Letter from the Operations Team | March 2018

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Dear valued members and friends of SACC-NE, 

It is with the utmost pleasure that we are writing this letter to inform you on all the exciting things that have taken place since we last touched base in last month's "President's letter" as well as to inform you, the SACC-NE community, on what we have in the works moving forward!

This month's letter is brought to you by SACC-NE Operational Team members: Anna Persson, Director of Communications and Operations, and Erik Högberg, Project Management & Strategy Development Intern.

Shortly after last month's letter was published, the team traveled to New York to visit with Business Sweden and the Swedish Consulate General of New York, who we look forward to working closely with moving forward. Sweden may be a small country, but the Northeastern U.S. is home to several organizations and companies with Swedish ties. A goal moving forward will be to strengthen the bond with our brother and sister organizations in the region, to be able to further promote the Swedish mission together as a team: Team Sweden! 

With planning and preparation for our upcoming event ("The New 'Safe' In Self Driving Panel Discussion") in full effect, we are happy to also be able to announce a deeper collaboration with the German-American Business Council (GABC), who we have the pleasure of working with on not only one, but 2 events in 2 days! March 20th and March 21st are the dates to jolt down in your calendar for this two day extravaganza focusing on both Self-driving as well as Lifescience and Biopharma. More information regarding this can be found under the "Events" tab here on our website. Speaking of tightening our bonds with other European Chambers, we also send out a thank you to the French-American Chamber of Commerce (FACCNE) for a lovely International Women's Day networking cocktail event. As with GABC, we look forward to future collaborative events and projects with our European friends!    

Speaking of SACC-NE's partners and friends; A new tab can now be found on the SACC-NE website, labeled "Partner Events". There we aspire to add all the different events that our Corporate and Organizational Partners host. We look forward to updating it further to show off all that Sweden has to offer in the New England region, as well as what our Partners might have in store elsewhere as well! 

Since last we spoke we have also had the pleasure of welcoming a new SACC-NE Volunteer to our team: Douglas, who comes to us from Stockholm, Sweden by way of Monaco. We look forward to introducing him to the community on both our events but also here on the website. Other happenings that are worth looking forward to is our upcoming "Tea Talk: Swedish Fika" this month and Speaker Night coming up next month. More info will be announced through our website but also through mail, so make sure to subscribe to our newsletters. 

As always, we have a lot of irons in the fire, and we look forward to being able to announce each one of the different projects as they mature. Until then we thank you, the SACC-NE community, and hope to see many of you on our upcoming events!

With sincere appreciation, 
Anna & Erik

SACC-NE Operations Team

SACC-NE Corporate Partner SOBI Launches Enhanced Corporate Sustainability Initiative


We are excited to share the following news coming out off SACC-NE Corporate Partner: SOBI!

"Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (publ) (Sobi™) announces today, on Rare Disease Day, the launch of an enhanced corporate sustainability programme with a strong connection to the company's strategy of providing sustainable access to treatments for rare diseases.

As part of the new sustainability strategy, Sobi has identified several focus areas that are important for both the stakeholder communities and Sobi's business. Sobi's stakeholders include the communities of patients and caregivers affected by rare diseases, the local communities around the globe in which Sobi operates, the community of companies that form the biopharmaceutical industry, shareholders and the communities of individual employees who comprise Sobi. The topics we understand to be of most importance to these communities and to the business are:

  • Responsibility: this includes complying with all applicable laws and regulations; a key priority here is responsible tax management.
  • Compliance and ethics: this includes acting ethically and with integrity; a key priority is patient safety and ethical practices and collaborations, including transparency of transactions with healthcare organisations and transparency of clinical trial results.
  • Value: this includes mission-driven top concerns for stakeholder communities – sustainable access to treatments for rare diseases, and strategic research and development of new medicines.

