Jesper Hedberg

Director - Testa Center
Uppsala, Sweden

Jesper Hedberg has had the opportunity to dream, visualize, and grow the purpose-built research facility, known as the Testa Center, from scratch. At the facility – open to academia, small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) and industries – Jesper leads operations and customer support onsite. “Through the Testa Center, our aim is to accelerate industrialization of biological and technological innovations in biomanufacturing,” he says.

With a PhD from Karolinska Institute, Jesper began his career path as a specialist in protein chemistry and proteomics, joining GE in 2002. Though he briefly left the company in 2007, he rejoined in 2012 as line manager for a cell culture group responsible for bioreactor processes, product development, and market support. During this time, he says, “I had the great fortune to grow the group significantly and build and establish five new labs.” It was then a natural step for Jesper to engage in the Testa Center. He led the project from the start in 2017 through to the inauguration in August 2018.

Now, Jesper has found a passion working for the Testa Center where innovation is its focused mission. “My primary drivers are curiosity, research, and understanding how biological systems work,” he says - which makes the Testa Center a perfect environment. Three months after going live and with about two thirds of its capacity already in utilization, Jesper and his team have had a flying start accelerating the innovation rate in life sciences, with the ultimate goal of helping improve lives. “Innovative therapies and technologies for biomanufacturing will ultimately deliver better quality of life to patients.”

One of the key hurdles facing the healthcare industry today, according to Jesper, is the need for cost effective development and production solutions for biologics to meet growing patient needs. He also believes the industry is in the middle of a digital revolution and making the best use of current and future digital tools is vital. Technology will therefore enable us to be more effective in the development and production of biological pharmaceuticals.

One way emerging leaders or young professionals can make great strides in innovation is to be able to be open to do things in non-conventional ways. “I think the fear of making mistakes is a big hurdle. Nothing is impossible – it just takes a little longer.”

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"I think the fear of making mistakes is a big hurdle. Nothing is impossible – it just takes a little longer."