What we do

We help researchers and clinicians detect previously unknown stories by producing novel insights and data at unparalleled speed and accuracy. So patients can receive better drugs.

Symcel

We were founded with the aim of providing the most robust answer to the simple question if cells and bacteria are dead or alive. To bring the possibility of direct metabolic measurements to the fields of drug development, exploratory research and in-vitro diagnostics.

Symcel is a privately held biotechnology company located in Stockholm Sweden and was founded in 2004 by Dr. Dan Hallén and Professor Ingemar Wadsö. Dr. Wadsö is a leading authority around bioactivity measurements and has together with colleagues at Lund University been instrumental in the development of the field. Dr. Hallén had a strong background in drug development and saw a significant need for better cell-based screening models to go from in-vitro to in-vivo experiments. Since the start, the team has expanded to include specialists from many disciplines within the biotechnology and pharmaceutical development industries, as well as a highly skilled and motivated sales force.

After a thorough product development phase for our new instrument, the calScreener™, we launched the device on the research market in 2014 and are now focusing on bringing our novel technology to academic and pharmaceutical labs all over the world.

Since 2017 we are strengthening our position to enter the in-vitro diagnostics market within antibiotic susceptibility testing. We received one of the most substantial Swedish Horizon 2020 grants in Dec 2017 of €3.6 million for the clinical validation of the calScreener as a diagnostic device to decide which antibiotic(s) to use for patients with sepsis.

The Team

Picture of Jesper Ericsson who acts as the chief executive officer

Dr. Jesper Ericsson

CEO

Build with passion and enthusiasm!

Engineer with a PhD in medical science to leading S&M of research-based products, Jesper is an all-around entrepreneur with a unique skillset ideal for innovating in the life sciences.

Picture of Magnus Jansson who acts as the chief scientific officer

Dr. Magnus Jansson

CSO

All in all a wizard!

Magnus has a lifelong passion for science, including a PhD in biochemistry and 30 years in the industry. He’s been applying his unparalleled expertise as Symcel’s CSO for almost a decade.

Picture of Karin Gillner who acts as a project manager

Dr. Karin Gillner

Project Manager

The Determinator

From Sweden to Australia, Karin has a PhD and multiple postdocs on stem cell research, followed by project management experience from the renowned SciLifeLab.

Picture of Marta Veses Garcia who acts as an application scientist

Dr. Marta Veses Garcia

Application Scientist

Fun, loving home to a trillion bacteria!

Through her PhD and research in the UK, Sweden and Spain, Marta has a thorough knowledge of microbiology and the development of diagnostic tests for antibiotic resistance determination.

Picture of Pelle Friberg who acts as the sales and marketing manager

Pelle Friberg

Sales and Marketing Manager

I will find you and I will call you…

Originally with a master’s in physics, Pelle has an entrepreneurial mindset and first-hand business experience from running his own startup and driving sales within the life science industry.

Picture of Wilhelm Paulander who acts as the business development manager

Dr. Wilhelm Paulander

Business Development Manager

From science to business!

Wilhelm has been working with academic research in genetics and in biotechs and startups with the development of diagnostic devices in the US, UK and Scandinavia.

Picture of Tzeni Karamanli who acts as a marketing specialist

Tzeni Karamanli

Marketing Specialist

Internet Meme Explorer

With a background in molecular biology and a master’s in bioentrepreneurship, Tzeni has rigorous training on bridging science and business with a special focus on creative marketing.

Picture of Sandra Månsson who acts as a production and application engineer

Sandra Månsson

Production & Application Engineer

Trust me, I’m an engineer

With her scientific background and master’s in biotechnology engineering, Sandra has gained important experience in process design and industrial applications.

A picture of Niklas Jakobsson who is responsible for quality assurance and regulatory affairs

Niklas Jakobsson

Quality Assurance & Regulatory Affairs

Opportunity and risk in balance

Starting with a master’s in physics as an R&D engineer, Niklas has more than 20 years of experience and ample knowledge on quality assurance and regulatory affairs.