"Sobi has a vision of becoming a global leader in providing access to innovative treatments that make a significant difference for individuals with rare diseases," said Guido Oelkers, Sobi CEO. "Sustainability is a vital part of our vision and overall corporate strategy. A sustainable business entails a commitment to responsibility for patients and employees, reduced environmental impact from operations and treatment, as well as long-term sustainable profitability so that we can continue to reinvest in developing new therapies for rare diseases and serve our communities for many years to come."

Examples of Sobi's recent progress and commitments to sustainability include:

  • Secure and sustainable supply: Sobi provides access to 36 products across 72 countries. These products are medicines that have an important impact on patients, and in many cases are essential for life. Ensuring secure, reliable, sustainable supply of these medicines is therefore one of Sobi's highest priorities. Sobi's understanding of the complex healthcare environments across all the regions we work in has enabled supply and access to treatments whose introduction to the health system would otherwise have been delayed or prevented. Sobi also continues its long-standing commitment to provide emergency supply services to patients.
  • Sustainable access to medicines: Sobi is committed to playing an active role in the dialogue with stakeholders, governments and healthcare systems across the world, to ensure that patients get timely and sustainable access to the medicines they need, irrespective of where they live and the level of development of their local healthcare system. Sobi is also working with developing countries to lay the foundation for sustainable access to treatments for rare diseases, often in partnership with governments and organisations to secure long-term change. Sobi and its collaboration partner Bioverativ have pledged to donate up to 1 billion international units of clotting factor between 2015 and 2025 for people with haemophilia in developing countries to enable predictable supply of clotting factor treatment. The World Federation of Hemophilia is leading this treatment initiative, which up to the end of 2017 had provided treatment for over 15 000 people. Sobi is also taking a leading role in the PARTNERS programme, recently established by the European Haemophilia Consortium, to bridge the gap between the recognised minimum haemophilia treatment recommendations and the volume of therapy available in several European countries with developed healthcare systems but highly limited budgets. Through such collaborative partnerships with national member organisations, government health systems and healthcare providers, Sobi is working actively to transform donation programmes into sustainable access. For people living with hereditary tyrosinaemia type 1 (HT-1), efforts are ongoing to secure government approval and long-term access to treatment in Eastern Europe, Asia and the Middle East. And in the US, Sobi provides financial assistance for eligible patients in need of treatment with its medicines.
  • Strategic research and development: Sobi has set out to create a self-sufficient R&D pipeline within the coming 5-10 years. Sobi reinvests earnings into building further understanding of and in the research and development of treatments for rare disease in the core areas of Haemophilia, Inflammation and Genetics & Metabolism.

Sobi will present its Annual and Sustainability reports on 15 April 2018.

Sobi affiliates increase commitments to corporate social responsibility

In addition to the new global programme, Sobi's affiliate organisations across North America and Europe also reiterated their commitment to rare diseases and to sustainable business through actions of corporate social responsibility (CSR).

Sobi North America, for example, launched a CSR programme that includes a commitment to patient access to Sobi's products as well as initiatives designed to increase volunteerism and philanthropy within the North American operation. The organisation has established two team-wide volunteer days to provide employees with opportunities to support their communities, supplementing its existing unlimited vacation policy which can also be used for volunteering. The affiliate also initiated its first donation/matching programme to support the Sobi team in the US National Organization for Rare Disorders' (NORD's) 7,000 Mile Rare Movement Challenge, which seeks to raise awareness and funding for the 7,000 rare diseases identified to date.

"The Sobi North America team has always been committed to serving our communities, but this new plan adds intention and structure to our grassroots efforts, with the goal of maximising our impact," said Rami Levin, Head of Sobi in North America. "We are also committed to ensuring the patients we serve can access the medicines we provide, and we have committed to evaluate every request for support in this area and to strive to achieve a meaningful solution."

