. Read the article here.

Photo: KI, Ulf Sirborn

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: 2023-05-17

Content Responsible: Scilifelab Administration()