Always an important resource for life science companies seeking partners and advice, this year the organizers of the fifth annual Nordic Life Science Days are aiming to bring in more potential investors than ever before.
“We are putting a huge effort into getting participation from Nordic and international investors, mainly from Europe and the U.S.,” said Olivier Duchamp, director general of Nordic Life Science Days (NLSDays) 2018, scheduled for Sept. 10-12 in Stockholm. “Mainly what small companies are looking for are financial partners.”
The primary reason for starting the conference was to create business networking platforms for Nordic companies, many of which rarely attended large events outside of the country, Duchamp noted. Now it is the largest partnering conference for the Nordic life science industry. About 60 percent of those who attend are from the Nordic region, with the rest from Europe and the U.S. “We wanted to connect them with the rest of the world and with investors, and we decided to create an opportunity for them to showcase themselves and present themselves to potential investors,” he said.
Critical resources for developing companies
Interest in Nordic Life Science Days continues to grow. “Every year, we set a new attendance record,” said Duchamp. “Five years ago it was 650 attendees; last year it was 1 300.”
The conference provides critical resources for developing companies, added Björn Ursing, SwedenBIO’s program director for NLSDays.
“NLSDays is the key event where Swedish companies meet with investors, service providers and each other,” he said. “It is the main window for the Swedish life science industry against the world. Since the registration fee is low many of the startups use NLSDays as their first meeting where they pitch their businesses. This has driven larger companies looking for innovative projects to come and meet them in partnering.”
Unlike some other conferences, attendees are able to review a participant list prior to the event and request private meetings with potential investors or partners. Last year 3 000 private meetings were arranged, Duchamp said.
Those at the conference also will have the chance to attend presentations on issues, trends and topics in the life science industry as well as interactive sessions and participate in business presentations. During an academic “catwalk” scientists from academia will present ideas that could lead to business ideas.
A service providers session
Seventy presenters are scheduled to attend this year. As of April, four SwedenBIO members had signed up to give presentations: Follicum AB, Karessa Pharma AB, NextCell Pharma AB and InDex Pharmaceuticals, noted Ursing. Presentations on oncology, reproductive medicine, nanomedicine, drug delivery, precision medicine also are scheduled and there is a special session dedicated to service providers — Service Providers as Trusted Partners. “I know some of the companies attending would like to meet service providers,” Ursing said.
Chatting with exhibitors and meeting peers at social events provide additional opportunities for people to connect. “We try to create the best environment for people to network, formally and informally,” said Duchamp.
SwedenBIO is hopeful its members get the opportunity to meet new people and contacts and are inspired by ideas from the presentations, Ursing added.
For those wishing to attend, preferred registration rates are available until late May, according to Duchamp.