In the UK and Republic of Ireland (RoI), Sobi supports leading charities such as the Cambridge Rare Disease Network, CLIMB (Children Living with Inherited Metabolic Disorders) now known as Metabolic Society UK, and Findacure and over the years, many UK meetings on Rare Disease Days. Sobi also supports a number of Haemophilia voluntary groups in the UK and RoI. Neil Dugdale, General Manager of Sobi UK and RoI acts as a trustee for a new rare disease charity, Rare Disease Nurse Network (RDNN) which aims to provide specialist nurse support for those affected by rare diseases. Sobi is also a sponsor of Medics4RareDiseases which is launching today on Rare Disease Day. This educational group reaches out to medical students and doctors in training with a view to improving the rare disease patient journey and reducing the diagnostic odyssey. Sobi provides many support materials free of charge for patients whose illnesses fall within the company's therapeutic area of interest in order to raise disease awareness. Sobi has also been invited to give evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Rare Disease (APPG) to help ensure rare diseases receive the government support and funding that they require.

"The Sobi affiliate in the UK and RoI has always played an active role with many communities associated with rare diseases," said Neil Dugdale. "As Sobi aims to become a leader in rare disease, we will continue to champion the rare disease patient, as well as fight for patient access to the most innovative drugs within the UK and RoI."

The RoI has recently become the first country in Europe to give every person with haemophilia A and B access to the newest generation of haemophilia treatments, extended half-life therapies, a demonstration of Sobi's desire to provide patient access to these innovative products.

In Italy, Sobi is supporting an international cinema festival dedicated to rare diseases – A Rare Look – described as "a real narrative journey, through cinema, in the world of rare diseases".

In Spain, Sobi in partnership with local haemophilia organisations, held a photo exhibition and competition late last year designed to raise awareness of haemophilia, a rare bleeding disorder; after judging in Madrid, the exhibition went on tour to several major regional hospitals.

About Sobi™

Sobi™ is an international speciality healthcare company dedicated to rare diseases. Our vision is to be recognised as a global leader in providing access to innovative treatments that make a significant difference for individuals with rare diseases.

The product portfolio is primarily focused on treatments in Haemophilia and Specialty Care. Partnering in the development and commercialisation of products in specialty care is a key element of our strategy. Sobi has pioneered in biotechnology with world-class capabilities in protein biochemistry and biologics manufacturing. In 2017, Sobi had total revenues of SEK 6.5 billion and approximately 850 employees. The share (STO:SOBI) is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm. More information is available at www.sobi.com."
(source: SOBI through Cision Newswire.)

President's letter | February 2018

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Dear valued members and friends of SACC-NE, 

With 2018 in full swing, I’m pleased to share with you some of the achievements we made in
2017 and plans we have in store for you this year.

Last year was a historic one for our organization – we hosted SACC Summit, the largest Swedish
American conference of the year in the country, put on 15 events including a fireside chat with
2016 Nobel Laureate in Economics Professor Bengt Holmström, a talk with Professor Max
Tegmark, the President of KTH and Sweden's Minister of Education, and many more.

What we learned is that our community is starving for interesting, cutting edge content and
access to a high quality network that will either lead to valuable business opportunities and/or
new meaningful connections. For us, that meant developing deeper partnerships and programs
with Sweden’s Consulate of New York, the US Department of Commerce and Trade, SACC-USA,
SwedenBio, KTH, KTH Innovation, Business Sweden, IVA, local international chambers of
commerce and Boston’s Chamber of Commerce. We’ve done so with the goal of serving as the
landing hub and platform for all things related to Swedish-American business in the region.
More recently, this has extended to expanding our network to other Nordic players –
something we are excited to share with you in the coming months.

With strong partners in place, we are working harder than ever to crystallize our offering for
our Professional Members and Corporate Members, who are the lifeline of our organization.
We’re especially committed to highlighting the impressive and inspiring work our Corporate
Members and Partners are doing to facilitate trade and investment between Sweden and the
United States. In doing so, we have worked to improve our offering to be one that is more
closely tailored to our members’ respective needs and goals. Moving forward, you will see more
of our Corporate Members highlighted in our newsletters, social media, and blogs while
participating as speakers and/or panelists at our events in an effort to produce programs and
content that is uniquely relevant to our community.

