No 1 - July 2010
The Magazine about Life and Science in Medicon Valley
08: CLINICAL RESEARCH UNDER PRESSURE 17: The saga of Victoza
30: South Korea moving fast on life sciences
38: Focus on HR in Medicon Valley
Welcome to the first edition of LifeSciences Insight – The Magazine about Life & Science in Medicon Valley
Stig Jørgensen, CEO, Medicon Valley Alliance Photo: Agnete Schlichtkrull
Medicon Valley Alliance and Rask Media have joined forces to produce a new magazine – LifeSciences Insight – dedicated to raise awareness and interest in science and business in Medicon Valley. Medicon Valley Alliance strongly believes there is an unmet need for a high quality magazine that presents issues of importance not only to the life science community in Medicon Valley, but also to international partners and stakeholders with a genuine interest in our region. Medicon Valley has an international reputation as a region with promising companies, cutting edge research and many exciting life science opportunities, whether the aim is to work, do research, study or do business in Medicon Valley. We have so many assets to be proud of, but we need an efficient tool to communicate our messages to a regional as well as an international audience. LifeSciences Insight is designed to be such a communication tool and platform that we are confident will create increased awareness and interest in the many opportunities that exist in Medicon Valley.
Communicating the Complexity of Life Sciences Life sciences very often raise
interest, debate and concerns in the more traditional news media. Traditional media typically handle news about life sciences on a dayto-day basis and in a rather superficial manner. LifeSciences Insight will take a different approach. We intend to publish at least 4 issues annually, and our focus will not be to present daily news from Medicon Valley, but rather to produce overviews and insights – as the name indicates – about the many complex issues and challenges in the ever-changing field of life sciences. LifeSciences Insight thereby “translates” between the different parts of the life science food chain and aims to cover all aspects from academia, incubators, and venture capital through development and market exits in order for all interested parties to understand and comprehend the different parts of the industry.
National and International Distribution With its 300 member organisations – all dedicated to life sciences – Medicon Valley Alliance has a very significant platform and stronghold to assist LifeSciences Insight with a constant flow of relevant news and ideas for future articles all based on
facts and in-depth knowledge about the region. In the future, the Life Science Ambassador Programme will provide LifeSciences Insight with a unique opportunity for a global distribution to the many international partners within this program, that being from the emerging regions in the Far East, over the more traditional centres of research and business in Europe to the fast growing clusters on the North American continent. LifeSciences Insight is a great opportunity for our members to get national and international exposure. I would, therefore, like to encourage all our members to keep sending us your press releases to news@mva. org. Your news is of great value to us and will be taken into account in connection with each magazine. Last, but not least, I hope that you will find LifeSciences Insight interesting and of value to you. We highly welcome and recommend this new and exciting magazine to our member organisations and regional, national and international stakeholders with an interest in life sciences. Kind regards, Stig Jørgensen CEO, Medicon Valley Alliance
LifeSciences Insight no. 1, July 2010
LifeSciences Insight is distributed to l Named l l l l l l l
decision-makers in the life science industry Investors Science parks Hospitals Universities Life science media Relevant MPs in Scandinavia Medicon Valley Alliance’s members and collaboration partners
In addition, the magazine is available at all relevant exhibitions and fairs worldwide, mostly in Europe.
Open source biology Research highlights from the universities in Medicon Valley Clinical research under pressure Medicon Valley connecting to Boston The saga of Victoza Victoza – the last Novo Nordisk blockbuster drug?
Stem cell scientists seek partners in Medicon Valley Publisher: RASK Media ApS Frydendalsvej 3 1809 Frederiksberg C Denmark +45 3326 9520 firstname.lastname@example.org www.raskmedia.com
Drug manufacturers put global health on the agenda South Korea moving fast on life science The turning point – Cartoon hero nanoparticles HR – Living in the land of good work-life balance
Partner: Medicon Valley Alliance www.mva.org
HR – Expatriates – an inspirational challenge
Editor in chief: Carsten Elgstrøm Editorial team: Martin Bøggild Hvid, Claus Clausen, Lone Frank, Helga Heyn, Anne Høybye, Stig Jørgensen, Charlotte Strøm, Simon Theland, Mia Riise Hansen and Anne Katrine Nørgaard.
People – Balancing business ambitions and ambitions of a day off
HR – Go jobhunting in Medicon Valley
Latest members of Medicon Valley Alliance Upcoming life science events
Advertising: email@example.com +45 2887 0776 Proof-reading and English language revision: LinguaMedica, Anita Pontoppidan Suggestions for articles can be e-mailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org Cover photo: ScandinavianStockPhoto Layout and print: Zeuner Grafisk as Next issue: September 2010 ISSN: 1904-4755
4 5 8 13 17 22 25 28 30 33 38 40 44 46 49 50
Open source biology By Lone Frank We have entered the age of personal and consumer genomics. All it takes to get extensive insight into our own genetic heritage is some spit in a vial, a postage stamp and a few hundred dollars. Already, companies like Icelandic deCODEme and 23andMe based in California deliver genomic analyses that will calculate your risk of more than 50 diseases and conditions. And within the next 2-4 years, technologists predict that a full genome sequence can be yours for just 1000 dollars. This is not only a deeply interesting development for us consumers, it is a technological revolution that is set to change the way research itself is done. Consider the wildly ambitious Personal Genome Project. This non-profit initiative is the brain child of Harvard geneticist George Church who is building an organisation to sequence the genomes of 100.000 volunteers. Their sequence and a slew of general health information and physiological tests results will be posted on the Internet. This massive data bank will be a biological treasure trove for those trying to understand the intricate relationship between genes, environment and human traits. But perhaps the most important thing is that access will be free. Not just for university research groups and companies but for anyone with a computer. The PGP is biology’s answer to the IT-world’s open source movement and to the Wikipedia model for creating and disseminating knowledge. The reasoning is clear and simple: We have no idea who the innovators of the future are. The next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs could be a 16-year old girl sitting in her room playing around with genomic sequences on
her laptop and it is anybody’s guess what applications and products will grow out of personal genomics. But as H.G. Wells, the British author, once noted: Civilisation is a race between education and catastrophe. Personal genomics carries great promise for all areas of health care and biotechnology but if the technological advances are not followed by education and public debate, we all run the risk of a serious backlash. As anyone who remembers the European debacle over genetically modified foods knows, a consumer backlash can crush whole fields of research and product development. So who is responsible for educating the public? Do we leave it up to politicians with a rudimentary – if any – grasp of the science and to an education system which is notoriously slow moving? As I see it, the scientists and industry leaders who are driving the development and stand to benefit from it also have an obligation to drive debate, share their knowledge and explain their visions. We could learn from the pioneers. People like George Church and Jay Flatley, CEO of the sequencing giant Illumina, have chosen to publicize their own genomes in order to encourage sharing of personal genetic information. With industry support, the PGP scientists are putting together a genomics program for high school students. Major biotech player, Life Technologies, has teamed up with academic groups to create an educational program designed to qualify and prepare doctors for guiding and advising patients in the new genetic supermarket.
Lone Frank, Author, PhD Photo: Robin Skjoldborg
Meanwhile, things are quiet in our own back yard. In Medicon Valley, it is remarkable how little discussion there is about the most important medical development of our time. Universities and industry are heavily involved with each other and with work in genomics but neither of them seem very concerned about engaging the rest of us. We badly need them to step up to the challenge. For many out there, perhaps the majority, genes are still infused with mystery and misconceptions and if society is to reap the benefits of the genomic revolution, that has to change. Please, we would like to hear from the revolutionaries themselves. Lone Frank will publish My Beautiful Genome (Gyldendal) her book about personal genomics in October 2010. More about the Personal Genome Project: www.personalgenomes.org
Research highlights from the universities in Medicon Valley By Mia Riise Hansen
Tomato genes produce promising results against brain tumours Tomato genes could be used as a future treatment in gene therapy, according to new research results from the Department of Biology, Lund University. Together with colleagues from Karolinska university Hospital in Stockholm and University of Copenhagen, the scientists have published research results on a tomato gene that could be of value in future treatment of brain tumours. Research on gene therapy has been underway for a long time and last autumn the first gene therapy for cancer treatment was launched onto the market by Ark Therapeutics in Finland. The idea of gene therapy is to introduce an alien gene into a patient’s cancer cells. In combination with a specific drug, the introduced gene can cause the cancer cells to die. The tumour does not disappear, but the hope is that the disease can be halted for a couple of years. In the tomato the gene’s actual task is to produce small building blocks for the plant’s genetic make-up, but in combination with the drug AZT the tomato gene appears to kill the cancer cells. AZT is a drug that was first developed in the fight against HIV.
T.J. Ekström et al. Plant thymidine kinase 1: a novel efficient suicide gene for malignant glioma therapy. Neuro-Oncology 2010; 13.
Vitamin D crucial to activating immune defences Scientists from the Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Copenhagen have discovered that Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defences, and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin the killer cells of the immune system – T-cells – will not be able to react to and fight off serious, life-threatening infections in the body. For T-cells to detect and kill foreign pathogens such as clumps of bacteria or deadly viruses, the cells must first be ‘triggered’ into action and ‘transform’, from inactive and harmless immune
cells into killer cells that are primed to seek out and destroy all traces of a foreign pathogen. The researchers found that the T cells rely on vitamin D in order to activate and they would remain dormant, ‘naïve’ to the possibility of threat if vitamin D is lacking in the blood. The researchers have discovered that the first stage in the activation of a T-cell involves vitamin D. When a Tcell is exposed to a foreign pathogen, it has an immediate biochemical reaction and extends a signalling device or ‘antenna’ known as a vitamin D receptor, with which it search for vitamin D. This means that the T cell must have vitamin D or activation of the cell will cease. If the T-cells cannot find enough vitamin D in the blood, they won’t even begin to mobilise. C. Geisler et al. Vitamin D controls T cell antigen receptor signaling and activation of human T-cells. Nature Immunology 2010; 11:344-9.
Cancer tumours that fight themselves Cancer cells producing toxins that destroy tumours – could this be a
future treatment for cancer? Researchers at Lund University have achieved good results in tests on both cells and animals. Around 10 years ago, the researchers discovered that a carbohydrate, xylose, linked to naphthalene preferentially inhibits growth of tumour cells but not normal cells. Since then, they have been working on the mechanism of action of the drug to try to understand why the xylose compound works so well against tumour cells. Two research groups at Lund University have utilised natural biological processes and tested their ideas in animal experiments, which show up to 97% reduction in tumour growth. The researchers have found that when the cells are grown together with certain xylose-containing compounds, they begin to produce long carbohydrate chains called glycosaminoglycans (GAG). Different cell types produce different glycosaminoglycans, which are usually transported out of the cell. Glycosaminoglycans from normal cells are completely inactive. However, glycosaminoglycans from cancer cells are very active. They are quickly taken up by both normal and cancer cells and transported to the cell nuclei where they affect gene transcription and induce an antiproliferative effect, accompanied by apoptosis (cell death). The specific carbohydrate chains from tumour cells are,
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in practice, toxins. Around the tumour, where there are lots of cancer cells, a high concentration of the toxin builds up. This means that the tumour produces a toxin that kills itself. When the tumour is gone, no more toxins will be produced. K. Mani et al. Attenuation of Tumor Growth by Formation of Antiproliferative Glycosaminoglycans Correlates with Low Acetylation of Histone H3. Cancer Research 2010; 70:3771-3779.
Brain connections for stress – lessons from the worm Did you ever wonder how you are able to perform complex tasks – even under stress? And how do emotions and memories mould your ability to live your everyday lives? The answer is just beginning to be understood and lies in hidden circuits in the brain. Pioneering work by Roger Pocock, a newly arrived Group Leader at the research centre BRIC, University of Copenhagen, reveals the remarkable ability of organisms to activate latent neuronal circuits under stressful conditions. It is suggested that such circuits form part of an escape response that enables animals to sense their environment and adapt their behaviour under unfavourable conditions.
