Major Events of 2018
BIO International Convention: Boston
Biotech at its best at BIO 2018 in Boston
Over 18,000 delegates from all over the world joined the 25th anniversary of BIO International Convention in Boston in June. The conference saw a stunning number of 50,000 partnering meetings, and was awarded the Guinness World Record for "The Largest Business Partnering Event". A perfect birthday gift for the organisation. With a well-visited Health~Holland Pavilion and a strong delegation of 130 Dutch biotech entrepreneurs, this year’s BIO at the epicentre of biotech proved to be a fruitful edition for the Dutch too.
Orange living room
One of the eye-catchers of the exhibition floor was the Health~Holland Pavilion. A not-to-miss orange landmark in a sea of country pavilions, featuring the Dutch LSH strengths, coffee and more. The Pavilion served as the central information point for international visitors with questions regarding the Dutch business and innovation climate and the national life sciences & health sector. Furthermore, the living room-like pavilion offered the Dutch conference participants a welcoming base to meet business partners.
Place to be
On Tuesday, the Holland Hospitality Reception was the exhibition floor’s best-visited happy hours. In a convincing and hilarious quiz-style speech, Hans Schikan, deputy chairman of the Top Sector LSH, introduced the Dutch Strength to the eager crowd. His take-home message: ‘the Netherlands is the place to be for life sciences companies.’
Hans Schikan’s visit to the BIO Conference was part of a successful four-day study trip organised by the Dutch Association for Innovative Medicines, Task Force Health Care, NSBO, the Dutch Embassy in Washington and the Top Sector LSH. The highlight for Schikan was the meeting with Travis McCready, Director of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, who shares his confidence in the Dutch LSH sector. According to McCready, the Netherlands, like Boston, has all the products to realise a top biotech ecosystem. ‘McCready praised our companies, top universities, academic hospitals and research institutes, current scientific talent and our active government that facilitates life sciences. Even the European Medicines Authority EMA will be located in the Netherlands from March 2019. If an organisation of that calibre has great confidence in the Netherlands as an attractive location for biotech companies, then we are on the right track.’
Global biotech hotspot
During Wednesday’s Global Innovation Hub at the BIO, HollandBIO’s Annemiek Verkamman explained why the Netherlands has Europe’s most attractive business climate for biopharmaceutical companies. With the relocation of the EMA, the Netherlands has what it takes to evolve into a true global biotech hotspot.
Kick-off GROZ initiative
Start of GROZ Initiative: Joining forces for a fit society
On 4 July 2018, the GROZ initiative started. This is an initiative from the Top Sector Life Sciences & Health together with many other parties such as the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw) and the Association of Dutch Health Foundations (SGF). These organisations joined forces to work on the Dutch government’s societal challenges including Health and Care. GROZ, which is the anagram of the Dutch word for care (zorg), wants to turn the Dutch healthcare around by starting with patients and citizens organisations. GROZ aims to support the transition of our currently successful healthcare system towards a future-proof, affordable, and high-quality system, which withstands the demographic demands by adopting the technological and sociocultural innovations foreseen in the years to come.
To achieve this, five transition teams have been formed to support and work on GROZ. Each team has held a kick-off event to launch its ideas and communicate its struggles and needs to other relevant stakeholders. In July 2018, the Citizen Initiatives team shared their work on ten conditions to make an initiative successful. In September 2018, the Patient (organisation) team started to work on a sustainable and strategic, public-private research programme in which patients are involved. In October 2018, the Human Capital team discussed their needs and the urgency for change with regard to education and workforce. In November 2018, the Entrepreneurs team exchanged innovative best practices with regard to entrepreneurs who successfully made a shift from a for-profit sector to healthcare. The remaining team is Investors and Financiers who had their kick-off in January 2019. During this meeting, all of the above teams were brought together to talk about concepts and the financing of these.