Below are just some of the topics we will introduce in our events and programs:

  •  Self-driving
  •  Cryptocurrencies
  •  Net neutrality
  •  Leadership
  •  Cultural awareness
  •  Biotech
  •  AI

On a personal level, I am truly excited to see how SACC-NE has transformed and grown over the
last few years. We are committed as a team to celebrate Swedish innovation, talent, culture,
and success and even more so to serving as the business bridge between Sweden and New

I look forward to seeing you at our future events!

At your service,
Christina Björnström

President, SACC-NE

SACC-NE's In Focus Series #1 | Marcus Dahllöf


In this first edition of SACC-NE's In Focus, we meet the Program Director of the MIT Startup Exchange and fellow Swede Marcus Dahllöf

Marcus, a former elite rower, is a two-time tech entrepreneur with one exit to his name. In 2016, he took the position as the Program Director of the MIT Startup Exchange, which serves to connect Global1000 corporations with MIT startups through events, an online platform and an accelerator program.

Having both consulted for companies and mentored for the MIT Venture Mentoring Service, we decided to pick Marcus' brain about different entrepreneurial and startup topics given his vast experience in the sector.

Tweet-sized elevator pitch on who you are?

Strategist and innovator helping build tech startups that make the world better.

Boston and Stockholm both have a vibrant startup culture. What is the big thing that sets them apart? 

MIT, where I work, is defined by incredibly deep technology expertise and discipline in building a company.  I haven’t seen that in many other places.

If you could travel back to the first day of your first startup, what advice would you have given yourself? 

Look for a great team, that is the proxy for everything, whether problem solving, fundraising or attracting further talent.  After that, just do it, ask for permission later.

What are some common traps you see younger entrepreneurs getting caught in?

Building consumer apps that solve “convenience” problems without underlying hard tech.

Best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs with no startup experience?

Work at a rapidly growing company, look for opportunity to wear many hats.

Introducing our New Intern: Erik Högberg

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On January 17th, SACC-NE had the pleasure of welcoming Erik Högberg to the Operations team, as the Chamber's Project Management & Strategy Development Intern.  

Erik joins us directly from Linköping University, where he is pursuing his Master's of Science degree in International Business and Economics. He has plenty of non-profit organizational experience, with a chairmanship at the Linköping district's Swedish Young Shareholders' Association being his latest commitment before leaving Sweden for the U.S. Being of both Swedish and Greek descent, as well as having professional and educational experience from both France and Canada, Erik is passionate about international trade and looks to bring that passion into his work at SACC-NE. 

We are beyond excited to be able to welcome him aboard! Get to know Erik a bit better by taking a look at the brief interview that we conducted with him after a couple of weeks on the job: 

What made you want to join SACC-NE? 

- I am always in a self-improving state of mind and actively search for opportunities to develop and improve myself further. This internship not only exposes me to how different businesses, in both the U.S. and Sweden, function but also provides me with tangible, real-life knowledge and experience from a dynamic market such as Boston. For someone who is constantly curious and wants to learn more about business and international trade, this was truly the perfect fit. 

 If you had to summarize your time at SACC-NE so far in one word, what would it be?

-  Shangri-La (chuckles). On a more serious note though, it has truly been everything I wished for and I am incredibly excited to continue working alongside the Operations Team, as well as continue interacting with the fantastic community that is the SACC-NE Network. 

Any advice for newly arrived internationals in the Boston area?  

- Keeping in mind that Swedes generally like keeping to themselves more than Americans do, I believe it is important to be open-minded and not to get too comfortable in everyday life. The word "yes" should be your best friend as opportunities to connect with new people and experience new things are always around the corner. 

Where do you see yourself in the future?

- Hopefully in an international business setting, getting to work with management and organizational culture/psychology questions. On a personal level, I still see myself rooting for my Carolina Panthers, exploring all the hiking trails that I possibly can and keeping my coffee addiction up and running.