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The role of platforms and facilities in translational research

Experts from Catalonia and Valencia forecast that the future will rely on expertise, on researchers’ ability to address real needs and on public/private collaboration systems to compete with countries like China.

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25.05.2012

By Biocat

Eight experts on knowledge transfer and science and technical platforms met this week at the Barcelona Science Park (PCB), at a workshop organized by Biocat, to debate the origin of translational research platforms and facilities, their current situation and the future challenges that must be addressed.

Dr. Filippa Kull, director of Business Development at the Stockholm Science City Foundation, who believes science and technical platforms are a key tool, emphasized the mapping and organization that has been carried out through the Tools of Science interface, which has allowed for the identification of duplicates, raised awareness of Swedish capacities, attracted industries and fostered specialization as a way to boost competitiveness. This interface is now available on a European level.

In Catalonia, the challenges are similar. Dr. Jesús Purroy, scientific director of the PCB, highlighted essential challenges including the need for highly specialized personnel and to constantly adapt to the latest technology. Additionally, he reminded participants that “nothing we offer is unique, so we must take into account that we are competing with both public and private supply.” Precisely, Joan Puig de Dou, strategic general manager of Kymos Pharma Services, spoke about the problems the company is having as a result of competition from platforms at public bodies in terms of cost and quality certification, although these also lead to opportunities to collaborate in developing new technology, opening markets and finding new clients.

Dr. Elena Serrano, in her intervention, explained that the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau Research Institute, where she works, is an example of scientific non-duplication, given that “we have joined together the laboratories that researched the same topics, creating a platform.”

Experience in Valencia —various specialists from this region participated under the framework of the Interbio European project— show the same trends towards avoiding duplications and specialization, as Projects and Valorization Manager at the Prince Felipe Research Center in Valencia (CIPF) explained. It must be noted that the introduction of platforms that bridge the gap between enterprise and hospitals have brought about a paradigm shift. “Now the hospital provides healthcare, but it also generates investment,” said Julio Cortijo, manager of the Valencia University General Hospital Research Foundation.

During the roundtable, all the speakers stressed the need for collaboration and coordination but, above all, for expertise in order to compete with companies like China, India and Korea, for research proximity in order to respond to a la carte experiments adapted to the real needs of the market, and for public/private collaboration systems.

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Biocat thanks Andrea Guiu, member of the Catalan Association of Biotechnologists (ASBATEC), for her help in drafting this article.

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Roughly 140 people participated in this Biocat technical workshop - Photo: © Biocat, Héctor Fuentes.

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