Olof Eriksson

Senior Director PET Imaging, Associate Professor at Uppsala University – and Cycling Enthusiast.

I had already started working at Antaros Medical in 2016, and was doing so exclusively for two years when I received an offer from Uppsala University that I couldn’t refuse. Although I returned to the academic world, I continued working part-time at Antaros Medical. I wanted to maintain contact because there’s energy at Antaros Medical, a drive to advance that I didn’t want to lose.

Research resides in my and Antaros Medical’s DNA
In my heart and soul, I’m a researcher – that’s what brought me to Antaros Medical initially. I was involved in developing new PET imaging methods for a project that was extremely exciting scientifically. And it was nothing unique for that particular season. We’re generally research-intensive and also have the attitude that all challenges – even complex ones – can be solved. If we need to develop unique methods, we will do so if it helps the study and the customer. This has been in our cultural DNA from the very start and, of course, it’s because the founders of Antaros Medical are like that as individuals. Despite outstanding organizational growth and the recruitment of new employees, this culture is still integral to us.

“There’s energy at Antaros Medical, a drive to advance that I didn’t want to lose.”

Antaros Tracer ‒ A scientist’s dream with potential for success
A clear example of this inquisitive, research-driven culture is the founding of Antaros Tracer, a new sister company to Antaros Medical, where I am one of the co-owners. Antaros Tracer’s focus is to develop new PET tracers for detecting various pathophysiological processes, including inflammation, fibrosis and the linked area of immunology, to support the development of new therapeutic options.

Fibrosis, or scar tissue, is a positive phenomenon on the skin, but when this occurs inside organs, it is often associated with chronic inflammation and causes affected organs to function poorly. If fibrosis occurs in a person’s liver, for example, the person won’t feel it, and clinicians can’t “see” it except by taking biopsies which are invasive and normally unpleasant for the patient. We are trying to solve this challenge.

Of course it’s difficult to introduce new PET imaging methods and tracers into the clinic. Tracers are molecules and it’s rare for novel molecules to be introduced into a human being – it’s what scientists dream about all their lives. But Antaros Tracer has the potential to succeed. We have strong expertise in protein chemistry, disease expertise and, naturally, the imaging know-how. We also understand drug development so we can see the clinical needs in a disease area. We have even secured IP for three different molecules that we can now develop further as PET tracers. This means that we will grow as a company a lot this year.

A family out cycling
My double commitment at both Uppsala University and Antaros Medical means that I work a lot. I choose to spend any time beyond that with my family. I have four children aged between four and thirteen. We live somewhat outside Uppsala. Our great common interest is bicycles ‒ both regular and cargo bikes. I don’t have a car and I cycle between school, preschool, and my two offices. And it’s no sacrifice: I get a strong feeling of freedom when I’m riding a bike.