During 2016 Forum of the BioRegion, held in November 2016, international experts presented successful public-private partnership experiences and discussed on where the biopharma, medtech and digital health subsectors are heading. In this document, you will find a summary of all the talks that took place in this Meeting, that was conceived to allow assistants to stay up-to-date, discover new ways to grow and identify opportunities, and be prepared to face the complexities of the constantly healthcare changing sector.
MedCity is an initiative that was launched in 2014 to grow the life-sciences cluster of England's greater southeast. It is a collaboration between the Mayor of London and the capital’s three Academic Health Science Centres — Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre, King’s Health Partners, and UCL Partners. New additions include research centers and institutions in Oxford and Cambridge, which with London form what is known as the Golden Triangle.
The aim of MedCity is to promote new public-private partnership models and projects to drive entrepreneurship and business-mindedness among researchers. To do so, MedCity, which is set up as an independent company,
> brings together scientists and businesspeople from different areas to work on projects with the potential for collaboration and development,
> helps foreign companies connect with the local ecosystem and research resources in southeastern England,
> promotes innovation and growth through seed investment, business angels and venture capital,
> provides guidance on accessing the UK market and British National Health Service (NHS), and on complying with regulatory requirements, sharing lessons learned from previous processes,
> facilitates international contacts in the biosciences and medical technology arenas,
> connects companies with the best researchers in the world in fields of mutual interest.
To measure the success of MedCity, a broad panel of indicators has been established:
> Increase in the number of clinical trials and patients recruited
> Number of large and small companies in London (early-stage development and manufacturing) and number of collaborations with academia and the NHS
> Increase in number of spin-outs in London and internal investment they receive
> Number of international companies in the Golden Triangle
> Active community of investors in bioscience
> Increase in high-value jobs in London
> Number of new therapies that are available to patients more quickly
Simon Howell, who in his speech put the potentially negative impact of Brexit into perspective (“In the long term, what is most important is to guarantee the flow of people and ideas and I’m sure we’ll be able to do that.”), shared two practical examples of the work MedCity has done so far.
The first is the “Collaborate to Innovate” program, which promotes collaboration between innovative SMEs and universities in response to two gaps in the market: the lack of funding for innovation and the difficulties small companies face in accessing top-notch educational institutions. The program, co-funded by the European Union and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), received 70 submissions in its first call for proposals (September 2016) and is funding 15 of them.
> Funding 15 projects, £100,000 each, in fields like medical devices, diagnostics, digital health and drug discovery
> The program seeks out academic collaborations that suit the selected projects.
> Adapts to the needs of SMEs, instead of them having to adapt their projects to the conditions of the call
> SMEs don't have to come up with matching funds.
The second project Howell presented was a study carried out by MedCity on the availability of space to incubate companies (current and projected for 2018-2020) in London as compared to Paris, Berlin, New York and Boston. The first thing the study showed was that London today is far behind the other cities analyzed (with 5 or 6 times less space available than New York and Paris, and 20 times less space in Boston). But the second, more interesting, result that can surely be applied in other cities that, like Barcelona, hope to compete in the international life-sciences market, was:
“Conducting this study allowed us to realize that the competition isn't between north London and west London. It's between London and other large international hubs in the sector. And being aware of this has changed our priorities in terms of policy and investment," concluded Simon Howell.
> Keep reading the reports summary of the Forum BioRegion 2016:
MICHAEL MÜLLER, Monacon Beteiligungs GmbH, Managing Partner (Germany)
DAVID CASSAK, Innovation in Medtech LLC, Managing Partner (USA)
VISHAL GULATI, Draper Esprit, Venture Partner; Horizon Discovery Group PLC, Board Director (United Kingdom)