I have just arrived to Gothenburg, where I will spend the night. The reason is that tomorrow, I will give a presentation at AstraZeneca, one of the world's biggest drug development companies, which has one of its biggest sites here in Sweden. I will talk about possible collaborations, and more specifically present my work on how to use modelling to understand and treat insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. This has been described earlier, e.g. here and in the news.
I always enter with slightly mixed feelings into discussions about collaborations with drug development companies. On the one hand, they constitute a very important player in my research field, and it is therefore important and valuable to have good connections with them. Much of today's medicine is centered around them. But on the other hand, I am quite skeptical to our current extremely high usage of drugs to treat all sorts of ailments. I think that we as a medical society would be much better off to focus more of our money and attention at other types of treatments, treatments that focuses on restoration of health and not on symptom-repression, and treatments that make use of the body's own ability to heal itself. There is - unfortunately - a fundamental problem for drug companies to consider these kind of alternatives: these alternatives would fall outside of their normal business model, and would be hard for them to make money on.
In any case, my conclusion usually ends up in that one of these efforts does not exclude the other, and that these collaborations still can be an important stepping stone towards my more long-term goal: to help heal the medical community as such.
Wish me luck! :)