The human brain contains billions of neurons that build trillions of connections making it very complex to study behaviour at the level of the single neuron. Therefore, Roger Pocock uses the simple nerve system of the microscopic worm, Caenorhabditis elegans, to model how our environment modifies gene function, neuronal circuitry and behaviour. Using C. elegans, which contains just 302 neurons, Roger Pocock has identified a hidden neuronal circuit that modulates sensory perception under stress. Specifically, this work discovered that physiological detection of hypoxic (low oxygen) stress results in the activation of a hidden neuronal circuit involving the neuromodulators serotonin and the neuropeptide Y receptor. This work implies that mechanisms coupling hypoxia, serotonin and neuropeptide signaling also modifies behaviour in mammals. In fact, hypoxic stress enhances serotonin and neuropeptide production in specific regions of the mammalian brain, however, the functional output of this is poorly understood. R. Pocock et al. Hypoxia activates a latent circuit for processing gustatory information in C. elegans. Nature Neuroscience 2010; 13:610-4.
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Clinical research under pressure Overall, clinical research is declining in Medicon Valley. All over the world, pharmaceutical companies are consolidating, and new emerging markets are taking over. According to Director of Region Skåne, a shift is taking place from clinical research to pre-clinical research. Director of the Danish Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry, on the other hand, says it is a wake up call for the entire health care sector. By Anne Høybye Several reports conclude there has been a general tendency of decline in clinical research in Western Europe
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since 2005. In 2005, there was stagnation while in 2007 and 2008 we saw a real decline. In Denmark, the total amount of clinical studies dropped from 369 in 2007 to 305 in 2008 according to the Danish Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry, who has been collecting the data since 2005. – This is something we have to be very aware of. Denmark has managed to have a historically high position for many years in this specific research area, even though we compete against much larger countries. We have to protect this very exceptional position. Otherwise, we will lose it, says Ida Sofie Jensen, Director of the Danish Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry, and continues: – What worries me the most is the public health care sector. Clinicians familiar with clinical research are some of the key pillars of a science-driven and science-based health care system. If they are not involved in clinical research, physicians will lose valuable and new knowledge about how to treat patients – and without clinical research, experienced physicians will find it more difficult to interpret and make practical use of the latest research findings. That would not benefit the Danish health care sector and Danish patients.
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Director of Region Skåne, Sören Olofsson, disputes the notion of an overall decline and nuances the transitions in the clinical research area. – It is a matter of how we define what is clinical research and what is pre-clinical research – and a less clear-cut boundary between the two. At the moment, in Region Skåne, we have an increase in pre-clinical research that has clinical implications, says Sören Olofsson. The tendency is a bit different according to a report from the research-based Pharmaceutical Industry in Sweden which shows that the investment in pre-clinical
research has declined from 2007 to 2009 in Sweden. These numbers do not include the tendency specific in Region Skåne or include small biotech companies. In Denmark, the decline is not just a simple decline either. While there has been a great decline in the number of phase I, II and IV studies in Denmark, the report from the Danish Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry on clinical research activities in DenPhoto: ScandinavianStockPhoto mark in 2008 suggests that more phase III studies are carried out in Denmark than ever before. – We should focus on phase III and IV studies in order to be competitive. We have lost our lead position on phase I studies, and it is difficult to regain that position. Phase I is usually linked to market share, i.e. the size of the country, and in this competition, Denmark will automatically lose, says Ida Sofie Jensen.
enced a decline in clinical research, emerging markets such as Brazil, India, China and Russia experience economic growth. The quality of the healthcare sectors has improved, more people have access to and can afford treatment in those parts of the world, and clinical research is relocated to these emerging markets because it is cheaper to carry out the clinical trials. Today, emerging countries provide high quality trials at low cost. – Due to the global economic recession, all costs, even in the public health care sector, in countries like Denmark have been evaluated. Prices have been under pressure and this affects the pharmaceutical companies, who look to reduce their costs in order to reduce their prices. And compared to the new markets, Sweden and Denmark are high-cost countries with high wages, says Ida Sofie Jensen.
Small countries left behind
Clinical research in competition with treatment
The overall volume of market share has declined due to an altered internal situation in the pharma sector. The pharmaceutical companies have fewer products in their pipeline despite the fact that the patents of several of their best selling products, the blockbuster drugs, expire in 2010, 2011 and 2012. – ‘Big pharma’ is heading towards a situation where the blockbuster drugs are running out of patents and the pharmaceutical companies haven’t got a replacement in their pipelines. Therefore, they focus on preclinical research to identify new potential blockbusters, says Ida Sofie Jensen. Sören Olofsson agrees: – I think many of the clinical researchers have been replaced by pre-clinical researchers. Pre-clinical research is needed to develop clinical practise in the future. Therefore, it is more rewarding for a researcher to be involved in pre-clinical research than in clinical research. Pre-clinical research is usually conducted in major countries due to cost savings, e.g. in connection with recruiting patients. – The Nordic countries are very small. You need volume to achieve economies of scale within research , and in a small country it takes more time to enrol the adequate number of patients for a clinical research study. So the shift from clinical to pre-clinical research and the decline of research in the Nordic countries might be closely connected – it might just be the consequence of us being a small country, says Ida Sofie Jensen.
Emerging markets take over While countries like Sweden and Denmark have experi-
However, the evaluation of all costs in the public health care sector also has other consequences. Ida Sofie Jensen believes that the biggest competitive challenge facing clinical research is the efficiency improvement implemented by the Danish public health care system within the past 5-10 years. The Danish treatment guarantee has resulted in a situation where every penny counts. According to Ida Sofie
– We have to protect this very exceptional position (in clinical research). Otherwise, we will lose it, says Ida Sofie Jensen, Director of the Danish Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry
Jensen, this may be positive for the patients in the short run, as they are guaranteed treatment quickly, but in the long run it will damage clinical research and, thereby, the patients’ treatment options. – For years, focus has been on treating patients and reducing waiting lists, but the downside is that clinical research has been neglected – and clinical research is key if we are to offer Danish patients the best possible treatment, also in the future, says Ida Sofie Jensen. Director of Region Skåne, Sören Olofsson, agrees with Ida Sofie Jensen. He believes there is a lesson to be learned for the health care authorities, and he urges authorities and hospital organisations to acknowledge and reward clinical research more in the future: – The pharmaceutical industry behaves rationally in this sense. It is up to us, the authorities, to become more attractive, more competitive in relation to clinical research. The universities need to make sure that clinical research is rewarded and promote clinical research from a career point of view within the academic setting.
Better working hours and clinical research facilities To attract more clinicians to clinical research, Ida Sofie Jensen suggests a structure which supports a better work-life balance for the clinicians, because a large part of the clinicians are women with families. A working group under the National Collaboration Forum (NSS) – of which the Danish Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry has been – has published a report for the public health care sector called ‘Time to act’ which includes suggestions for better working hours for clinicians in order to protect clinical research from competing with treatment and caring for patients. Another suggestion is to integrate clinical research facilities at hospitals, including rooms, equipment, capital, clinicians and secretaries. Furthermore, the Danish Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry has recently presented five concrete proposals to the Danish Government and the Danish Regions at a total price of over 23 million Euros to strengthen public clinical research. In Region Skåne, Sören Olofsson has developed a business plan to
– It is up to us, the authorities, to become more attractive, more competitive in relation to clinical research, says Sören Olofsson, Director of Region Skåne.
enhance the attractiveness in relation to industrial clinical research – a strategic plan to make Region Skåne more attractive and competitive. – It includes a variety of elements Continues page 12
Changes in clinical research in Denmark and Sweden Denmark • The number of clinical studies has dropped from 369 in 2007 to 305 in 2008. • More phase III studies are carried out in Denmark than before. However, there has been a great decline in the number of phase I, II and IV studies. • The number of phase I studies has dropped from 15 in 2006 to 9 in 2008 • The number of phase II studies has been reduced by 50 % – from 74 in 2007 to 35 in 2008. • The number of phase IV studies has dropped from 95 to 67 from 2007 to 2008. Source: The Danish Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry’s report on clinical research activities in Denmark in 2008
Sweden • A bibliometric analysis reveals a trend of decline pre-eminence in Swedish research output • A widespread perception is that circumstances have eroded the appeal and sustainability of a clinical research career. • A combination of inadequate national funding for the aca-
demic health centres and a governance system that pits academic researchers in academic health centres against hospital administrators charged with providing community health services in the allocation of such funding is a source of resentment and frustration by the research community. • Efforts in the centres to commercialize academic intellectual property vary considerably in scale and scope in the centres. Source: The evaluation report ‘Clinical research in Finland and Sweden’ by the Swedish Research Council.
Global • Generally, clinical research activities are not declining on a global scale. • Eastern European countries and countries like Brazil, India, China and Russia experience an increase in clinical research. • In general, clinical research is having a tough time in Western-Europe. Besides Denmark and Sweden, countries such as France and UK are facing problems keeping up with past achievements. Source: The Danish Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry
Growing life science knowledge into business By Charlotte Strøm, Journalist, MD, PhD Medeon Science Park in Malmö, Sweden, facilitates innovative ideas within life science to grow and develop into small, yet viable businesses. In addition to the start up companies, a number of established companies are located at Medeon Science Park. – We provide business advice and coaching during the earliest stages of a new business start up. We also offer a well-equipped facility service, hence the companies need not choke on practicalities. They can focus their energy into driving their business, says Bengt Lövdén, CEO at Medeon Science Park.
Rent a room, a ﬂoor, or a building At Medeon, companies can rent a room, a floor, or a building. There is great flexibility to the science park facility service, including access to a well-designed conference space. Medeon celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, with thirty tenants filling the office spaces. There is a mix of Swedish and international companies. They are attracted by the close network to the university and research institutions alongside well-developed infrastructure around Malmö and easy access to Copenhagen international airport.
them together to inform about business opportunities within science and knowledge driven innovation. – The park is an extremely important place for scientists and companies to meet. Researchers get information and advice on how to start business based on knowledge driven innovation, and companies that are already moving forward get the opportunity to expand their network, says Bengt Lövdén.
As a special service to entrepreneurs and researchers within life science Medeon offers promising projects a placein the Incubator. This is a programme, in which the Competence network Medeon has close collaborations with Skåne University project undergoes scrutiny and project development. Medeon mediates and offers the working space as well Hospital and the Faculty of Odontology, and all parties benefit from this. Medeon’s network in the neighbouring as project management, business counselling within research community is invited to join seminars three to marketing, sales, legal, and proprietary advice. In addition, four times a year. The network counts six hundred mem- the Medeon network refers potential investors to the bers and the seminars are one of many ways of bringing Incubator project.
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Clinical trials Clinical trials involving new drugs are commonly classified into four phases. Each phase of the drug approval process is treated as a separate clinical trial. The drug development process will normally proceed through all four phases over many years. If the drug successfully passes through Phases I, II, and III, it will usually be approved by the national regulatory authority for use in the general population. Phase IV are ‘post-approval’ studies. Before pharmaceutical companies start clinical trials on a drug, they conduct extensive pre-clinical studies. Phase I trials are the first stage of testing in human subjects. Normally, a small (20-100) group of healthy volunteers will be selected. This phase includes trials designed to assess the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and pharmaco dynamics of a drug. Photo: ScandinavianStockPhoto
such as investments in bio banks, facilities, enhancement of our professional relation to the industry and making sure that we train our staff to be more professional in delivering an adequate number of patients in a short period of time. We are also engaged in enhancing the attractiveness of the cross-border Øresund region in relation to life sciences research, says Sören Olofsson.
New ways of competing During the past years, some of the biggest Swedish pharmaceutical companies have left Sweden. This means that research organisations are leaving as well, leaving only small research facilities in Sweden. The daily interactions between researchers within the industry and their colleagues within the clinical setting are gone, but Sören Olofsson still believes in a strong clinical research position for Skåne. – I am optimistic and think that we can still develop an attractive setup based on other assets and through a communication change. We have to act as a commercial organisation: In order to ensure continuous development in our region, we have to make sure we are competitive in any new development in this area. If the industry has a tendency to leave
Sweden with its basic research organisations, we have to make sure that it comes back for the areas of research where we can still compete, says Sören Olofsson. In the 1970s and 80s, Sweden was very competitive in phase III studies, but Sören Olofsson does not think Sweden will be able to compete in the same areas as previously. He believes that the competitive clinical research in Sweden in the future will be carried out in phase I, II and IV studies. While Swedish pharmaceutical industries have left Sweden, the large Danish pharmaceutical companies such as Novo Nordisk, Lundbeck and Leo Pharma still remain in Denmark with no plans of leaving. This gives Denmark a strong life science position. – The Danish pharmaceutical companies are owned by foundations which mean that they send large sums of money back to society on several levels, including clinical research. Therefore, we might be in a situation where new companies will fund the same amount of clinical research that we have lost. So even though we are smaller than Sweden, we might be able to compete anyway, Ida Sofie Jensen concludes.
