Nordic Life Science Days 2023 offered interesting discussions on business strategies, health data and developments within CNS, a well attended pitching contest, a bubbling atmosphere in beautiful and spacious surroundings, and much more.
This is our biggest event so far, with more exhibitors, sponsors and delegates than ever before.”
“The tenth anniversary of Nordic Life Science Days is a great opportunity to connect the Danish ecosystem even more closely to the pan-Nordic arena. At SwedenBIO, we keep pushing the event forward and when faced with a challenge we alway rise to the occasion. When we started Nordic Life Science Days ten years ago, it was a challenge. When we first move the conference out of Stockholm, it was another challenge. And now after ten years we felt that it was time to take on the next challenge and host NLSDays in Denmark for the first time. This is our biggest event so far, with more exhibitors, sponsors and delegates than ever before,” says Olivier Duchamp Guidicelli, Managing Director of NLSDays.
The conference took place at Bella Center in Copenhagen and the exhibition and floor plan was a little bit different than last year’s event at Malmömässan. The super sessions and the poster area were located on another floor than the exhibition hall, and there were more open spaces to sit down and talk, work on your computer or just mingle around and network.
Read more: Are you ready for NLSDays 2023?
Statistics from this year’s event
SwedenBIO has provided statistics from the 2023 event, see below.
· No. of participants: 1,600+
· No. of companies/organizations: 900+
· Partnering meeting requests (at start of conference): 22,000 +
· Partnering meetings booked (at start of conference): 3,200 +
Voices from NLSDays 2023
Bob Shufflebarger, TriAltus Bioscience from Birmingham, Alabama, USA shared his impressions from NLSDays with Nordic Life Science.
“It’s been wonderful, Copenhagen is a nice city, the Nordics offer a lively and vibrant community and I’ve made new friends and good business contacts. For me, it’s been a little like going to a new city and getting on a tour bus and riding around and seeing all the key sites exploring what interested me the most. I’ve already made plans to follow up with several companies and I hope to come back to visit very soon. I am actually visiting Stockholm for more meetings before returning home. And I will most probably be back at next year’s Nordic Life Science Days.”
I’ve already made plans to follow up with several companies and I hope to come back to visit very soon.”
This year’s NLSDays attracted the biggest delegation yet from the Netherlands. Judith van de Bovenkamp, East Netherlands Regional Development Agency shared her impressions:
“I have found that the Nordics, if I may put them together, are becoming a more and more important region in Europe for Dutch companies wanting to do business. That’s why we are here, and we will surely be back next year again. It’s easy to operate here compared to other regions of Europe or abroad due to our common ground when it comes to collaboration and doing business.”
It’s easy to operate here compared to other regions of Europe or abroad due to our common ground when it comes to collaboration and doing business.”
Business Iceland has attended Nordic Life Science Days many times and was back again, and Erna Björnsdottir, Business Iceland, shared her impressions.
“This is the second time that we have an Icelandic booth. We think it adds visibility and enables people to come and meet us and our companies can have discussions between their partnering meetings. A major reason for coming back year by year is to connect with other Nordic partners, even more collaboration across the Nordics would be beneficial for us.”
A true hotspot for life sciences and innovation
The event began with an opening address by Olivier Duchamp Guidicelli and Marjo Puumalainen, Program Director, NLSDays, followed by the first session on the topic “From innovation to improved health – the building blocks of a successful life science sector”, with Jessica Martinsson, CEO, SwedenBIO, as moderator.
The Nordic region has really emerged as a true hotspot for life sciences and innovation, and this event has provided fertile ground for many new partnerships and business deals over the years.”
“The development of NLSDays has been truly impressive over the past ten years, and I’m very happy to welcome everyone to this record-breaking event today! The Nordic region has really emerged as a true hotspot for life sciences and innovation, and this event has provided fertile ground for many new partnerships and business deals over the years. We are proud to open the door to the Nordic life science arena to the world,” says Jessica Martinsson.
Innovation poster session and competition
A new addition to this year’s program was a small poster exhibition, highlighting 12 Nordic academic projects with commercial potential. A few selected academic projects were highlighted and presented by their founders or innovators.
They also competed for a Nordic Innovation Award and the winner was Dr Dafne Quixabeira from Helsinki University. Her poster had the title “Next oncolytic immunotherapy candidates for the treatment of human solid tumors: From bench to patients”.
How to choose your business strategy
The second super session of the first day had the title “Preparing for the next unicorn: how to choose your business strategy”. It was a very interesting session, led by João Ribas, Principal, Novo Holdings. It was particularly interesting to hear from Agnete Fredriksen, Chief Business Officer and co-founder of Nykode Therapeutics. She spoke about her company’s journey and strategies, and also her choice to stay true to what she is passionate about in her role at the company.
The third super session of the first day was on the topic “Harnessing data to improve our health”. The session was moderated by Mikael Mattsson, CEO, Svexa and he and the panelists discussed for example what is required to harness health data to fulfill its full potential to improve our health. Tine Jess, Professor, PREDICT National Center of Excellence, Denmark, spoke about what a goldmine Denmark, and the rest of the Nordic countries as well, possesses, but that there are challenges that the region needs to overcome, particularly political and leadership issues, she said.
The panelists also discussed how the Nordic countries can collaborate better when it comes to health data and utilizing health data better. There are challenges, but the potential is enormous they concluded. To be continued …
A new era in CNS
The second day of the event started with a very interesting session about developments within CNS diseases titled “New era in CNS: Rising from the ashes” and moderated by Marc-Olivier Bévierre, VLife Science Practice Leader, Cencora. Nordic life science companies have been actively involved in the recent developments of treatments of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders, not least Swedish BioArctic, and the session included recent success within the field and the panelists also discussed the key factors to advance treatments of CNS diseases.
It was particularly interesting to listen to Gunilla Osswald, CEO of BioArctic, and learn more about the potential of her company’s Alzheimer’s treatment as well as her view on the future of the field and why she believes that we are entering a new era within CNS. Very exciting!
Nordic Stars Pitch Competition
The Nordic Stars pitch competition welcomed 30 SMEs from across the Nordics, which each gave a four minute pitch on-stage at the Exhibition hall to the jury and an audience of investors.
”The competition this year was very impressive – it was really challenging to select a winner,” says jury member Stephan Christgau, founding partner at Eir Ventures.
Loma Therapeutics won Merck’s award, the Advance Biotech Grant Program – Nordics, which is sponsored by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. The prize included bioprocessing technologies and services to an amount of 45,000 EUR. CEO Dr Ditte Boilesen and COO Dr Stephanie Holstein-Rønsbo received the prize at the closing ceremony.
The Danish pharmaceutical start-up NEUmiRNA Therapeutics took home the NLSDays Nordic Star 2023 Award, consists of a 10,000 EUR cash prize and additional in-kind services. CEO Prof. Janine Erler accepted the prize onstage.
“Many small Nordic companies are maturing, they have a clear business plan and they know where they’re going. NEUmiRNA Therapeutics is a great example of this. They’re addressing an unmet medical need, they have a clear plan, and they’re first in class. They have a good and diverse team and a great CEO in Janine Erler,” said Stephan Christgau.
I think it’s great to see that all three winners this year are women, this also says something about where we are in the Nordics.”
“I think it’s great to see that all three winners this year are women, this also says something about where we are in the Nordics. The life science industry is maturing and we’re getting better at attracting and welcoming all promising talent,” said Christgau.
Featured photo: Camille Sonally