"I want to take my own ideas further"
Physician Gunvor Ekman-Ordeberg's discoveries may make childbirth easier for many women. She finds her reward and inspiration in the joy of helping others.
Dr Ekman-Ordeberg discovered early on in her research career that the cervix of the uterus consists mainly of connective tissue, not muscle as was generally believed. She also discovered that the regular administration of prostaglandin to women causes the cervix to soften. This is actually an inflammation reaction, but in this case it is a desired reaction.
"I noticed in my clinical work that women who were taking anticoagulants such as heparin and, later, Fragmin gave birth more quickly and easily than women who were not taking this type of medication." she explains. "It would be ideal for a woman about to give birth if we had a medication of the same type as Fragmin, but without the anticoagulant effect."
Together with her colleague Anders Malmström and scientists who worked on Fragmin, she has applied for a patent in Sweden and several other countries - this medication will certainly arouse global interest - for what is currently known by the nondescript name of DF01.
The group formed the risk capital company Dilafor AB in 2003. The development of a new pharmaceutical is an expensive process, and initial costs are considerably higher than income. DF01 has successfully passed three necessary stages before what will probably be a widespread launch. The first stage required testing in animals, and this was followed by Phase 1 testing in healthy volunteers. Phase 2 involves clinical trials.
"Of course I regard myself as an innovator and entrepreneur, and I want to take my own ideas further. But the fundamental idea throughout has been to ensure that these women get help - that's where I draw my inspiration."
Gunvor's advice to other innovators
- Use KIAB, sound out ideas with them, and investigate whether your ideas hold water.
- You must believe in your idea - the innovation process will demand a great deal of hard work. You can forget about the 40-hour week!
|Education||Registered physician, Uppsala 1972; Ph.D. (Medicine) Lund 1982.|
|Employed||Professor in obstetrics and gynaecology, consultant at Karolinska University Hospital, founder of Dilafor AB.|
Text: Unit for Bioentrepreneurship, 2009
Photo: Camilla Svensk