Woodheads AB was formed in 1999 to manage the common interests of the 46 leading researchers in this field from five Swedish universities. Key to the initiative were Umeå Plant Science Center (one of the world’s best academic environments for forest biotechnology research) and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.
The majority of the researchers were collaborating in a gene sequencing and functional genomics program on poplar, which generated a large amount of commercially interesting innovations. To assist the individual researchers with legal support for patenting and commercializing their innovations, SweTree Technologies was formed. In return, SweTree Technologies received first right of refusal on all patents in plant and forest biotechnology emanating from the Woodheads’ members.
The strength of these researchers is their broad understanding of tree biology and biochemistry, and their work on functional genomics of model plants. They control the most advanced tree functional genomics platform in the world, the Populus Genomics Program. In the last 10 years, more than 400 million Swedish Kronor in grants has been awarded to the research groups associated to Woodheads AB. Woodheads AB is a shareholder of SweTree Technologies.