I have a broad experience in drug discovery within AstraZeneca having worked across several therapeutic areas since 1990. For more than a decade, my focus has been on robotic microscopy and high-content biology, and I’ve established several laboratories based on these methods.

I joined Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2017 to bring biological insight to cellular delivery of novel chemical modalities, such as modified mRNA, using advanced nano-formulations.

I have established bioscience and high-throughput methods and improved our data science capabilities using automation and AI-assisted data acquisition and analysis.

My publication record includes more than 25 peer-reviewed articles, and I have worked in close collaboration with McMaster University in Canada and Lund University and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

There are various proteins involved in disease that conventional molecules can’t target. We refer to them as ‘undruggable’. By using new drug modalities which recognise the genetic sequence, and nanotechnology to deliver them directly to the site, we open whole new possibilities for treatment

Alan Sabirsh Principal Scientist, Advanced Drug Delivery, Pharmaceutical Sciences, R&D


Principal Scientist, Advanced Drug Delivery, Pharmaceutical Sciences, R&D


Formed the Intracellular Drug Delivery unit within Pharmaceutical Sciences to study nanomedicines mechanistically from a biological perspective.


Founded the current high content biology unit in Gothenburg, implemented global informatics streams for image analysis and ran the first machine learning analysis of histological samples.


Established central nervous system and pain high content biology unit for robotic cytometric imaging and analysis in Södertälje.

  Featured publications

Single-cell transcriptome profiling of human pancreatic islets in health and type 2 diabetes

Segerstolpe Å, Palasantza A, Eliasson P, Andersson EM,  Andersson EM, Andréasson AC, Sun X, Picelli S, Sanirsh A, Clausen M, Bjursell MK, Smith DM, Kasper M, Ämmälä C, Sandberg R. Cell Metabolism (2016), 24 (4), 593-607 Publication link.

The leukotriene B4 receptor functions as a novel type of coreceptor mediating entry of primary HIV-1 isolates into CD4-positive cells.

Owman C, Garzino-Demo A, Cocchi F, Popovic C, Sabirsh A, Gallo RC. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (1998), 95 (16), 9530-9534. Publication link.

Leukotriene B4 triggers release of the cathelicidin LL-37 from human neutrophils: novel lipid-peptide interactions in innate immune responses.

Wan M, Sabirsh A, Wetterholm A, Agerberth B, Haeggstrom JZ. FASEB J (2007), 21 (11), 2897-2905. Publication link.

Long-term chronic toxicity testing using human pluripotent stem cell–derived hepatocytes.

Holmgren G, Sjögren AK, Barragan I, Sabirsh A, Sartipy P, Synnergren J, Björquist P, Ingelman-Sundberg M, Andersson TB, Edsbagge J. Drug Metabolism and Disposition (2014),  42 (9), 1401-1406. Publication link.

First and second generation γ-secretase modulators (GSMs) modulate amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide production through different mechanisms.

Borgegard T, Juréus A, Olsson F, Rosqvist S,  Sabirsh A, Rotticci D, Paulsen K, Klintenberg R, Yan H, Waldman M, Stromberg K, Nord J, Johansson J, Regner A, Parpal S, Malinowsky D, Radesater C, Li T, Singh R, Eriksson H, Lunkvist J. Journal of Biological Chemistry (2012), 287 (15), 11810-11819. Publication link.

Role of B cell–activating factor (BAFF) in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Seys LJM, Verhamme FM, Schinwald A, Hammad H, Cunoosamy DM, Bantsimba-Malanda C, Sabirsh A, McCall E, Flavell L, Herbst R, Provoost S, Lambrecht BN, Joos GF, Bruselle GG, Bracke KR. AJRCCM (2015), 192 (6), 706-718. Publication link.

Leukotriene B4 is the functional ligand binding to and activating the cloned chemoattractant receptor, CMKRL1.

Owman C, Sabirsh A, Boketoft Å, Olde B. Biochemical and biophysical research communications (1997), 240 (1), 162-166. Publication link.

Pro‐and anti‐inflammatory substances modulate expression of the leukotriene B4 receptor, BLT1, in human monocytes. Pettersson et al.

Journal of Leukocyte Biology (2005), 77 (6),1018-1025. Publication link.

First-generation monoclonal antibodies identifying the human leukotriene B4 receptor-1 Pettersson et al.

Biochemical and biophysical research communications (2000), 279 (2), 520-525. Publication link.

Residues from Transmembrane Helices 3 and 5 Participate in Leukotriene B4 Binding to BLT1.

Sabirsh A, Bywater RP, Bristulf J, Owmn C, Haeggström JZ. Biochemistry (2006), 45 (18), 5733-5744. Publication link.