The Board

Picture of board chairman Björn Varnestig

Dr. Björn Varnestig

Chairman of the Board

Opportunity hunter – serial entrepreneur, financier and consultant within the Life Sciences

Picture of board member Leif Andersson

Leif Andersson

Member of the Board

Passionate entrepreneur – founder of Areim Funds with a capital base exceeding €2.5 billions

Picture of board member Mats Hederos

Mats Hederos

Member of the Board

Health enthusiast – CEO of AMF Fastigheter, one of the largest Real Estate Companies in Sweden

Picture of board member Carl-Johan Spak

Dr. Carl-Johan Spak

Member of the Board

Network builder – Executive VP at Recipharm with 40 years of experience in the Life Sciences

Picture of board member Stefan Löfås

Dr. Stefan Löfås

Member of the Board

Science for health – vast technical and business experience from small to large corportations including Scientific Director at GE Healthcare Bio-Sciences

Picture of board member Erik Walldén

Erik Walldén

Member of the Board

Business driver – internationally recognized medtech executive with 30 years of experience from the life sciences

Thomas Eldered

Deputy Board Member

Visionary entrepreneur – Founder and
major shareholder of Recipharm
and Founder of Cobra Biologics

Christina Hallén

Deputy Board Member

Symcel at Heart – Wife to the
late founder Dr Dan Hallén

Our Story

Our original founder, Dr. Dan Hallén, sadly passed away in cancer in 2011. This is the story of Symcel through the lens of his academic partner and co-founder of Symcel, Professor Ingemar Wadsö.

Picture of Ingemar Wadsö who is the co-founder of Symcel

Professor Ingemar Wadsö

In 1999 Dr. Dan Hallén, at that time employed by the pharmaceutical company Pharmacia & Upjohn in Stockholm, had a discussion with Ingemar Wadsö, Profesor in thermochemistry at Lund University. Dr. Wadsö is an authority in the development of different types of isothermal microcalorimeters, including measurement techniques and peripheral equipment. Some of the instruments developed by Dr. Wadsö and his co-workers were designed for use in the determination of fundamental thermodynamic properties of chemical compounds, whereas many were primarily intended for the monitoring of activities of living cellular systems; mainly microorganisms and human cells and tissues. In cooperation with instrument industries, several of them were further developed to become commercialized instruments. Dr. Hallén, with a scientific background in the thermochemistry group in Lund, saw a definite need in the pharmaceutical industry for new types of quantitative analytical methods in assessments of cell-drug interactions in the developments of new drugs. Preferably, the methods should reflect functional properties related to the activity of the cellular material. Furthermore, Hallén put forward the idea of employing a sample holder in the format of a well-plate (micro titer-plate), which thus would lead to a multi-channel instrument. As an outcome of that discussion, Hallén and Wadsö decided to start a joint project with the aim to construct a novel multi-channel microcalorimeter for use on a routine level in determination of the activity of cellular systems. It was decided that the instrument should be designed and built by Wadsö at the Chemical Center in Lund, while Hallén should perform biological test experiments and evaluate the usefulness of the instrument in the pharmaceutical industry and needs for a commercial instrument of that kind.

The development of a 48-channel isothermal microcalorimeter started soon after that discussion. The instrument is of the heat flow type made up by three squared aluminium blocks forming a linear connected to form a linear assembly. The 48-channel microcalorimetric unit is suspended in a cavity of the third block. The box-shaped sample holder, with its 48 vials that contain samples and non-reactive reference materials, is introduced into the calorimetric unit through a horizontal square-shaped channel in the block assembly. The block assembly is suspended inside a Dewar vessel.

After about three years of development work, a prototype instrument with very satisfactory properties was materialized. Hallén’s test experiments with living cells and tissues were conducted at the pharmaceutical company Biovitrum, Stockholm. Results were judged to qualify the prototype instrument for further developments aiming at a commercial instrument, useful for routine measurements in areas like the pharmaceutical industry and clinical laboratories. Symcel was founded in 2004. Subsequently, Hallén started the translation of the prototype instrument to become the commercial product, the calScreener.

Sadly, Hallén became seriously ill and did not live to see the completion of the project. Dan was struck by cancer and passed away in 2011.

Thankfully Dr. Hallén’s previous colleague in the pharmaceutical industry, Dr. Magnus Jansson, had already joined the company and has since 2011 led the development and scientific work at Symcel as our CSO. The current team at Symcel has extensive experience in multiple disciplines within the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry with five team members holding a Ph.D. in medical science.