"We have the knowledge and entrepreneurship on a global basis, which helps us as the Netherlands to be a major player and extend our position in the future." according to Raaijmakers.
Launching HHINT programme
Health~Holland webinar: Access to Capital
Health~Holland webinar: Access to Capital
Securing funding is a well-known hurdle to many entrepreneurs active in the life sciences. The Top Sector supports entrepreneurs to overcome this hurdle and therefore organised its first Health~Holland webinar titled ‘Everything you always wanted to know about Access to Capital (but were afraid to ask!)’. Top Team member and biotech entrepreneur Hans Schikan and entrepreneur and venture capitalist Dinko Valerio discussed these topics with reference to their personal experiences acquired during their careers. Via the chat, viewers were able to ask the speakers in the studio all sorts of questions: the pros and cons of venture capital (VC), what to take into account when looking for a VC, the interest of venture capitalists, and the value of patient participation. Thanks to the openness and expertise of Schikan and Valerio, the webinar was accessible and informative for every life sciences entrepreneur.
Get Together: SMEs & Health Foundations
Get Together: SMEs & Health Foundations
Providing new solutions and improving patients' lives is the aim of both innovative SMEs and the Dutch Health Foundations. However these two parties do not yet collaborate on a structural basis. Therefore Top Sector Life Sciences & Health and the Association of Dutch Health Foundations organised the first 'Get Together Event' between the two. On 12 May almost seventy companies were present and took the opportunity to present their innovative solutions to twenty different Dutch health foundations. Innovations varied from personalised medicine, to serious gaming for revalidation purposes and new diagnostic instruments for use at home.
The main goal of this event was to bring the two parties together and let them make acquaintance with each other. Why? Because the Top Sector believes that realising innovative solutions for patients in the healthcare system can best be done together. In collaboration with the health foundations the Top Sector has therefore designated 15 million euro TKI allowance for new public-private partnerships. Chairman Rein Strijker even referred to the bringing together of these two parties as an 'historic moment'. The programme started off with a plenary session in which both health foundations and companies presented their core business. Director of the Top Sector’s executive office, Nico van Meeteren, and director of the Association of Dutch Health Foundations, Tom Oostrom, presented some prejudices that both parties have. This was followed by six thematic round table sessions. At the end of these sessions the participants' main conclusion was that companies and health foundations have to get to know each other better and should learn a lot from one another (for example, development processes, patient perspective and national and international networks). The day ended with almost 120 speed dates in which companies and health foundations spoke one-on-one to explore opportunities for cooperation. Business cards were exchanged and the first personal contacts were made.
Most participants favoured a follow-up of this event. The most important take-home message was the need to continue the conversion between industry and the health foundations. This will definitely be boosted by the 15 million euros of TKI allowance for public-private partnerships between SMEs and health foundations.
BIO International Convention: San Francisco
Large Dutch delegation present at BIO 2016 in San Francisco
6-9 June 2016, the BIO International Convention took place in San Francisco. With almost 16,000 delegates, 35,700 one-on-one partnering meetings and 1800+ exhibitors, BIO is the biggest biotech convention in the world. And, of course, the Netherlands was present with an attractive orange Health~Holland Pavilion, the place to gain information on the booming life sciences activities in the Netherlands. A large delegation of over 120 Dutch biotech professionals attended BIO.
Several activities were organised by the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) and HollandBIO, as a partner of Top Sector LSH. First of all, Annemiek Verkamman, director of HollandBIO gave a convincing workshop on the Netherlands Consulate General and why foreign companies should choose to locate in the Netherlands. This was followed by a welcome reception, where more than 80 Dutch delegates enjoyed a drink in down town San Francisco.
The Netherlands was represented on the exhibition floor with a Health~Holland pavilion decorated with orange tulips. The pavilion was the central information point for life sciences in the Netherlands and served as a home base for the Dutch entrepreneurs attending the convention.
During the well-attended hospitality drinks at the pavilion a beautiful orange bike, sponsored by Xendo, was raffled.