Phase II trials are performed on larger groups (20-300) and are designed to assess how well the drug works, as well as to continue Phase I safety assessments in a larger group of patients. When the development process for a new drug fails, this usually occurs during Phase II trials when the drug turns out not to work as planned, or to have toxic effects. Phase III studies are randomized controlled multicenter trials on large patient groups (300-3,000 or more depending upon the disease/ medical condition studied) and are aimed at being the definitive assessment of how effective the drug is, in comparison with the current ‘gold standard’ treatment. Due to their size and comparatively long duration, Phase III trials are the most expensive, time-consuming and difficult trials to design and run. Phase IV trial is also known as Post Marketing Surveillance Trial. Phase IV trials involve the safety surveillance and ongoing technical support of a drug after it receives permission to be marketed and sold. Phase IV studies may be required by regulatory authorities or may be undertaken by the sponsoring company for competitive or other reasons. The safety surveillance is designed to detect any rare or long-term adverse effects in a much larger patient population and over a longer period of time than was possible during the Phase I-III clinical trials. Source: Wikipedia.org
Medicon Valley connecting to Boston The Life Science Ambassador Programme is now expanding to the Boston-area in the US. Within the end of 2010, a Medicon Valley Ambassador is to be placed with MassBio, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Stig JĂ¸rgensen, CEO in Medicon Valley Alliance (left) and Peter Abair, Director, Economic Development, MassBio after signing the agreement of collaboration between Medicon Valley Alliance and MassBio. Photo: Medicon Valley Alliance
By Claus Clausen Companies and universities in Medicon Valley are now getting a unique beachhead in the U.S., the worldâ€™s largest market for biotech, pharma and medtech, when the Life Science Ambassador Programme by the end of this year will expand to include Boston. A united board at Medicon Valley Alliance chose the American East Coast as the best location for expanding the programme. Charlotte Ahlgren, Executive Vice President in Medicon Valley Alliance and responsible for the Life Science Ambassador Programme, explains:
â€“In the area of Boston you find some of the best universities in the world, and there is a huge concentration of life science companies. MassBio is a well established organisation within life sciences in Massachusetts and the cluster of Boston-Cambridge. The Life Science Ambassador Programme is characterised by the exchange of Life Science Ambassadors between clusters. Medicon Valley Alliance is planning to send an ambassador to MassBio in Cambridge, Massachusetts, prior to the end of 2010. Small and medium
Charlotte Ahlgren, Executive Vice President in Medicon Valley Alliance: - An American partner can be of great assistance to a Danish or Swedish company aiming at entering the U.S. market. This will also be something that a Life Science Ambassador representing Medicon Valley in the U.S. will be able to help with.
sized enterprises within biotech and medtech will be able to benefit from this collaboration. Charlotte Ahlgren says: – Tech transfer and risk capital will be the key words. In the
U.S. there is a completely different market for venture capital than exists in Europe. In 2009, five times as much capital was raised for American biotech companies (USD 18,034 mio) than in all of Europe (EUR 2,881 mio). In the US, the San Francisco Bay Area and the Boston Area (New England) once again outpaced all areas in terms of total fund-raising in 2009, garnering USD 3.3 billion and USD 2.4 billion, respectively, out of the total USD 18,034 mio.
Potential board members Charlotte Ahlgren also points out the availability of experienced, competent persons in the Boston area. There might be potential board members for Danish and Swedish companies that need persons with experience in the American market. – An American partner can be
of great assistance to a Danish or Swedish company aiming at entering the U.S. market. This will also be something that a Life Science Ambassador representing Medicon Valley in the U.S. will be able to help with, Charlotte Ahlgren says. Worldwide, there are roughly 5,000 biotech companies, out of which 1,500 are based in the U.S. Half of the companies quoted on the stock exchange are also established in the U.S. Besides Boston, U.S., the Life Science Ambassador Programme also includes Japan (Kobe-Kansai), Canada (British Columbia) and South Korea (Seoul). More information on MassBio can be found on www.massbio.org, and more about the Programme can be found on www.ambassadorprogramme.com.
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Medicon Valley connecting to Boston Facts about life sciences in Massachusetts Industry strength There are more than 430 biotechnology companies located in Massachusetts (MassBio, 2008); 277 of those companies are developing therapeutic drugs. (BioPharm Insight, 2008) 2,364 drugs (chemical- and biological-based) are being developed in Massachusetts, representing just under 7% of the global drug pipeline. With 1,092 biologic drugs in development, almost 8% of the global biologics pipeline is based in Massachusetts. (BioPharm Insight, 2009) 16 of the top 50 biopharmaceutical companies by revenue in the Forbes 500 list have a Massachusetts presence. (Forbes 500, 2009)
Funding & capital Massachusetts receives vast amounts of federal grants that advance the biotechnology industry. The
Commonwealth has received 10% or more of annual National Institute of Healths (NIH) funds since 2005 and consistently ranks #1 in NIH funding per capita. While overall national SBIR investment decreased in 2008, Massachusetts gained in share of the national investment. The $77.8 million in SBIR funds flowing to Massachusetts accounted for 13.94% of national SBIR funding in 2008.
Massachusetts is home to 5 of the top 8 NIH funded hospitals*: 1. 3. 6. 7. 8.
Massachusetts General Hospital Brigham and Womenâ€™s Hospital Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Childrenâ€™s Hospital Boston
* National Institutes of Health, 2009
2008 NIH Funding Per BioScience Employee
Massachusetts Share of Total Federal Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Grants, 2002-2008
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Photo: Boston Skyline, ScandinavianStockPhoto
Medicon Valley connecting to Boston Facts about life sciences in Massachusetts
Venture capital Massachusetts is a hub for biotechnology investment. In 2009, Massachusetts maintained a strong share of national biotech venture capital investment, capturing just over 18% of all U.S. biotechnology venture capital investment.
Talented workers There are 45,905 biotechnology employees in Massachusetts (2008) and the companies employing those workers are responsible for over $4 billion of in-state payroll.
The Massachusetts biopharma industry grew by 42.6% between 2001 and 2008, as compared to overall Massachusetts employment which declined by 56,000 jobs, or 1.7% during roughly the same period (2001-2007). Contrary to popular perception, even within the industry, biopharma manufacturing employment growth outpaced that of the industry as a whole between 2001 and 2008, at 43.6% versus 42.6% growth.
U.S. Venture Capital Investment in MA Companies, 2004-2009*
Massachusetts Biotechnology Employment, 2001-2008*
20.00% 40,000 35,000
42,6% Growth since 2001
5.00% 15,000 10,000
% of all US VC
% of all US Biotech VC
*2009 numbers are preliminary
Photo: Boston by the lake, ScandinavianStockPhoto.
*2008 numbers are preliminary
The saga of Victoza Never before in company history, has the Danish diabetes giant Novo Nordisk witnessed a story like the one of Victoza. From the initial stages of the scientific research to the approval and massive launch of the promising diabetes drug, an intense and captivating drama has been taking place. A drama best described as the saga of Victoza. By Martin BĂ¸ggild Hvid Photo: Novo Nordisk
â€œThere is no doubt that the process of the product approval of Victoza has been the most turbulent and hectic that we have ever experienced at Novo Nordiskâ€?, explains Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer of Novo Nordisk A/S, Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen.
In the following interview, Executive Vice President and Chief Science Officer of Novo Nordisk A/S, Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, will take you through, what he calls the most turbulent and at certain times traumatic product approval in the history of Novo Nordisk. Professor Krogsgaard Thomsen, can you describe the roller coaster ride that you have been on from April 2009 until today, where Victoza is the object of the largest US marketing campaign in company history? There is no doubt that the process around the product approval of Victoza has been the most turbulent and hectic that we have ever experienced at Novo Nordisk. Victoza is indeed a breakthrough diabetes drug for Novo Nordisk, because it opens up entirely new horizons for diabetes therapy, i.e. the GLP1-segment, which means that we will now offer treatment to people much earlier in the life span of type 2 diabetes than previously. Also, the protein design technologies we’ve used in the insulin area for 30 years can now also be used
Facts about Victoza: • is a once-daily human GLP-1 (Glucagon-Like Peptide-1) analogue approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in adults. • has 97% similar to the body’s own hormone (GLP1). GLP-1 is a natural hormone in the body that plays a critical role in maintaining a healthy level of sugar in the blood. In type 2 diabetes, GLP-1 production and function is often impaired. • lowers blood sugar levels by stimulating the release of insulin from beta cells and reducing the release of glucagon from alpha cells when blood sugar levels are high and by slowing gastric emptying. • also, Victoza reduces body weight and body fat mass in people with type 2 diabetes through mechanisms involving reduced hunger and lowered energy intake. • is a once-daily injection given any time of the day independent of meals. • was extensively tested in a clinical trial programme including more than 6,500 people. • the molecule that constitutes the active substance Liraglutide in Victoza was discovered by the Danish chemical engineer Lotte Bjerre Knudsen. • has been documented in clinical trials to: - reduce blood sugar levels - reduce weight - reduce blood pressure - improve the function of insulin-producing beta cells
within the GLP1-segment, which will be a great benefit to diabetics across the world. But the road to where we are today certainly hasn’t been without bumps. We’ve had a routine, fast approval process of Victoza in Europe and Japan, with everything that a normal regulatory dialogue entails. The approval process in the U.S., however was delayed due to lack of resources at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for which reason the action date on Victoza was postponed. Thus, before we even knew what the FDA thought about Victoza’s benefit-risk profile, they were under pressure and had to delay the approval process. The next thing that happened was that Novo Nordisk was informed that an advisory committee, appointed by the FDA would meet and make its recommendation on Victoza at a full-day meeting on 2 April 2009. Before that time, we had not had much technical discussion about the regulatory dossier with the FDA. Unlike the European registration authorities, there is no fixed cycle of communicating back and forth with FDA. So we were slightly taken by surprise, when we discovered that the Advisory Committee of FDA almost had a sole focus on the C-cell cancer that occurred in mice and rats, but in no other species, including monkeys and humans in the clinical trials. There is no doubt that 2 April 2009 was a traumatic day that ended in a very unclear and inconclusive situation in spite of our clear view that we had provided evidence that the C cell findings were completely rodent specific, and hence irrelevant to human therapy . It was a situation that I would call surprising and not completely fair based on the existing data even though some of the rodent specificity research was so recent that the agency and its committee had not yet internalised it. Furthermore, the Advisory Committee had no focus on the clearly documented beneficial effects of Victoza, which is truly a major breakthrough in terms of the many benefits provided to patients with type 2 diabetes: lowering of blood glucose, body weight and blood pressure, without the traditional risk of hypoglycaemia. From 2 April 2009 until the approval on 25 January 2010, we fortunately made a lot of progress in our dialogue with the FDA, including the ability to provide evidence to the agency that there is no significant human safety concern related to C-cells. On the day of the U.S. approval we all felt a great deal of relief. I was quite sure that we were very close, because we had been in the final negotiations on what would later be the approved label in the form of the package insert, patient information leaflet and so on. When we got that final phone call from FDA just before midnight at 11:45 pm – the relief was enormous. It’s been a turbulent and hectic year with the FDA, but deep down, I felt throughout the process that Victoza would eventually be approved in the get a US. However, it was by no means a given, because there were people at the FDA who were not convinced that Victoza should have been approved. But we’ve always
been aware that there were these fractions within the FDA because not everyone within the agency looks at the overall benefit-risk profile, based on human data. Fortunately, the FDA came to the conclusion that the benefit-risk profile of Victoza was favourable and that the product presents a significant possible improvement to the existing range of diabetes drugs. At the moment, US sales figures speak for themselves and overall, Victoza has been accepted on a broad scale, including the health care professionals and patients involved. Victoza means victory, but who is going to be victorious in the battle of market shares – Victoza or Eli Lilly’s Bydureon? I dare well say that it will be Novo Nordisk and Victoza. In the short
term, we will be able to overtake Byetta and Bydureon (Byetta LAR), and in the long term, we are extremely well equipped to sustain leadership if you consider our clinical GLP1- pipeline, which includes three other products in addition to Victoza. In the short term, it is our assessment that Bydureon and thereby Eli Lilly, will help to go
direct patient-oriented comparison between Victoza and Bydureon – Victoza will win. Bydureon may have the one advantage ofless frequent dosing, but in comparison,Victoza has numerous advantages. In the long term, I’m also convinced that Novo Nordisk will lead the GLP1-segment. We are currently working on developing Victoza for medical obesity treatment.
