Global business development as key competence

Natasha Olsson. June 8, 2021

With extensive knowledge from the pharmaceutical industry and having participated in successful launches of innovative products, Mårten Österlund is now Chairman for Neobiomics’ Board of Directors. In this interview, Mårten shares his extraordinary story. He was part of a dedicated team that led MEDAs expansion to become a multi-national company and now he is an advisor for start-ups. What can be learnt and why did he connect with Neobiomics?  

About Mårten Österlund 

Mårten Österlund, Chairman for Neobiomics Board of Directors, has a PhD from Uppsala University and post doctorate studies at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France. He spent his most recent working years in various leading positions at several pharmaceutical companies such as Karo Bio (Karo Pharma), Affibody and Meda (Viatris). In 2018 Mårten Österlund founded Pharma Way AB. 

Please describe yourself!  

I am positive person and I enjoy working with people and in group to achieve common goals. I am dedicated to my work and family (my wife, our three children and a dog). At work I strive to do what is best for the company. My spare time I spend with family and friends. We spend our summers at our summerhouse in the Stockholm archipelago and I have recently started with golf. 

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You are one of the experts at Karolinska Institutet Innovations AB. What is KI Innovations?  

KI Innovations support scientists in the development of their ideas and innovations to commercialization. It is part of the Karolinska Institutet, the leading medical university in Sweden. 

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 How come you started as mentor for Neobiomics?  

The innovation incubator at KI Innovations (KI DRIVE) helps startup companies to grow to become larger companies. Mainly by support from experienced people, funding, networking and courses on different topics. I have been working as a coach to companies participating in KI DRIVE program since 2018. I got interested in Neobiomics as they have a product for children, and I felt that I could assist with knowledge from my work at Meda. I also have twins that were born six weeks too early and spent some time in the neonatal ward and would like to support in making ProPrems® available. 

I also have twins that were born six weeks too early… 

Previously, I had an interview with Frank Alkenbrecher, European Sales Manager at Neobiomics. He forwarded a question: “Hello Mårten, how does your experience in Business Development helps you when working with Neobiomics?” 

I have a scientific background from the Pasteur Institute in Paris, the Karolinska institute and Uppsala University. I have worked with business development both in drug development companies and pharmaceutical companies. Thus, I have worked both at small (outlicensing) and larger companies (in licensing and acquisitions).  

I worked at the pharmaceutical company Meda between 2005-2018. As responsible for global business development I worked with many different types of products, everything from consumer products to prescribed pharmaceutical products. Thus, I have a broad experience on products. We also made many various types of deals per year, from small ones to large acquisitions of companies. 

Thus, I believe I can assist Neobiomics with my knowledge from deal making and from contract negotiations.  

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How do you find launching a product from a small-scale start-up, rather than within a large corporation? 

It is always more fun to work in a small company. It is more hard work, and you must do a lot of tasks that is outside your comfort zone, but that is also how you grow as a person.  

The difference between small and larger company is that you have more resources and funding in the larger company. The smaller company’s fund-raising will always be one of the major priorities for the management. This is of course difficult as you also must prioritize marketing and sales to build turnover. 

All in all, I prefer small companies that are growing than working for large corporations. The decision making is much faster! 

You are appointed as the new Chairman for the Neobiomics Board of Directors. Congratulations! What would you like to accomplish in your new position?  

I am dedicated to realizing the ambition to make ProPrems® an easily available and widely used food supplement in paediatric care, which was why the company was started by Stefan Johansson. The team is working hard with building the company and to increase sales of the product. Sales is developing very positively especially having in mind the difficulties to establish new contacts in Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic. I am very proud to be part of the team and I look forward to securing Neobiomics market expansion.  

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Mårten Österlund together with Kristina Magnusson Borg (left) and Stefan Johansson (right) at a workshop with Neobiomics.  

Thanks for your answers! In the following article we will interview myself – Natasha Olsson, Marketing Manager at Neobiomics. What would you like to ask me? 

You have been part of the team starting up Neobiomics. What has been most exciting being part of the Team starting up the Company and where do you think the Company will be in two years’ time? 

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Please let us know what you think of this interview. What are you key learning outcomes? Connect with Mårten and the rest of the team at info@neobiomics.eu or by visiting www.proprems.eu.