The Dutch presence at BIO International Convention did not stay unnoticed in the Netherlands. Journalist Thieu Vaessen travelled along to San Francisco and reported on his meeting in the FD newspaper.
Annemiek Verkamman: 'The interest in Dutch companies was huge, since they were packed with appointments during the BIO. This resulted in a good representation of the Netherlands and Health~Holland at this international event.'
Mercurna: Winner of the Venture Challenge 2016 Spring Edition!
Mercurna is developing a first-in-class precision medicine for chronic kidney disease, based on the identification of a unique kidney-targeting peptide. The startup team has already shown in mice, that this peptide, derived from an endogenous protein, is able to encapsulate and deliver mRNA specifically into the cells of the glomerulus, thereby avoiding systemic (side-) effects.
In vitro models based on glomerular cells proved that from each delivered mRNA molecule several thousands of therapeutic protein molecules are produced by the cells, without the inherent safety issues of other therapies based on genetic information. The members Mercurna team that participated in the Venture Challenge Spring 2016 Edition are all from RadboudUMC in Nijmegen.
Innovation for Health: Vibrant and Entertaining
Atmospheric music plays and a lady elegantly glides across the stage. Who would have guessed that this scene was part of a conference on healthcare innovations? The third edition of Innovation for Health was a vibrant networking event, as well as an entertaining showcase of healthcare innovations. Top Sector LSH was main partner of it event.
On 18 February 2016, the bright hall of Rotterdam’s World Trade Center filled with more than 800 entrepreneurs, scientists, government representatives, healthcare professionals, and patient representatives. They met to exchange ideas and start collaborations with the common goal to shape the future of healthcare.
The elegant lady described above kicked off the keynote lecture of Frans van der Helm, Professor in Biomechatronics and Human-Machine Interaction at Delft University of Technology. The lady demonstrated LEA, or lean elderly assistance. LEA is a smart rollator that, among other things, reminds its elderly owner to take medication. LEA can also track the owner’s location, which may be useful for people with dementia.
Focus on vitality
Professor van der Helm’s lecture was full of healthcare innovations that promote a healthy lifestyle and improve the patient’s quality of life. This focus on quality of life and vital functioning was a recurring theme at Innovation for Health 2016. “We need a healthcare system not based on curing disease, but on promoting health and vitality. The patient should be in charge, or actually the individual who does not want to become a patient’, said Innovation for Health’s chairman Ton van der Steen.
As main partner of this event Health~Holland was part of the plenary programme. Prof. Jan Raaijmakers shed light on the Dutch life sciences and health sector and the role of the Top Sector LSH. Raaijmakers showed some successes of the medtech, biotech and healthcare on a national and international level.
Launching: Health~Holland International HHINT programme
Support Programme for SMEs with international ambitions.
Dutch Life Sciences & Health SMEs can successfully boost the export opportunities of their innovations abroad if they have the right support. The HHINT Starter programme therefore provides the guidance and support that starting healthcare entrepreneurs need to realise their ambitions in international business. Task Force Health Care (TFHC) launched the programme on 10 March 2016 on behalf of the Top Sector Life Sciences & Health. HHINT Starter is a 12-month guidance programme that fully supports innovative entrepreneurs during their international exploration. It encompasses:
- Co-creation of a thorough but practical "export support plan”.
- Availability of a consultant and sector specialist throughout the process, value of € 10,000 euros.
- Better understanding of the (relevant) foreign market.
- More insight into the Dutch Top Sector Life Sciences & Health with regard to international business.
- The opportunity to reimburse the costs (related to your export target), with a max. value of €4,500 euros.
- Various meetings with other entrepreneurs in the network to exchange knowledge and experiences.
HHINT Participants 2016
Clinical Science Systems, INCISION, LeQuest, Livv Mobile Health, MedicalX, Medisit, MEDOX, Mofixx, MyDiagnostick Medical, Netherlands Institute for Healthcare and Wellbeing, NovyMed, Omics2Image, ReturnPool, Smart Signs Solutions, Urifoon, VARI-STEPP, Villerius Medical, Zintouch.