Christer Betsholtz appointed new Head of Karolinska Institutet and AstraZeneca’s Integrated Cardio Metabolic Centre

Karolinska Institutet and AstraZeneca have today announced the appointment of Professor Christer Betsholtz as the new Director of their Integrated Cardio Metabolic Centre (ICMC) in Stockholm, Sweden.

Christer Betsholtz,PhD, is a leading scientific authority in the field of vascular biology with more than 300 publications. He is currently professor with tenure at Uppsala University and Karolinska Institutet and will maintain his professional appointment and a significant research presence at Uppsala University. Professor Betsholtz will also take up a part time position as Chief Scientist at AstraZeneca. Through the synergies of these roles, he will provide a day-to-day link between the ICMC, the universities and AstraZeneca.

Karolinska Institutet and AstraZeneca established the Integrated Cardio Metabolic Centre in 2013, with the aim to identify and validate novel targets within cardio metabolic diseases, focusing on three strategic research areas: heart failure, diabetes and chronic kidney disease across both small molecules and biologics. The collaboration goes deeper than the usual industry-academia partnership, as scientists from both partners work side-by-side in a dedicated university unit to develop new therapies for people in need.

Christer Betsholtz is truly excited about his new role: "To me, the ICMC represents a unique type of platform for academia-industry collaboration that I am certain will deliver fundamental knowledge suitable for the translation into new therapies. I look forward to working closely together with ICMC’s many talented researchers and help building their networks and collaboration with AstraZeneca scientists and academic institutions worldwide.”

Menelas Pangalos, Executive Vice President, Innovative Medicines & Early Development at AstraZeneca said: “Christer Betzholtz is a world renowned scientist in his field. He is also a great leader and mentor. He is committed to raising ICMC to the next level, where we will be working more on joint projects, publishing more joint publications and truly establish ICMC as world leading in scientific excellence.”

When the collaboration was announced in 2013, the contract was initially for five years. The collaboration has since then been prolonged until 2020. AstraZeneca will be contributing a total of up to USD 100 million, adding significant commitment to other collaborations with KI and other Swedish Universities.

Acting Vice-Chancellor at Karolinska Institutet, Karin Dahlman-Wright, says: “It has become increasingly clear that industrial and academic scientists provide complementary skills that are needed to meet current challenges in medicine and health. Although we have been leading in biomedical sciences, we need partnerships in order to develop new therapies for patients. This collaboration is uniquely powerful as it goes beyond traditional partnerships.”

Under the leadership of Christer Betsholtz, ICMC intends to become a hub for building fruitful networks within cardio metabolic diseases in Sweden and globally, tapping into frontline scientific excellence. ICMC will endeavor to draw on nature’s own solutions to regeneration to develop regenerative medicine therapies to meet today’s unmet medical needs in diseases such as heart failure and diabetes.

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About Karolinska Institutet/AstraZeneca ICMCEstablished in June 2013, the Karolinska Institutet/AstraZeneca Integrated Cardio Metabolic Centre represents a unique and exciting opportunity for academic scientists to collaborate and work side-by-side with scientists from the pharmaceutical industry to discover and develop the next generation of medicines to treat cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Currently there are nine principal investigators leading research groups based at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. In total, more than 50 scientists, both from Karolinska Institutet and AstraZeneca, are employed at the centre today.

About Karolinska InstitutetKarolinska Institutet is one of the world’s leading medical universities. Its vision is to significantly contribute to the improvement of human health. Karolinska Institutet accounts for the single largest share of all academic medical research conducted in Sweden and offers the country’s broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet selects the Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine.

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three main therapy areas – oncology; respiratory and autoimmunity; and cardiovascular and metabolic disease. We are also active in infection, neuroscience and inflammatory diseases through collaborations with others. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit:



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Christer Betsholtz appointed new Head of Karolinska Institutet and AstraZeneca’s Integrated Cardio Metabolic Centre