out and push and create greater awareness about the value of GLPtherapy, thus helping to expand the market. But having said that, it is my clear conviction that in a
We also have a Victoza combination product which combines the most advanced insulin product, Degludec, and Victoza in one product that has finished phase 1 trials and is
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The molecule that constitutes the active substance Liraglutide in Victoza was discovered by the Danish chemical engineer Lotte Bjerre Knudsen (right). Photo: Novo Nordisk
expected to move into final development next year. Furthermore, we have a product – Semaglutid – that has finished phase 2 trials and is an ultra-long-acting analogue of human GLP-1. Finally, we are the only company undergoing phase 1 studies for a GLP1-product that has been stabilized against degradation in the stomach and intestinesso that it can be administered as an orally available tablet, even though
it is still a large-sized GLP1-protein. That is unique for Novo Nordisk. So we have already built up a portfolio to consolidate long-term leadership in the whole GLP1-segment, which we believe will be one of the very attractive anti-diabetic segments of the future. CEO at Novo Nordisk A/S, Lars Rebien Sørensen, has previously said that he has never seen a diabetes
drug as promising as Victoza. How will Victoza influence the lives of diabetics worldwide? Victoza will help diabetics meet treatment objectives, which include an HbA1c (editor’s note: measurement of the amount of glycated hemoglobin in the blood) of 7% or less. This corresponds to an average glucose level that will reduce the risk of blindness, kidney failure
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Insulin is typically used relatively late in a course of treatment, and therefore our main focus is not so much switching patients from insulin therapy, but rather from Metformin, which is an old, well- established medicine, which is both safe, cheap and effective early in the disease. When Metformin no longer has full effect, typically after 3-5 years, it is our goal to position Victoza as the ideal second line treatment. Victoza is to be used instead of all the different tablet variants available, tablets that many diabetics try and often only have a limited effect of for a short time period. This is where we are primarily going to position Victoza even though we know that the product will be used throughout the treatment cascade. When Victoza no longer is sufficient in combination with Metformin, we will offer our Victoza combination product with insulin degludec. So the preferred lines of treatment are 1) Metformin, 2) Metformin + Victoza, 3) Metformin + Victoza + Insulin. It can be either in the form of combination therapy in one pen or the drugs being administered separately. As regards the co-existence of GLP-1 and insulin in the type 2 diabetes market, we will not have these, the most effective two diabetes drug classes, directly in competition, as the science tells us that it is both logical and rational to position Victoza early in the course of the disease when the patient has only been in treatment for 3-5 years, and then use Victoza throughout the patient life span by addition of insulin when this is needed. Hence, when diabetics have been introduced to Victoza, the next step is simply to intensify treatment by adding a Novo Nordisk insulin e.g. in form of a basal insulin such as Levemir or, later on, insulin degludec. It is our belief that this paradigm of type 2 diabetes treatment with Victoza as a common denominator will have a significant impact on diabetics worldwide.
What is the potential in relation to switching insulin patients to Victoza? And how will Novo Nordisk handle having two first line diabetes drugs competing?
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and amputations. In addition to estimating that the risk of complications in the eyes, kidneys and nerves is reduced significantly, we hope to find that even cardiovascular risk may be reduced following Victoza therapy. Because Victoza is a product with beneficial effects, but without the same side effects as insulin (hypoglycaemia and weight gain), we expect to see more type 2 diabetics being treated to a near-normal glucose level in the general practitioner’s clinic.
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– the last Novo Nordisk blockbuster drug? Victoza is predicted to be the next Novo Nordisk blockbuster drug. Speculations revolve around whether it will be the last on a future pharma market dominated by personalised medicine. Victoza is not only the fifth Novo Nordisk blockbuster drug, it is also the first of five future blockbuster drugs from our current pipeline, says Novo Nordisk CSO. Pharma analyst predicts future Novo Nordisk dominance but suggests a strong competitor to Victoza. By Martin Bøggild Hvid Victoza – the new Novo Nordisk flagship within diabetes treatment has had a remarkable launch on both the European and US markets with sales figures going in one direction Victoza is not just going to be the fifth Novo Nordisk blockbuster drug. It is also going to be the first of a number of potential blockbuster drugs within the next decade, states Novo Nordisk Executive Vice President and CSO, Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen.
and one direction only – up. Everybody in the business is certain that Victoza will become the next Novo Nordisk blockbuster drug. The question is: when will the diabetes drug generate more than the magic $1 billion and thereby join the league of blockbuster drugs? – Previously, we have stated that it is our assessment that Victoza will become a blockbuster drug within five years of the 2009 European launch – ie in 2014. We can’t and will not be more precise than that, but it’s clear that the sales figures are very satisfactory, so we’re very confident, says Novo Nordisk
Executive Vice President and CSO, Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen. Pharma analyst Martin Parkhøi from Danske Bank is not quite as hesitant to predict when Victoza will become a blockbuster drug. – There is no doubt that Victoza has had a very good start in 2010. It is already clear that Novo Nordisk will succeed Byetta although the latter has been on the market for five years. I think that Bydureon (editors note: Eli Lilly’s long-acting diabetes drug) will be a good replacement for Byetta, but I don’t think that Bydureon will succeed Victoza. I expect that Victoza will
What is a blockbuster drug? • A blockbuster drug is a drug generating more than $1 billion of revenue for its owner each year. • It is estimated that about one third of the pharma market by value is accounted for by blockbuster drugs. • About 100 products are blockbuster drugs. • Pfizer’s Lipitor accounts for annual sales of about $ 13 billion and is the highest selling drug in the world. • NovoRapid from Novo Nordisk is the world’s most widely used rapid-acting insulin to be used in connection with meals. Within four years, NovoRapid is expected to be among the 10 best-selling drugs worldwide.
sell for more than EUR 200 million in 2010. Novo Nordisk expects Victoza to become a blockbuster drug in 2014, but I expect it will already happen in 2013, says Martin Parkhøi.
Solely supporters of Victoza But according to Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, the most positive aspect of the Victoza launch is that the feedback Novo Nordisk is getting from patients and doctors is indeed positive. The medical world is often divided into two camps: a e group of supporters and a group of nonsupporters of a given product. – With Victoza, there is almost only one camp. Not that every doctor we have talked to loves the product, but all the key opinion leading doctors, we have spoken to are very positive, says Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen. Within the following months the global life science community will know whether there will be only one camp solely supporting Victoza when the product enters the Japanese market as the first GLP1-analog offered to the Japanese diabetics.
Liraglutide ™ molecule – Novo Nordisk
– We know that Victoza works really well in the Asian population. Our Japanese studies have shown that Victoza has an excellent effect that is almost even more profound among Asians than among Westerners. Novo Nordisk is first movers on the Japanese GLP-1-market, there are no competitors, so we are quite convinced that we will see a good uptake of Victoza in Japan, because we are confident that the Japanese market is simply waiting for this type of product, Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen states. No matter the extent of success for Victoza on the
Personalised medicine • Personalised medicine is an emerging concept for treating diseases. • It involves determining specific information about a particular patient and then prescribing a treatment that is specific for that patient. • Personalised medicine represents an approach for defining disease subtypes and defining biomarkers that can identify patients who are most likely to benefit from a specific treatment and other patients who are unlikely to respond or likely to experience side effects.
Japanese market, Martin Parkhøi suggests that on any market, a very suited competitor to Victoza will be Taspoglutide from Roche / Ipsen which may enter the market within a few years.
Blockbuster drug versus personalised medicine But whether Victoza or Taspoglutide will prevail, what will be dominant within future diabetes treatment – the blockbuster model or personalised medicine?
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The definition of personalised medicine for diabetes is the use of information about the genetic makeup of a person with diabetes to tailor strategies for preventing, detecting, treating or monitoring their diabetes. But how will personalised medicine affect the future Novo Nordisk pipeline? – There is nothing to indicate that the blockbuster model is disappearing from the insulin market and therefore we also expect that Novo Nordisk’s strength will continue. Novo Nordisk has already three insulin blockbuster drugs in NovoRapid, NovoMix and Levemir and we also expect that Degludec and DegludecPlus will become blockbuster drugs, says Martin Parkhøi. According to Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, the problem is that there really hasn’t been any breakthrough in the understanding of the genetic correlations or other aspects that can create a breeding ground for truly effective diabetes drugs based on the perspective of personalised medicine. – It is true that to a certain degree ,the pharma industry is turning away from the blockbuster model. But the future diabetes treatment will not be dominated by personalised medicine since single genes play a very small role in diabetes, he says and concludes: – I would rather say that I envision a handful of future blockbuster drugs in the current Novo Nordisk pipeline. In other words, Novo Nordisk is more than ever moving towards the blockbuster drug model. Victoza is not just going to be the fifth Novo Nordisk blockbuster drug. It is also going to be the first of a number of potential blockbuster drugs within the next decade – provided that the wind blows our way. Development of Victoza. Photo: Novo Nordisk
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Stem cell scientists seek partners in Medicon Valley By Simon Theland and Claus Clausen A Japanese delegation of researchers in stem cell technology recently visited Medicon Valley on a worldwide tour in search of collaborative partners and business opportunities. Dr. Shintaro Sengoku, Associate Professor of Kyoto University Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) and Ph.D. Chikafumi Yokoyama, CEO of the company ReproCELL, represented the two organi-
sations that have joined forces to develop innovative technologies in stem cell research.
Revolutionary findings Building on the revolutionary findings of Professor Norio Nakatsuji and his team of dedicated principal investigators, iCeMS and the academic spin-off, ReproCELL, have
Mr. Chikafumi Yokohama, PhD, CEO, ReproCELL, Inc., Mr. Jan Egebjerg, Divisional Director of Molecular Neurobiology, Lundbeck A/S and Dr. Shintaro Sengoku, Associate Professor, iCMS, Kyoto University. Photo: Collorrange Photography.
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Technologically speaking The technology promoted by iCeMS and ReproCELL is unique in that it operates in the so-called mesoscopic scale, i.e. between the nanoscopic (atoms and simple molecules) and the macroscopic (our everyday world). The cell processes that are at play in this scale (5-100 nanometers) are in essence living factories of enzymes and molecules. Understanding these processes and learning to control or even mimic them promises to lead to breakthroughs in next generation (e.g. regenerative) medicine, targeted drug treatments, and green chemical technologies. Harnessing the power of cells and mastering meso space is the key to solving many of the technological quandaries facing humanity today. One of the more substantial achievements coming from this stem cell technology is the creation of a cell which mimics the properties of a heart. This technology holds the potential to substitute the use of inVIVO animal testing and thus both circumvent ethical issues and issues of accuracy in human vs. animal test results. developed several products, which address the needs of researchers and clinicians in the field of stem cells (see info box above). – A number of Medicon Valley’s companies might be able to facilitate the further development of the technology as well, says Dr. Sengoku.
Familiar with Medicon Valley The visit to Medicon Valley was facilitated by Thomas Jonsson and Takashi Asada who are Life Science Ambas-
sadors within the Life Science Ambassador Programme. They contacted iCeMS and ReproCELL and informed them of the collaborative potential that exists in Medicon Valley. Initially, a visit to Medicon Valley seemed quite farfetched for both iCeMS and ReproCELL: – I was familiar with Medicon Valley because of previous work with Ph.D. students from Novo Nordisk. Also, the region is known as one of the largest clusters in Europe, so eventually, we might have come here, says Dr. Sengoku. – Fortunately, we were contacted by Thomas Jonsson and Takashi Asada and for that reason, we visited much earlier than we thought we would. The bi-lateral relations that the ambassadors provide really seem to be the excellence of the programme.
