BIO-Europe Spring celebrated its 10th anniversary in Stockholm and gathered nearly 2 500 delegates from 49 countries for three days of valuable partnering opportunities, important panel discussions and an innovative atmosphere.
The annual BIO-Europe Spring beganwith a positive speech from Helene Hellmark Knutsson, Sweden’s Minister for Higher Education and Research, who among other things emphasized the role of SciLifeLab, ESS and the new Wallenberg Center for Protein Research (WCPR), hoping to make Sweden a leader in bioproduction, and the importance of having common goals and strategies. After the opening session it was time for a plenary session on the theme: Environment in 2016: Reverse engineering the ecosystem, including panelists Jan Lundberg from Eli Lilly and Company, Shaun Grady from AstraZeneca and Bernd Seizinger from Aprea.
The first morning also included workshops on new partnerships, market access, precision medicine and vaccine development. The Stockholm Business Region released their oncology summary report, a summary including the centers of excellence, innovations, current research projects, biobanks and business opportunities in the Stockholm-Uppsala region.
The first day also included a panel discussion about the drug pricing controversy now raging in the US and comparisons to the EU model, as well as another panel discussion about cell and gene therapy.
The second day continued with interesting panel discussions, for example on the topics of innovative and early stage funding, opportunities for cross-border partnering and fundraising in China and workshops about innovative funding for SMEs in Europe and phase I: an inflection point in drug development and value generation. The last day of the event highlighted the VC/pharma collaborative model with an executive discussion.
This year’s event included a pitching competition, Start-up Slam: Sweden, co-sponsored by Karolinska Institutet Innovations and Johnson & Johnson Innovation. The session featured presentations from 17 Swedish start-up companies from the life sciences academic incubation ecosystem. All contestants had to present their company and innovation, new therapeutic product or medical technology platform, in only three minutes, to a floor of experienced investors and potential partners. The winner was QureTech Bio, a start-up developing first line drugs to combat antibiotic resistance and infectious diseases.
“QureTech Bio was selected based on its development program, clinical value proposition and live pitch. All the judges were very impressed by the start-up, which is targeting antibiotic resistance, a clear unmet medical need. The goal of the Start-up Slam was to provide an invaluable learning experience for all the companies involved, focused on positioning their company as an attractive investment or partnering proposition. I was very impressed by all the contestants and the passion and energy they brought to communicating their vision for their business. Hopefully the relationships they have made during the process will help them to successfully advance their products and innovations,” said Mark Farmery, Senior Manager for Business Development at Karolinska Institutet Innovations.