Lund University works actively to ensure that research outcomes are utilised to benefit society and help to solve the challenges that society faces. The University wants to promote innovations and product develop- ment in the food sector. This may concern consumer products, new production technologies, analysis and measurement methods, equipment, production and process control methods, meal solutions and suchlike. The work is conducted via research projects that lead directly to new products, concepts or services, but also through collaborations with external partners.
LU Innovation is the hub for innovation and commercialisation at Lund University. The hub works together with the University’s researchers and students to create benefits and growth in society.
The aim is to successfully utilise knowledge and research from Lund University to contribute to increased growth in Sweden. By supporting and developing research outcomes together with researchers and students, LU Innovation helps to ensure licencing deals.
An important part of this work is to provide commercialisation support to individual researchers or students. In addition to business developers with many years of experience of both research and the business sector, there are also patent engineers, communication managers and legal experts who can help during the process.
The holding company, LU Innovation System AB, is owned by the Swedish state, but is administered by Lund University. The holding company’s task is to create new companies based on knowledge and research outcomes from Lund University that contribute to growth and create job opportunities in Sweden.
Via the company element, the University can work operationally in taking new innovations to market – by assuming joint ownership in research-based companies or assisting already established companies with the licencing of research outcomes. The holding company supports newly established companies both operationally and financially, assist with contract templates and contribute board representation.
New research-based companies create growth and job opportunities throughout Sweden, while ensuring that valuable solutions benefit society. Since 1999 close to 80 new research companies have stemmed from Lund University. Together, these companies have created employment equivalent to over 2,800 man-years, and generated more than SEK 800 million in tax revenue.
Companies with origins in Lund University are active in a wide range of fields. Many are involved in various parts of the food production chain. Among the foremost companies are:
Aventure is a biotechnology company that develops functional food. The company’s main business idea is to create new food concepts based on natural ingredients with a focus on positive health effects for people.
Aventure’s products are developed and launched via subsidiaries:
- for a global business-to-business market
- water that reduces the blood sugar rise after a meal.
- that focuses on organic and fresh baby food products.
- machine for fresh smoothies and drinks made from berries.
- supply chain of quinoa, kaniwa and related crops from Bolivia, and high-end products derived from these or similar raw materials.
Chativa is a trademark and a patented production process in which carrots replace fat in meat products. Licences to manufacture products based on this patent have so far been signed with companies such as Ugglarps AB, HKScan and Mariannes morötter. In certain products the fat content has been reduced by more than 85% without adversely affecting consistency and flavour. The products are sold under the Chativa brand.
Concellae was started with the hope that severe infections could be cured using ordinary honey. The research findings that the company is based on concern 13 different lactic acid bacteria that are naturally present in bees’ stomachs. The bacteria have different antimicrobial characteristics that make them effective against a disease’s bacteria, even in humans. It is hoped that the company’s products will in the future become important alternatives to today’s antibiotic treatment or in cases of severe infection.
Gasporox is involved in developing a method for non-intrusive monitoring of gas in packaging. The company is now working with Å&R Carton to develop non-invasive test methods for sealed packaging, including laminated paper cartons to determine whether they remain sealed. Gasporox’s gas technology, based on laser sensors, can be used to monitor structural integrity and gas composition in sealed spaces, which is applicable for food and pharmaceutical packaging as well as for porous material and food. The package and contents remain intact and monitoring can be repeated, a factor that minimises wastage of packaging material and content.
Igelösa Life Science
Igelösa Life Science AB is a medical research company that focuses on heart and lung surgery and aims to develop new therapies, innovations and health strategies within organ transplantation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and lifestyle-related disease prevention. The company collaborates with leading researchers at Lund University and with other universities and hospitals.
Oatly was founded in the 1990s after researchers at Lund University discovered that natural enzymes can convert fibre-rich oats to nutrient-rich liquid food, which is perfectly adapted for people. The method is now patented and Oatly continues to work on improving the wellbeing of people with a product range based on Swedish oats.
Optifreeze is a new freezing method based on the same technology that enables grass to become green again after long, cold winters. Blades of grass contain a protein that protects the cells. Adding this natural protein to fruit and vegetables before freezing means that the cell structures are preserved intact. This in turn means that the food’s flavour, structure and quality can be maintained throughout the freezing process, a factor that can be appealing for companies that sell frozen ready meals.
By extracting antioxidants from the waste products of olive oil production the researchers behind Phenoliv can improve people’s health and also solve a much-discussed environmental problem in a cost-effective way. The process water from olive oil production contains plant components that consume considerable quantities of oxygen, which entails major problems for the environment, and each year 30 tons of process water from the production of olive oil is discharged into the Mediterranean. Phenoliv’s business is based on two discoveries, the purification of process water from olive oil production, and the extraction of health-promoting antioxidants.
Probi is a market leader in research-driven biotech focusing on probiotics. Through research the company has developed probiotics with well-documented positive health effects. Probi’s customers are international companies within the food, health and pharmaceutical industries. Products that contain the company’s probiotics are available in over 40 markets worldwide. The products include dietary supplements such as ProbiMage, ProbiFrisk and ProbiJärn.
In the mid-1980s studies began to examine whether the provision of the ”right type” of bacteria could help to save the lives of critically ill patients. A connection was observed, which led to the hypothesis that certain bacteria that were missing among the sickest patients could be medically beneficial, and ProViva was developed. It is a fruit drink available in several flavours and consistencies. All the variations contain the living bacteria culture Lactobacillus plantarum 299v (DSM 9843). In the production of ProViva, bacteria is added to a mix of oats, barley malt and water and allowed to grow for a day. The fermented oat mixture is then blended with fruits to become one of the ProViva products.
By replacing chemical additives in skin creams with quinoa starch, Speximo has developed a new type of natural skincare product. The result is a more skin-friendly, stable and less expensive cream than those products currently on the market. This development work was the basis for the Speximo research company.
Thylabisco is a company that has introduced an appetite regulation pill based on ordinary spinach. It contains thylakoids, which reduce the blood lipid levels and delay digestion while also providing natural nutrients. It is hoped that this method will help to prevent overweight and obesity. Aptiless is the first product on the market that utilises thylakoids.
ViscoSens is a company that helps bakeries to develop tasty bread that is healthier and keeps blood sugar in check. People who avoid carbohydrate-rich food miss out on important fibre and vitamins, and a group of researchers came up with the idea of developing nutritious bread that lowers blood sugar. The group developed a measurement method that predicts how the new bread will affect consumers’ blood sugar.