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In Medicon Valley iCeMS and ReproCELL held meetings with The University of Lund, Bioneer, Novo Nordisk and Lundbeck. At the moment, Bioneer is looking into the possibilities of co-operation. – We communicate with both iCeMS and ReproCELL as we see possibilities in both institutions. As for iCeMS, we see the possibility of co-operating on stem cell related projects and ReproCELL offers actual business opportunities for us with their technology, says Lars H. Pedersen, Director of R&D at Bioneer. To Lundbeck, the meeting with iCeMS and ReproCELL was part of a general scouting initiative to monitor what is going on within Japanese academic institutions. – ICeMS is a very interesting university and ReproCELL is an interesting company. At an earlier stage, we have been on a large scale scouting-tour with the Life Science Ambassador Programme to Japan where we have witnessed topclass science. We see a large potential in Japanese universities and pharmaceutical companies. We already have a large scale co-operation with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company (editors note: The largest pharmaceutical company in Japan) which we are very pleased about, says Jan Torleif Pedersen, Section head, Bioinformatics at Lundbeck.
Nordic equality and independence Whether the delegation indeed found collaborative partners or clients in Medicon Valley remains to be seen,
Photo: Collorrange Photography.
but the delegates definitely expect to return to participate in follow-up meetings. Furthermore, the delegates are most optimistic of the overall potential of relationships with Medicon Valley organisations. One reason for this optimism is – as they put it – that the Nordic level of equality and independence of academic and public
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Drug manufacturers put global health on the agenda Pharmaceutical companies face demands on transparency and sustainability from their stakeholders. As they increasingly engage in programs to improve global health, critics claim that these initiatives aim only at improving access to medicinal products. By Charlotte Strøm Engagement in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities is becoming a strategic issue globally with any industry, including pharmaceuticals. – Some have a reactive approach to CSR - they are forced by stakeholders and circumstances to change their ways. Others address environmental and social challenges proactively, because they understand that this will open up new markets and ensure their future “license to operate”. And yet others are ethically driven; they believe that this is not only a good way to do business, it is also the right way, says Tania Ellis, consultant in social business trends and expert on CSR. Hence improving global health is no longer only the job of governments, the EU, the UN, or the large number of non-governmental organizations. Drug companies put global health on their agendas and take initiatives to improve it in various ways. However, this is not a matter of philanthropy.
zation, IFPMA is working on improving health in global aspects, and WHO is a major stakeholder for the IFPMA.
Ethical dilemmas One of the issues pointed out by critics is the lack of ethics in drug development in third world countries. What is the point in potentially improving lives with medicine that people in low or middle income countries will never be able to pay for themselves? Yet another issue is that health programs in third world countries may just improve people’s access to medicine, and ultimately serve the purpose of increasing medicine sales figures. – We know that these are the arguments of the people who criticize pharmaceutical companies. And this is where they are wrong. Pharmaceutical companies take a large amount of CSR initiatives for improving health, not improving sales, Guy Willis says.
Database oversight CSR as a strategic tool – The freedom to operate is no longer purchasable through donations alone. This is why CSR plays a much more strategic role with pharmaceutical companies than it has done previously, says Steen Vallentin, associate professor, PhD at the Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS). Albeit the complexity of CSR and global health goes beyond philanthropy, this is rarely reflected in the media. – The debate about pharmaceutical companies and third world countries suffers from a lack of knowledge and insight, says Guy Willis, Director of Communication at The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA). The members of the federation are global pharmaceutical companies and national pharmaceutical industry associations. It is located in Geneva, Switzerland and this is not a coincidence. This is also the hometown of The World Health Organization (WHO). As a global organi-
In order to informand improve the transparency of global health activities, the IFPMA has established the IFPMA Partnerships Directory: www.ifpma.org/healthpartnerships. This is a database allowing the public to obtain easy access to information on company programs to help improve health in developing countries. It can be accessed through the IFPMA website and search functions improve the usability of the database. The database has been up and running since 2008.
Showroom or source of information Has the database become a “showroom” for the good deeds of global pharmaceutical companies then? – Our mission is to make available concrete information to inform the debate about the role of the industry in third world countries. In doing so, we set strict criteria for programs which can be entered into the database, says Guy Willis. The IFPMA only admits programs that aim at improving health in low or middle income countries. Any program
must be sustained over many years. Per se, this excludes emergency aid programs, which are recorded separately. Small scale programs are allowed, e.g. mother-to-mother education in a village in Africa. – We do not exclude programs because of scale. They may – in a limited setting – fulfill the purpose of improving health perfectly. Fundamentally, the programs must demonstrate sustainability. For example, the biggest donation programfor river blindness is also one of the oldest. It has been running for more than 20 years now, and it reflects the commitment of the company behind the initiative, says Guy Willis.
Measure engagement Steen Vallentin points out that there will be an increasing demand from the public to demonstrate the effects of CSR initiatives. This implies a change from communicating
about what they are doing to record the activities, evaluate the effects and report it. – Show me the data! Trustworthiness in global health initiatives as any other CSR activity will have to be measured for people to judge the impact themselves, he says. Guy Willis points out that the IFPMA has been documenting its member companies’ developing world programs since 2003. During this period they have grown from 36 to 213 in number.
One-way road Tania Ellis, expert on CSR, believes that an increasing number of organizations will travel down the road of CSR. It will however be a one- way road. – CSR takes commitment and there is no such thing as a free ride.
Glossy, PR-driven CSR will soon be exposed by critical stakeholders. And interestingly, many companies that start traveling on the sustainability journey discover that it actually makes an incredible amount of sense for the business, the employees, and most of all the people with improved health, Tania Ellis says.
3 rd Annual International Partnering Conference
BIOPHARM AMERICA 2010 ™
SEPTEMBER 15–17, 2010 BOSTON, MA, USA BioPharm America™ is where biotech industry partnerships get started. Meet one-to-one with biotech and pharma executives from around the world to identify and enter strategic relationships. Equipped with partneringONE®, the world’s leading interactive partnering system for the life science industry, BioPharm America is the only event in North America based on the same proven formula as EBD Group’s acclaimed European events BIO-Europe and BIO-Europe Spring®. In addition to productive partnering, the conference offers high level workshops, panels, company presentations and a lively exhibition. For further information, please view our conference website at www.ebdgroup.com/bpa
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South Korea moving fast on life sciences The The growth growth comet comet South South Korea Korea is is progressively progressively growing growing stronger stronger and and stronger stronger on on life life sciences. sciences. Lundbeck Lundbeck has has just just visited visited South South Korea Korea and and is is impressed impressed by by the the level level of of R&D. R&D. By Claus Clausen South Korea is one of the fastest growing economies and ranks the 11th largest market presenting growth opportunities for most Danish and Swedish life sciences companies. It is often overseen by many, perhaps due to its location between two of the most interesting markets; China and Japan. But a major part of publications and patent applications within life sciences originates from South Korea, says Thomas Jonsson, Medicon Valley’s Ambassador in both South Korea and Japan.
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– South Korea should be interesting for big pharma in Denmark and Sweden scouting for products and technologies. So far most South Korean biotechs have developed their products domestically. Quite a few of these biotech companies are now aiming at global outlicensing deals and subsequently outsource international clinical development. This shift in focus present an opportunity to service companies like CROs and CMOs, Thomas Jonsson points. The Koreans are entrepreneurs and conduct innovative world class research in areas like stem cells and Drug Delivery System. While there are no big pharmaceutical companies in Korea yet, Korean pharma companies are aggressively looking at in-licensing compounds for the Korean market, and some of these companies are also present in nearby markets such as China, South East Asia, and India. – The government has also just announced a 500 Million Euro growth fund to support small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) and has made major commitments in a BIO IT project (BIT-Port) supported by Seoul National University and KAIST, two of the leading Korean Universities, Thomas Jonsson says.
Lundbeck impressed The Danish company Lundbeck recently went on a research tour with the Life Science Ambassador Programme to South Korea and visited companies and research centres. – Lundbeck has been doing sales in South Korea for several years and along the way, we have kept a close eye on what is happening in this country on R&D. Right now, South Korea is making their mark, scientifically speaking, and this has encouraged us to give the market a thorough overhaul. With help from the Medicon Valley Ambassador, we initiated a visitors programme and took a tour round 16 South Korean companies and research centres, says Klaus P. Bøgesø, Vice President for External Affairs, Lundbeck Research. Klaus P. Bøgesø and his four colleagues from Lundbeck
Research who also participated in the tour, are positively surprised by the high level of research. – We expected to see interesting research of a high level, but we saw much more than we could have hoped for. There was a higher percentage of interesting projects than we normally experience on these research tours, says Peter Høngaard Andersen, Executive Vice President, Research Management at Lundbeck. Among others, Lundbeck has made contact with interesting universities, Contract Research Organizations (CROs) and GTS-institutes. – For instance, we had a meeting with a service company operating in 3D X-ray structure, equipment that we do not possess at Lundbeck and therefore for us an interesting company. Another example was a very interesting and successful symposium with the Brain Research Center of Seoul National University. South Korea is certainly progressively growing stronger and stronger within the field of life sciences, says Klaus P. Bøgesø.
Thomas Jonsson, Medicon Valley’s Ambassador in South Korea and Japan: – South Korea should be interesting for big pharma in Denmark and Sweden scouting for products and technologies.
Photo: Agnete Schlichtkrull
Life Science Ambassador Programme as door opener Lundbeck is very well aware that they are not the first foreign company to show an interest in South Korea. – Others before us have been there, also big international companies. However, in South Korea there is a
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reservation to be registered towards large, international groups. And compared to these groups, we are a small company with 5500 employees. It is also an advantage that we come from a small country with only 5 million inhabitants, says Peter Høngaard Andersen. To Lundbeck, the Life Science Ambassador Programme has been useful in making contacts on a new market. – It has been a very useful door opener for us to be able to use the Life Science Ambassador Programme and the Ambassador in South Korea. The Life Science Ambassador has, prior to our visit, introduced the South Korean companies and institutes to our company, our research and what we hoped to achieve during our visit in South Korea. This has made our visit much more effective, and a door opener like this is very useful in an Asian country. In Japan, we have also used the Life Science Ambassador Programme with great success, Klaus P. Bøgesø says. Lundbeck expects that the visit in South Korea will result in concrete cooperation agreements. – At the moment, we are in the process of performing a detailed evaluation of our visit. We are confident that our findings will lead us back
to a number of the researchers and institutions we visited and discuss concrete collaboration possibilities In fact, we have already scheduled a meeting with one group during the WorldPharma congress in Denmark in July, Peter Høngaard Andersen says.
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> The Turning Point In this new series of portraits of upcoming biotech and medtech companies in Medicon Valley, LifeSciences Insight focuses on the companies’ Turning Point. We ask founders and CEO´s about their experience of the major changes imposed on biotech companies during their development from idea to business. What crucial crossroads have they seen? How would they define climax? And what decisions have been most important for their success?
Cartoon hero nanoparticles CEO in Genovis, Sarah Fredriksson, defines the most important turning point for her biotech start-up company and suggests cartoons as effective communication tools.
By Helga Heyn A yellow submarine is moving smoothly through buffer in a test tube. Inside, a yellow peanut-shaped fellow is instructing two groups of workers resembling chubby dolphins equipped with secateurs and pink ducks carrying giant vacuum cleaners. The classical background music becomes more intense as everybody leaves the ship. They are tailor-made nanoparticles and they work quickly on their shared mission – to clean up antibodies. The dolphins – who symbolise enzymes – cleave the antibody IgG molecules at a singular defined site below the hinge region to yield Fc and F(ab) fragments. Now comes the other protein – the pink ducks with their vacuum beak – to remove the Fc fraction from the solution. Their peanutshaped friend grabs them and
shows up with a magnet, and all the magnetic nanoparticles go back to the submarine, leaving only purified F(ab) fragments.
Animated films The Swedish based biotech company Genovis sells nanoparticles for transfection and imaging, unique antibody engineering proteins, method development and tailor-made prestudies. They use the cartoon hero particles in all sorts of corporate communication. – Our short animated films help us explain technical products in a new way to both shareholders and customers, Sarah Fredriksson, founder and CEO of Genovis, explains. Besides the multifunctional nanoparticles which can be used, for example, to purify antibodies, Genovis has developed a new category of
IgGZERO is very useful for quick removal of IgG molecules from Fc(gamma) receptors on primary cells. Photo: Genovis
Genovis on youtube.com To see the movies go to the links below or, simply, search for “Genovis” FerOdot Brigade: www.youtube.com/user/biotechgenovis#p/u/5/nVcRfQCg9bE Antibody tools FabRICATOR: www.youtube.com/user/biotechgenovis#p/u/0/XHoSga6onkM
FerOdot Brigade – the magnetic nanoparticles that transmit DNA material to cells. Photo: Genovis
nanoparticles that generate a contrast effect in several types of medical imaging techniques. A multimodal technique which helps specialists locate tiny tumours earlier. Another animated film portraits this part of the product portfolio as tiny mobile peanut-shaped troopers who enter a cell (could be a cancer cell) carrying a DNAstring which they leave inside. The DNA-delivery particles both deliver their cargos and create contrast so the cell becomes visible in a magnetic resonance scan. – We use the animated films in marketing, websites, presentations, and in other media. They have almost become a trade mark for our company, says Sarah Fredriksson. The now 42-year-old Dr. in biochemistry chose to build her own company instead of following the post-doc path nine years ago. As CEO of a small company with limited resources, Sarah Fredriksson chose to use untraditional means to make Genovis known among potential customers and other stakeholders.
Meeting our first costumer Genovis was listed on the exchange at a rather early stage. Today, according to Sarah Fredriksson, the company is met with high expectations, because the owners’ expectations increase as the company grows. – At a personal level, looking back at the past nine years, I see myself developing from being primarily a scientist to becoming a business person. I am still the same optimistic person as I was in the beginning when
founding Genovis. But today, I am definitely less naïve and perhaps even more realistic, says Sarah Fredriksson who has gained some of her most valuable learnings from customers: – Meeting our first customer was the most important turning point for me. As an entrepreneur with a scientific background, you constantly strive to improve your product and you want it to be absolutely perfect when it reaches the customer. But that’s not how the world works. In my experience, you refine the product by constantly interacting with your customers, Sarah Fredriksson says. She believes that establishing and maintaining a dialogue with one’s customers is key: – By listening to your customers, you get invaluable feedback and really get to understand their preferences. At the end of the day, I guess, it all comes down to the
turning point (plural turning points) 1. A decisive point at which a significant change or historical event occurs, or at which a decision must be made. 2. (calculus) A maximum or minimum on a graph. 3. A crossroads. 4. A T-junction. Source: www.wiktionary.org
question of what the customer needs. And when you realise that, you turn into a business person. That’s how my personal development from university-focused scientist to customer- and sales-oriented CEO started.
YouTube/Facebook – interactive initiatives Genovis supplies scientists from public and private organisations around the world that want the small nanoparticles and tailor-made antibodies. The US is the main market but the company also uses distributors in Europe, Korea and Singapore. As a listed company, Genovis also needs to communicate with 2,000 shareholders, which sometimes requires a rather creative approach in order to be effective. IT technology has made the export-oriented sales more cost effective and faster, and Genovis has had success with taking a quite informal approach. Genovis reaches out to potential customers on a global level by using interactive press releases and web communities such as Facebook. – Facebook and YouTube are add-ons – an informal channel for communication with potential customers. For example, let’s say we submit a press release say-
FabRICATOR – the enzyme that cuts IgG molecules into Fc and F(ab) fragments at precisely the same site, every time. Photo: Genovis
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ing that, on a certain date, we will attend a conference and present new results and products. Not everyone reads press releases, and the language in the release is both formal and “facts only”. On Facebook, we can communicate that we are on our way to the conference, post photos from the venue and add comments from customers and distributors, Sarah Fredriksson explains. – Facebook is a way of reaching employees, customers, partners and shareholders through a forum dedicated to Genovis, and hopefully we will see increased activity on that site in a year’s time, says Sarah Fredriksson.
Sarah Fredriksson defines meeting their first customer as the most important turning point for Genovis. Photo: Genovis
Link to Genovis’ Facebook group and YouTube profile is displayed on the company web site.
B U I L D I N G VA L U E T H RO U G H PA RT N E R S H I P S
BIO-EUROPE 16TH ANNUAL INTERNATIONAL PARTNERING CONFERENCE
NOVEMBER 15–17, 2010 MUNICH, GERMANY BIO-Europe is Europe’s largest partnering conference, serving the global biotechnology industry. The conference provides an excellent opportunity to find potential partners for your products, initiate strategic alliances or tap into the international financing network. Featuring EBD Group’s sophisticated, web-based partnering system, partneringONE®, the event enables delegates to efficiently identify, meet and get partnerships started with companies across the life science value chain. In addition to productive partnering, BIO-Europe offers high level workshops, panels, company presentations and a lively exhibition. For further information, please view our conference website at www.ebdgroup.com/bioeurope
Register before August 31 to save 200 euro!
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INCUBA Science Park captures and stimulates neighborhood innovation By Charlotte Strøm, Journalist, MD, PhD Since 1986, INCUBA Science Park has made an effort to capture and stimulate knowledge driven innovation with its neighbors, Aarhus University and other research institutions in the Aarhus area. The goal is to take the best ideas and develop them into business. Originally, INCUBA was established in the Aarhus University Park. As the faculties expanded and moved to different addresses, INCUBA followed and also established satellites at several addresses in Aarhus. INCUBA Science Park A/S in Aarhus, Denmark, is a hundred percent privately owned enterprise with The Aarhus University Research Foundation being the major stakeholder. The close relation to the universities and the research environment are the fundament of INCUBA. The various facilities count an IT-science park next to the university’s IT activities at Katrinebjerg, a biomedical and biotechnology science park next to the Aarhus University Hospital Skejby, and next to the Aarhus School of Engineering, another science park is currently on the drawing board. One-stop-shop for entrepreneurs About 1000 people work at the 125 different companies that are currently occupying the office spaces at INCUBA Science Park. Approximately a hundred of the companies are start-ups. The other companies are mainly service providers to the startup companies at the science park. INCUBA offers a one-stop-shop comprising e.g. legal and proprietary advice, business counseling, and access to venture capital network. – It is an enormous challenge to drive innovation into a successful business. Very few have adequate business understanding and insight of the market to succeed without assistance and back up. Our job is then to nurture the process of these small businesses and see them through the best way we can, says Arne Vesterdal. When the companies start growing bigger, the time has come to leave the “nest” at INCUBA: – We mind the flow at the Science Park carefully. As a rule of thumb, when companies grow and employ more than 10-20 people, they also grow out of INCUBA and into their own domicile, which is one of the core idea of our business: to maintain focus on the small start-up companies and their needs, Arne Vesterdal says.
Stimulating innovation The success of INCUBA depends on a constant frontload of innovative ideas and projects with business potential. – The university is aware of the need to drive the process proactively and has established incentives for researchers in order for them to be motivated to send their innovations to the patent attorney for evaluation. This is a small, but rather crucial step, says Arne Vesterdal. Furthermore, there is a focus on assisting and smoothing the technology transfer process from the university into private business. Magnet for local growth INCUBA Science Park is a magnet for knowledge driven business from all over West-Denmark. In some ways, the tough times of recession have have affected this part of the country to a more moderate extent . – Particularly, the biotech industry has suffered from the recession and as such we have been fortunate to have a broader spectrum of tenants comprising also IT and cleantech companies, which are still currently in moderate growth, Director Anne Vesterdal says. Quality rather than quantity The major challenge of the future is to keep building and strengthening the network of INCUBA. – We are constantly looking for new ideas and opportunities to network and grow stronger through network he says. Arne Vesterdal stresses that it is a matter of quality rather than quantity: – We receive a large number of invitations to network attendance and membership every day. We carefully select those with particular interest for each of the companies at INCUBA in order to avoid that too many spend too much time on less or unproductive network. Driving innovation into a commercial success requires in depth branch knowledge and business understanding. Network is a part of that process and Arne Vesterdal and his eleven co-workers at INCUBA Science Park constantly build the network of the cluster and the companies starting their business there.
A Brit in Denmark:
Living in the land of good work-life balance According to British Adam Baker, Director of Diagnostic Product Development at Exiqon, living and working in Denmark is like going on a journey to the land of good work-life balance - a society characterised by high quality of life, networking, attractive life sciences companies, and strong traditions. By Mia Riise Hansen Applying for a job in Denmark as a foreigner is not exactly a piece of cake, says 39-year-old British Adam Baker. He holds a PhD in medical genetics, and two and a half years ago, he and his Danish wife and two daughters decided to move to Denmark after having spent 15 years living and working in Austria, Germany, Canada and Iceland: – We wanted to settle down in one of our native countries, and we
chose Denmark because we found a better quality of life for our family here. Denmark has a high quality of life, a good medical care, social and schooling system and a great environment for bringing up children. Also, it’s a clean and safe country. We have settled in Denmark –our children go to a Danish school instead of the international school and they have adjusted quickly. They did not speak Danish when we arrived, but my oldest daughter was immediately offered extra help at school to support her integration and help her learn Danish, says Adam Baker.
The Danes love family gatherings, birthdays, high school reunions, festivals, etc. If you don’t enjoy that, it can be a bit confusing and lonely. People are very involved in their family and are less likely to ask their coworkers out for a beer after work, which is very common in other countries, explains Adam Baker, who has been living and working in Denmark for almost three years.
Denmark has a tax system that encourages and supports scientists arriving from abroad. These scientists particularly populate the Medicon Valley region with its numerous biotech and pharmaceutical companies gathered in one place. Although Adam Baker has found a job, he has not forgotten the efforts involved to work his way through the Danish job market. – My family and I were still living in Iceland when I started applying for jobs, and I didn’t receive any invitations for job interviews at all. Embracing someone coming from abroad with a different professional background was something I felt was
not happening easily in Denmark. Denmark has a very established system of networks and that was what I found quite challenging – to get into those professional networks. – Denmark has a lot of networks in the job system – people know everybody here. I worked for 7 years in Iceland where there is a similar network system due to the size of the country. However, I didn’t expect the same in Denmark with more than 5 million inhabitants, Adam Baker explains and continues: – It is a good thing to be inside the network, but you are facing a bit of a challenge to get there.e. In order to integrate and attract foreign nationalities to the country, Danish businesses must embrace non-network peopleas well as accept nonDanish educational backgrounds.
Cultural differences Luckily, when Adam Baker moved to Denmark, he got a job interview very quickly and was subsequently offered a position as Director of Diagnostic Product Development for Exiqon, an innovative biotechnology company. However, the network challenges did not stop here. – Once you are living and working here, you have to start working on your social network and it’s not something that happens overnight. It
is very a culture very different from, for instance, the US. According to Adam Baker, one of the major elements of the powerful Danish networking is a very strong family life and a variety of traditions: – The Danes love family gatherings, birthdays, high school reunions, festivals, etc. If you don’t enjoy that, it can be a bit confusing and lonely. People are very involved in their family and are less likely to ask their co-workers out for a beer after work, which is very common in other countries. You should be aware of this cultural difference and understand that it has nothing to do with you - it is a part of the way of life in Denmark. My advice to other foreigners is to embrace and understand the culture, such as the traditions, and also to learn the language. Learning Danish is quite a challenge when you are working in an international environment. It’s easy to speak English, but if you want to become integrated, you
have to speak Danish, Adam Baker states.
Less hours – more structure According to Adam Baker, there is a very good work-life balance in Denmark. But it is different from some other countries, so he and his wife had to get used to it after working in so many different places. – Overall, there are less working hours, e.g. you go to work quite early so you can pick up your kids between 3 and 4 in the afternoon, and there are a lot of holidays compared to other countries. Again, the Danes have a very strong holiday culture. You actually take your holiday and enjoy it! One of the things which fascinate me is the fact that the country more or less closes down during the summer holidays – everybody is on holiday. I find it a great part of the Danish culture. – But it can be challenging when you are working with other countries. Our colleagues and collaboration
partners in the US often comment on the amount of holidays in Denmark and working hours. However, people in Denmark are working very efficiently and hard and the Danish working culture is very structured, positive and relaxed - less formal, Adam Baker explains.
Exchange of experience As in any work system, differences are good, and this is where Adam Baker feels he can contribute to the Danish working life. – I hope I can give my company and colleagues a different perspective on things. My different background and working experience provide knowledge on how it is to work professionally with people from North America, England etc. When working with people from different cultures, being open-minded is essential. In my opinion, nothing is right, nothing is wrong – we can all learn from each other, he concludes.
Contact Kjeld Birch, MD Managing partner +45 4054 2440
Expatriates – an inspirational challenge According to the CEO of Medicon Valley-based Exiqon, life sciences companies need to recruit foreign labour to secure the necessary competencies By Mia Riise Hansen To Lars Kongsbak, recruiting employees from outside of Denmark with a different mindset is vital to his company Exiqon, a biotechnology company based in Denmark with a subsidiary in the U.S. Exiqon is a business operating in a competitive industry, a business constantly in pursuit of new scientific discoveries. – As a medium-sized Danish biotech company, we can’t afford to
refrain from hiring employees on expatriate assignments. They contribute unique diversity to our company. This diversity results in even more strength, innovation and drive in a knowledge-based company such as Exiqon and it boosts the establishment of networks. And at the end of the day, innovation and drive are our bread and butter, says Lars Kongsbak, CEO at Exiqon.
– Only approximately 2 % of our business is placed in Denmark, so it would be foolish not to recruit foreign manpower to our company. An international company needs international labour. And overall, the workplace becomes a more inspirational environment, says Lars Kongsbak. Exiqon often needs to recruit foreign labour to secure the necesContinues page 42
– If you distinguish yourself from a Danish candidate in terms of education and experience, you are in a much stronger position, says Lars Kongsbak, CEO at Exiqon, about recruiting foreign labour. Photo: Exiqon
Does your staff still possess the skills needed to achieve your goals? Continuing and further education at Metropolitan University College Metropolitan University College provides a range of continuing education courses for the medical equipment industry. We run both standard courses and custom programmes tailored to meet your company’s particular needs. If you have the numbers, we’ll run the course on your premises. All the teachers are lecturers and senior lecturers in the professional bachelor programmes for laboratory technologists and biomedical laboratory technologist, so you reap the benefit of their high academic qualifications and considerable experience. We offer the following standard courses:
Professional Bachelor of Laboratory Technology The programme duration is 1½ years. A year is spent studying theory at the college, followed by six months on an internship and writing a bachelor project.
Technical Diploma Available as part-time study, as long as the programme is completed
within six years. Consists of a series of academic modules structured according to the students’ wishes and needs. Applicants must be laboratory technologists and have two years’ relevant work experience.
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Tailor-made courses We put together customised courses in laboratory technology and fields like the psychological working environment, communications, project management, etc. Our ambition is to meet all your training needs, so we work with you on the development of courses, lectures and theme days. If you have a specific need that we don’t seem to cover, or an idea for a course or a theme day that doesn’t already exist, we’d like to hear from you. Call or write to us and we’ll get back to you right away. Further information about continuing and further education options: www.phmetropol.dk
Contact Jacob Nordgaard Head of Studies Sigurdsgade 26 DK-2200 Copenhagen N E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 7248 9403 Margit Hvilsom Senior Lecturer and Education consultant Sigurdsgade 26 DK-2200 Copenhagen N E: email@example.com T: 7248 7774 Lillian Jensen Study secretary Sigurdsgade 26 DK-2200 Copenhagen N E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 7248 7728
sary competencies. For example, one of Exiqon’s employees, Adam Baker, who also appears in this edition’s article ‘Living in the Land of good work-life balance’, is a prime example of this. His profile - a molecular biologist with experience from a diagnostics company – is rather unique in Denmark. Lars Kongsbak also explains that experienced PhDs with an interdisciplinary combination of sales, marketing and molecular biology are hard to find in Denmark.
Difficult to attract foreign labour For Exiqon’s head positions, the company often uses recruitment agencies or the company posts job vacancies on their website. – Unfortunately, it is not always easy to attract foreign labour to our country. Denmark is a small country and therefore not attractive from a working perspective. We are a small nation, and usually expatriates are drawn to countries such as the UK and the U.S. with more globalopportunities, higher wages etc, says Lars Kongsbak and continues: – On the other hand, we often experience that our
American colleagues are surprised about the many qualities of living and working in Denmark, when they are here on short- or long-term stays. I think we should make an even harder effort to brand and market Denmark and the entire Medicon Valley region to attract foreign labour – Lars Kongsbak states.
Limited resources According to Lars Kongsbak, some employers may be slightly reluctant to employing labour from abroad. – Being a small company, we face a number of challenges when it comes to recruiting and hiring international staff. We are obliged to help our new employee apply for a work permit, find a place to live, deal with insurance, taxes, etc. On a more personal level, the employee faces the challenge of learning to speak Danish, have his/her children looked after, school, health insurance, transportation etc. Previously, we have prepared such phase-in programs, but it is simply too expensive for us, says Lars Kongsbak. When having to choose between a foreigner and a Dane, who have the same qualifications, but with the foreigner having to relocate to Denmark, Lars Kongsbak admits that he is more likely to hire the Danish candidate. – If you are a foreigner applying for a job in a small or medium-sized company, you have to be prepared to take care of all the practicalities yourself. And overall, your chances are much better if you apply for a job in larger companies. However, if you distinguish yourself in regards to education and experience from a Danish candidate, you are in a much stronger position, says Lars Kongsbak. To perform internationally, Exiqon has established a subsidiary in the U.S. The primary reason is to establish close connection to the customers, and also to add international manpower to the company on a local basis and not having to relocate it to Denmark.
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Jobikon’s solutions are unique. We will bring you staff who are looking to commit for the long term. At Jobikon you will find a total solution HR partner that handles all aspects of international staffing including: • • • • • •
Search and Selection of individuals and groups Scandinavian language and cultural training both prior to departure for Scandinavia and after arrival Individual preparation and soft skills development Processing of all documentation with authorities in Scandinavia Full relocation service Assisting with social activities for staff after arrival
Contact Us - Jobikon A/S, Krakasvej 17, 3400 Hillerød, Denmark Phone: +45 7028 3232 Email: email@example.com Website: www.jobikon.org
Go job hunting in Medicon Valley! Job portals Academicjobseu.com (in English) Eurojobs.com (in English) Jobbank.dk (in Danish and English). Only for academics Jobnet.dk (in Danish). Jobnet is the public jobcentres internet facility in Denmark Jobofmine.com (in English)
Recruitment agencies Adecco Medical & Science is among the leading staffing agencies and HR partners in the world Aktivia Science Work AB performs staffing services for companies and organisations within life science in Scandinavia Alexander Hughes is an executive search firm working in the life sciences field
Jobsinstockholm.com (in English). Jobs in all of Sweden
Alumni is an executive search and strategic human resource consultancy company
Mediconvalleyonline.com (in English) Jobs in the Medicon Valley region
Ankjaer Search & Select provides recruitments for the healthcare industry
Medicoindustrien.dk (in Danish). Site with links to relevant jobs at the medtech companies’ own web pages
Beierholm Search Recruitment agency within jobs for medico, biotech, medicotech and CRO
Monster.dk (in Danish) and Monster.se (in Swedish)
Best Talent performs Executive Search and Selection within life sciences
Offentlige-stillinger.dk (in Danish). Jobs in the public sector in Scandinavia Pharmaindustry.se (in Swedish and English) Pharma-job.dk (in Danish and English) Job listings within the pharma industry se.thehealthjob.com and dk.thehealthjob.com (in Swedish and Danish) For health, nursing and social services jobseekers Stepstone.dk and Stepstone.se (in Danish, Swedish and English) Forum for candidates and employers within pharmaceutical, biotech and medtech Swedenbio.se Jobs within the life sciene industry in Sweden (in English) Workindenmark.dk (in Danish). Workindenmark is the official Danish website for international recruitment
Do you have the right executive Search & Selection partner within life Science? Best Talent is specialized within Life Science and is a member of the international European Executive Search organisation Enex. Best Talent has more than 15 years of experience in assessing people´s skills, talents and potentials.
Dignus Medical is a company specialised in the recruitment and selection of specialised medical doctors within the public and private health care as well as the pharma industry in Scandinavia Hartmanns is a Danish owned human resource consulting agency established in 1996 with more than 100 employees in eight offices in Denmark Kelly Scientiﬁc Resources is an international company specialised in scientific recruitment, working with recruitment, executive search, national and international search, project staffing and temporary solutions Kruger-search Executive search & selection agency within medico and other industries MediCarrera Recruitment agency, recruits specialist doctors for both Sweden and Norway Mizarra Business Management specialises in the search and selection of leaders and specialists for companies within the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostics and medical technology industries Proﬃce Life Science is a Nordic staffing and recruitment company specialised in the life science sector Randstad is a nationwide recruitment and employment agency. Also temporary labor SAM Headhunting With headhunters in more than 30 countries across the world, SAM Headhunting offers recruitment services on all six major continents. Temp-Team A/S is a recruitment company that provides permanent and temporary personnel across many professions. Working for a better future
We have a solid knowledge of the market conditions and a very attractive Talent Database with highly qualified candidates. Best Talent performs Executive Search & Selection assignments across all functional areas within Medical Device, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Food Science Pharmaceutical. Please do not hesitate to contact Best Talent for further information on +45 45 56 53 00. Read more at www.besttalent.dk
Nærumvang · Skodsborgvej 234 · 2850 Nærum · T 4556 5300 firstname.lastname@example.org · www.besttalent.dk Best Talent samarbejder med Enex European Executive Search, som er en international organistation med repræsentation i 27 forskellige lande
f a c u lt y o f p h a r m a c e u t i c a l sciences university of copenhagen
Balancing business ambitions and ambitions of a day off A profile interview with Daniel Spasic, CEO of TFS
Daniel Spasic, owner and founder of the clinical research organisation (CRO), TFS, is good at creating work life balance for his 480 employees, and his company was just awarded one of ‘Sweden’s best workplaces’. But in his own life Daniel Spasic battles the challenges of work and taking time off.
By Anne Høybye Owner and CEO Daniel Spasic, 39, is proud that his company TFS Trial Form Support (TFS), which offers clinical research services for the life science industry, was just awarded one of ‘Sweden’s best workplaces’ by the Swedish business magazine Veckans Affärer. So proud that he thinks, it was just a matter of time, before TFS would be recognized for its good work environment. - It’s not news within TFS. We have always been focused on creating a good workplace for our employees. The only new thing is the recognition. Since the start-up of the company in 1996, we have always told our management and personnel that our true assets in the company are the employees. This is a mantra that we have been living with since then, Daniel Spasic states.
Flexibility and gender equality TFS was listed as one of ten companies as ‘Sweden’s best workplaces’ in the group of small and midsized corporations after a comprehensive survey. The companies received scores based on parameters such as career development opportunities, gender distribution among management and the salary spread between genders.
Flexibility and gender equality is important when, as is the case in TFS, eight out of ten of the employees are women. Daniel Spasic ascribes the honour to the management and the Human Resource department of the Swedish subsidiary company, TFS AB: - If we didn’t have a workplace, where work life balance existed, we wouldn’t have the workforce we have today. We simply had to find ways where this work life balance could be achieved, but where we were still able to deliver great results for the company. Initiatives in creating work life balance includes flexibility with the possibility to work from home when needed and the possibility to be redirected to a new assignment, if an employees private life at a certain time doesn’t fit the assignment he or she has. - The award in itself is well timed, because our Swedish affiliate (TFS AB) was impacted by cutbacks and job layoffs in 2009. To be recognized as one of Sweden’s best workplaces in spite of this unfortunate situation is actually a great achievement, says Daniel Spasic.
Expanding internationally Daniel Spasic has reason to be
proud. Just after only three years in the life science industry in the Swedish pharmaceutical company Pharmacia, Daniel Spasic spotted a gap between the demand from the industry and the potential supply on the CRO market and took a chance. - During my time at Pharmacia I could see that the pressure we had of delivering studies from the corporate level was so excessive that we would have difficulty doing it in our internal organisation, he explains. Just 14 years later, it is a business with over 480 employees with representation in 16 European countries and furthermore in Japan, US and India. In 2010, TFS is expected to make 38 million Euros in net revenue. The largest number of clients is small and midsized biotech companies, but the largest revenue comes from the larger pharmaceuticals companies. Back in 1996, Daniel Spasic and TFS only had one customer, Pharmacia, the company where Daniel Spasic began his career. No one could have anticipated the global success that TFS would accomplish. Both in life as well as in work, Daniel Spasic is driven by the motto ‘Nothing is impossible’: - What drives me is to grow the
Daniel Spasic Title: CEO and owner of TFS Trial Form Support Age: 39 Nationality: Swedish. Parents came to Sweden from Serbia in the late 1950s. Education: Daniel Spasic holds a technical degree in chemical engineering. Career: Daniel Spasic started his career in the pharmaceutical industry in 1993 by joining Pharmacia & Upjohn in Lund, Sweden. He served at the Medical Department in Sweden and Italy working with clinical development in the therapeutic areas of CNS and oncology. In 1996, he founded TFS Trial Form Support a clinical contract research organisation (CRO) with a strong and dedicated focus in the area of clinical trials from early development to pivotal phase. Founders Alliance has chosen Daniel Spasic to be Founder of the Year in Sweden in 2010. Boards: Daniel Spasic is an active member of the Drug Information Association (DIA), SwedenBio and Medicon Valley Alliance. He is also a member of the Board of Medicon Valley Alliance, a member in the Steering Group for the global Life Science Ambassador Programme as well as a member of the Advisory Board at Alligator Bioscience in Lund, Sweden. Private: Married with four kids from the age of 1-7 If he had a day off: He would take his kids to swimming school Photo: Trial Form Support
business and to see this small company started in 1996 going from a one man business to almost 500 employee business in 2009. Furthermore it’s fantastic to see that the services we offer are products and people that are suited for the international research community regardless if the customer is European, American or Asian. Expanding the business beyond the Nordic countries to the international market in the late 1990’s was a milestone for TFS and a strategic decision that Daniel Spasic considers to be one of his most successful business judgements to date: - The market is consolidating fast and if your services are not placed in many geographical regions, you will have significantly challenges to survive in my opinion. That is basically the reason, why TFS is successful today. Today 90 percent of all the clinical research TFS does is still in Europe. TFS’ ambition in the next four years is to become even more global and expand its current international organisation beyond Europe with predicted net revenue of 100 million Euros. - The pharmaceutical industry is a global industry – and the products are going to be sold on most of the markets in the world and in many of the large studies, what customers are looking for, are providers that can support them in many different areas. Our challenge is
HB Medical packs, repacks and ﬁlls up for pharmaceutical and biotech companies. HB Medical packs and distributes for clinical trials HB Medical offers pharmaceutical consulting services HB Medical has been approved under section 39 by the Danish Medicines Agency and is authorized by the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration • Production/packing/repacking • Storage and distribution of study medicine • Storage room with refrigerating facilities • GDP / GMP • Consulting business HB-MEDICAL APS KANALHOLMEN 25-29 · BUILDING 6 DK-2650 HVIDOVRE T: +45 36 49 55 00 F: +45 36 49 55 07 E: HB@HB-MEDICAL.DK WWW.HB-MEDICAL.DK
to keep pace with the internationalization and globalization, explains Daniel Spasic.
A day off Daniel Spasic’s own personal ambition this year is to take a little time off and reduce his working week with one day to get more balance in life. - I have been very good at creating balance for my employees, but I have been pretty bad in creating it for myself. TFS has been my first priority for almost 14 years and unfortunately my family has suffered from the success of TFS. Daniel Spasic is married and has four kids, two girls and two boys in the age of 1-7. Daniel Spasic has already hired a number of senior managers in the company to obtain another infrastructure, which allows him to spend more time with his family. Asked if he would do it all again, start up the business from scratch although knowing it would be a success, Daniel Spasic declines: - Stepping back and looking on what I have had to sacrifice as an entrepreneur these past 14 years in order to make TFS where it is today, I would reconsider. I would probably still be in the biotech or the pharmaceutical business, but I would probably lead a life, which would be much more balanced. When you know how much work you have in front of you, you become hesitant, but when you are in the middle of it, you feel that going forward is the only thing that matters. For the same reason Daniel Spasic has no plans of leaving TFS. He would only consider leaving the company partly or completely, if he could see that the company would benefit from this decision. And even then it would be very difficult for him. Only time will tell, if 2010 will provide workaholic Daniel Spasic with that day off - and the same work life balance TFS’ employees benefit from.
TFS Trial Form Support International (TFS) TFS Trial Form Support International (TFS), with headquarters in Lund, Sweden, is the largest nonlisted European clinical Contract Research Organization (CRO). Clinical services are provided by three business areas; Early Clinical Development, Project Delivery and Contract Placement Solutions, with annual net revenue greater than € 38 million, global operations in 16 countries, and more than 480 employees worldwide. TFS AB is the Swedish affiliate of TFS, awarded ‘Sweden’s best workplaces’ in 2009 by the Swedish business magazine Veckans Affärer.
Expand your network:
Latest members of Medicon Valley Alliance Aros Pharma ApS www.arospharma.com Aros Pharma is a biotech company focusing on novel pharmaceuticals targeting unmet needs within pain relief, infectious disease, inflammation, respiratory diseases and immunosuppressed patients. Projects of interest are in late preclinical, phase I or early phase II. Lead project: Early clinical testing of small molecule pain relief drug.
BioStata ApS www.biostata.com BioStata ApS is a CRO specialised in Statistics. The company has more than 20 years of experience with Statistics in Clinical Research. BioStata is specialised in handling Data Monitoring Committees and in statistical setup, analysis and reporting of Clinical Trials with a worldwide network within statistics and medical experts. Clients can benefit from BioStata’s experience and its network in planning and conducting Clinical Trials. BioStata has a complete set of SOPs and work according to international guidelines in order to provide you with top quality statistical advice and services. Cognizant Technology Solutions www.cognizant.com Cognizant is a one of the leading providers of Information Technology, Consulting and Business Process Outsourcing services with a strong focus on healthcare & life sciences. Cognizant’s Life Sciences practice serves over 27 of top 30 global pharmaceuticals (9 of top 10 in Europe), 9 of top 10 global biotech (4 of top 5 in Europe) and 12 of top 20 medical devices and leading global CROs providing domain-intensive services across the drug / device / biologic lifecycle. Cognizant has over 85,000 resources globally, with over 7,500 focused on life sciences clients with strong presence in the Nordic region. Ferrosan A/S www.ferrosan.dk Ferrosan is an international consumer and healthcare company operating in two business segments: Supplements & Lifestyle Products and Medical Devices. It is Ferrosan’s primary objective to further the general health and well-being of the population. The company’s focus is to aid children and adults in their pursuit of good health and optimal physical and intellectual capabilities. Ferrosan strives to provide well-documented quality products and services that help people to benefit from a healthy lifestyle.
GSB Clinical Services ApS www.gsbclinical.com GSB CS is based in the printing business and provides Clinical Trial Documentation, such as Case Report Forms, EDC kits and related services like ware-housing and global distribution. i3 Research www.i3research.com i3 takes a 360-degree view of healthcare to help its global pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device customers bring safe and effective products to market quickly and help demonstrate their value, leading to increased ROI and better patient care. i3’s integrated businesses combine a deep understanding of data and methodologies; therapeutic, scientific, and functional proficiency; and the expertise to help design research that demonstrates a product’s value, and helps achieve market access and assure reimbursement. Inpac Pharma www.inpacpharma.com Inpac Pharma is the Nordic-focused CDMO with capabilities ranging from product development and pilot production to full scale commercial manufacturing and packaging. In addition, the company provides expertise and capabilities in secondary packaging and distribution of both commercial products and products for clinical trials in cold-chain as well as in ambient environment. The goal of Inpac Pharma is to strengthen the customer’s competitive edge. The integration of expertise and production equipment enables Inpac Pharma to achieve this goal, driven by precision, passion and creativity. Inagen A/S www.inagen.com INAGEN develops biopharmaceuticals for better antivirus treatments. Inagen’s technology exploits the virus own defense mechanism facilitating a specific, efficient and highly potent attack on the virus-infected cell. Inagen’s drugs assist the patient’s immune system in killing the infected cells, eradicate the virus and cure the patient. Inagen’s drug candidate, INAx is capable of inhibiting CMV more that one million fold with a potency that is several thousand fold higher than the current marketed drugs. The INAGEN team consists of expert biotech-builders with vast experience from successful biotech ventures.
Intomics A/S www.intomics.com Intomics A/S is a contract research company with leading expertise in biological data mining, bioinformatics and systems biology. Using pioneering technologies, Intomics provides tailored solutions leading to higher success rates and cost savings in discovery and preclinical projects. Based on the crucial combination of world-leading expertise and a comprehensive portfolio of advanced tools, Intomics offers unique, tailor-made solutions that take full advantage of customer’s proprietary biological data and data in the public domain to optimize the outcome of customer’s projects. Leo Pharma www.leo-pharma.com Founded in 1908, LEO Pharma is an independent, research-based specialty pharmaceutical company committed to the discovery and development, production, sales and marketing of novel drugs for patients within the areas of Dermatology and Critical Care medicine. Wholly owned by The LEO Foundation, the company is headquartered in Ballerup, Denmark, and is represented in more than 100 countries worldwide with affiliates or sales offices in more than 50 of these. Employees number more than 3,500. Sophion Bioscience A/S www.sophion.dk Sophion Bioscience, a leader in the automated patch clamp field, helps drug discovery companies make more and better drugs, faster. Sophion sole focus is to provide advanced products and integrated solutions for automated patch clamping. Sophion QPatch product family provides high-quality patch clamp data on a truly industrial basis on all types of ion channels. Only QPatch has an integrated cell preparation and QPlate exchange facilities enabling several hours of unattended operation. Sophion is a solution provider for the 10 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. 2cureX www.2curex.com 2cureX is a life science company that leverages its proprietary ChemoCellomics® technology to create a groundbreaking technology for tailoring an individualised therapeutic treatment regimen for cancer patients. 2cureX’s technology selects the specific treatment based on the decisive cellular efficacy and lack of resistance in cancer cells from the individual patient.
View the 300 members of Medicon Valley Alliance at: www.mediconvalleyonline.com 49
Upcoming Life Science Events EVENTS BY MEDICON VALLEY ALLIANCE
MAJOR INTERNATIONAL EVENTS JULY 2010 July 17-23 World Pharma 2010 This congress provides in depth treatment of the hottest topics in basic and clinical pharmacology, while at the same time offering the broad perspective of how drugs affect the living organism. Venue: Bella Center, Copenhagen, Denmark More information: www.worldpharma2010.org
AUGUST 2010 August 24-25 Stem Cells Europe, Cellular Therapy Summit & World Bio Banking Summit Make use of the co-location of three summits within life sciences. Registered delegates have access to all three meetings. The summits also offer training courses and tutorials. Venue: Edinburgh, Scotland More information: www.selectbiosciences.com
SEPTEMBER 2010 September 13-16 Resveratrol 2010 Resveratrol 2010 brings together international experts to collect and summarize the last year’s scientific work in the area of resveratrol. The outcome is a selection of reports with updates and recommendations for the coming year’s research and use of resveratrol. Venue: Elsinore, Denmark More information: www.resveratrol2010.com September 15-17 BioPharm America 2010 BioPharm America gathers biotech and pharma executives from around the world to identify and enter strategic relationships. Venue: Boston, MA, U.S. More information: www.ebdgroup.com/bpa
September 29-30 Biobusiness Network A two day biopartnering event with conference programme, networking and private partnering meetings for the companies in the biotech-pharma space. Venue: Geneva, Switzerland More information: www.wbresearch. com/biobusinessnetwork
OCTOBER 2010 October 5-7 CPhI Worldwide 2010 A pharma event offering opportunities for buyers, manufacturers, suppliers and users to exchange ideas, form alliances and do business with over 25,000 industry peers. Venue: Paris, France More information: www.cphi.com
NOVEMBER 2010 November 15-17 BIO-Europe 2010 Partnering conference, attracts leading dealmakers from biotech, pharma and finance along with the emerging companies. Produced with the support of BIO. Venue: Munich, Germany More information: www.ebdgroup.com/bioeurope
DECEMBER 2010 December 8-11 EUROECHO - Annual Meeting of the European Association of Echocardiography This meeting presents the latest improvements in techniques and promotes research and development in this core area of cardiology. Venue: Bella Center, Copenhagen, Denmark More information: www.escardio.org/ congresses/euroecho2010
September 14 Life Science Ambassador Programme Cultural Seminar: Doing Business on the North American West Coast The Life Science Ambassador Programme invites to a quick and insightful morning seminar and discussion on doing business on the North American West Coast. Meet and discuss with Simon Pimstone, CEO of Xenon Pharmaceuticals and the two Life Science Ambassadors representing British Columbia and Medicon Valley. Venue: Medicon Valley Alliance, