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A taste of Nordic strength in life science

NLSDays 2017 took place in a windy and rainy Medicon Valley, but with a warm and collaborative atmosphere among its participants.

This year’s Nordic Life Science Days, going on its fifth year, showcased Nordic strength within life science, from small startups to big pharma, and within both business know-how and scientific expertise.

But it also showcased Nordic strength in the form of a collaborative atmosphere and a will to combine our strengths. According to the organizers, 16 000+ meeting requests were submitted in the partnering platform among which 3 000+ face-to-face meetings were scheduled. And being such a broad event, covering the entire life science field and companies of all sizes, that is perhaps most striking to me when returning home, that the event brings the different Nordic life science industries together on a higher level. International competition is fierce but with stronger collaboration and by learning from each other we are ready to strengthen our position on the global life science map.

Super Sessions

Besides creating networking opportunities and enhancing brainstorming and partnering, the event included several interesting so called Super Sessions, with a mixture of speakers from the Nordic countries, representing different fields of life science, and with different experiences. Topics included “Game changers in diabetes treatments”, “Responsive to outbreaks of emerging infectious diseases”, “Cross fertlization between pharma and health tech startups”, “Advancing cancer immunotherapy by novel partnerships, bugs and bytes” and Gene therapy in regenerative medicine. Important challenges like the Nordic capital landscape and financing of lower-priority clinical trials where also discussed.

Startup Challenge

A new addition to this year’s event was that it started half-a-day earlier with two new sessions right beforeand during the welcome reception. One of these was a Startup Challenge, giving the audience a taste of different research and development projects within therapeutics, medical technology and platform solutions. The 16 contestants were given only three minutes to pitch, after which they were challenged by a seasoned jury: three life science experts and an investor. All projects were early-stage innovations, focusing their development towards a clinical proof-of-concept. The CEO and founder of Saga Diagnostics, Lao Saal delivered the sharpest pitch and took home the win for the company’s advancements within precision cancer medicine.

“It is great to see high quality new start-ups in the Nordics. This is really increasing the interest for us to look for deal flow from this territory,” says jury member Seppo Mäkinen, investor and partner in Portugal-born Pathena Group.

Back in Stockholm next year

The choice of Malmö for the NLSDays 2017 seemed to have been a good one, according to the organizers the event broke new record numbers with 1 300+ delegates, representing 800+ companies/organizations from 40 countries.

“We wanted to make the conference more Nordic and we have the perfect place to move to. We’ll be back in Stockholm next year, but after that, we should be in another Nordic capital,” commented NLSDays Managing Director Olivier Duchamp.

Björn Ursing from SwedenBIO  also gave the audience a flavor of next year’s event, including sessions on Reproductive medicine, Nanomedicine and Oncology.


Photo: Anniki Skeidsvoll Edén