President & CEO GE Nordics and CEO Testa Center
Dr. Lotta Ljungqvist’s curiosity about the ingenuity of the human body led her to study biochemistry, achieving a PhD in Biochemical Engineering, and ultimately to a career in life sciences. She has worked in both the pharmaceutical industry and now for equipment and solutions providers to offer the tools and infrastructure used in the manufacture of biopharmaceuticals. Her continuing curiosity, passion for science and excitement to be part of an industry that is still evolving have fueled her career.
Lotta currently fills two leadership roles at GE, either one of which would be a full time job for most people. As CEO for GE in the Nordics Lotta supports the growth of GE in the region by supporting and facilitating work between local teams, government & the corporate C-suite. ”I have learned how important it is to have the right person at the right place. And how important it is that we make use of the diversity we have among us. I think we would benefit from even more diversity and openness to new ideas. One key factor for that is of course to learn how to listen, I mean truly listen. I have to admit that I am still learning to be a good listener,” she says.
In addition, Dr. Ljungqvist is CEO of Testa BioProcess Innovation Center currently being established by GE in Uppsala, and dedicated to advancing bioprocess development in collaboration with the Swedish government, bridging the gap between academia, subject matter experts & industry. Explains Lotta, collaborations between large industry players and local companies or startups is a key way to drive innovation and advancement in the Life Sciences.
And innovation for the Life Sciences industry is its own reward for Lotta. Having been a part of advancements and R&D in her career, she has seen the impact her work has had on patients all over the world. “I will never forget the day when a biopharmaceutical that I had taken part of developing was tested in clinical trials. The excitement for that milestone in combination with the responsibility that we have to provide safe, high-quality biopharmaceuticals or tools for the industry still engages me.”
Looking towards future trends and directions in bioprocess, Lotta sees significant opportunities to support increased productivity within the biopharma industry by leveraging GE Digital technology investments. Optimized biopharma development and manufacturing will ultimately support lower costs of medicines. By combining the industrial tools available within GE, we could make great strides in improving access to biopharmaceuticals. Digital tools can also help sharing the expertise required to produce biopharmaceuticals and therefore lower the threshold for implementation of new biopharmaceuticals.
For young people considering career opportunities, Lotta suggests: Early in your career try various roles and assignments to identify something you passionately can invest your life in. That typically opens up many opportunities in years to come. “The situation for women particularly in business is different across the globe, but one thing that we have in common is that you have to be brave to take on more challenging roles. These opportunities do not always come at the right time, but you should work with you managers to ensure that you can fulfill your role while maintaining work-life balance,” she says.