'Sweden is the best country to develop new medicinal products'
Publish date: 31 January 2018
Igor Lokot is the CEO of Double Bond Pharmaceuticals. He came to Sweden in 1999 from Belarus after finishing his studies as a PhD student.
Q: Why did you move to Stockholm?
I had just finished my studies as a PhD student and because of the collapse of the Soviet Union it was not possible to get work there. I moved here to have a better career, to develop myself in the best professional way. It was one of the best choices in my professional life.
Q: Tell us about your work life here.
We started one company here in Uppsala which developed new medicinal products. I’ve been involved since the beginning, from the patent process to manufacturing. In 2014 I left this company to start my own company, Double Bond Pharmaceuticals, to develop even better drugs. I think we are one of the fastest growing companies in the life science area, in Sweden.
In my world, Sweden is the best country to develop new medicinal products. This is for different reasons; political stability, good infrastructure, expertise, very close to both Eastern and Western Europe.
And in Sweden, Uppsala is the best place to develop new medicinal products due to the fact that it’s very close to Stockholm, very close to Arlanda and there are two universities in Uppsala.
We are located in Uppsala Business Park, so we are in the best place, in the best city, in the best country for the development of medicinal products.
Q: What is the difference doing business in Uppsala/Stockholm compared to Belarus?
The two countries are very different when it comes to work ethics. We have the advantage of having knowledge of both cultures – of Sweden and Belarus. This allows us to work with both countries and achieve great results. In Belarus, they have products that they have developed, but they don’t have the ability to market themselves or develop them for a global market. In Sweden you have the opportunity to access a global market.
Q: How easy is it to start your own business in Uppsala?
In Sweden, it’s 1,000 times easier to get funding or investment for your company than in Belarus. There is a very mature market for matching investors and entrepreneurs. It’s quite unique in the world, to have this full spectrum of investors – small, mid-sized or large investors.
It’s so simple to start a company, with a limited budget. In this country, if you are a hard worker, you will win. This is a country of huge possibilities for hard workers – regardless of profession, regardless of status. To innovate, to try to think outside the box, it’s not just with science.
Q: What does it mean for you having Stockholm so close?
The benefit is that you have more options. For me, as a married man with children, calm life works. If you want nightlife, theatre, opera or museums – it’s a short train ride. It’s like being in the same city! You have so many options.
For investor meetings, or other business, it’s so easy to commute. Uppsala is like a suburb of Stockholm.
Q: How is the commute from Uppsala to Stockholm?
The commute is perfect, especially if you have meetings in central Stockholm. In European countries, it’s really close – 40 minutes to the capital. We really benefit from this.
Q: Why do you enjoy living in Uppsala?
If you live in a big city, you usually have to go very far out to find this type of nature. There are not so many parks in Uppsala, because five minutes away you have the forest.
Q: What is unique about Swedish nature?
The Swedish people really respect the environment and you can see this in how well cared for the nature is. There is such a respect for clean water and clean air.
Q: Is Uppsala international?
A good example is my son’s soccer team that I coach. The team represents Yugoslavia, parts of Africa, Syria, Afganistan, Iran, Kurdistan, and Belarus. It’s extremely nice, everyone speaks Swedish.
Q: What is unique about Swedish people?
I would say the Swedish people are tolerant, practical, overall there is less hierarchy in the society.
Q: What is funny about Swedish people?
Their holidays, they have one day just to eat crayfish, one day to eat surströmming. I wonder why is it not a whole month or a season?
Q: What advice would you give someone moving to Stockholm?
Personally, I love this country more and more. If you use common sense you feel the reward of the friendly attitude.
Learning the language is very important. I will never speak without an accent, still it’s very important to show that you try to speak the same language.
A humble attitude is very appreciated, if you have that – you will be welcome here.
Q: Why should someone move to Sweden?
Sweden is most likely the best country in Europe, with the best opportunities. I like not being a Swede, and I think the people around me also like that I bring something of my culture.
Having other cultures makes the society here richer.
Q: Why should someone move to Uppsala?
You are connected to Stockholm as it’s quite close, but still you have the nature. In my opinion it’s the best part of Stockholm.
Q: And for families with children?
Uppsala is a different planet - the best planet for families with children.
It’s 100% more practical to have children in Sweden than in other countries – it’s so organized.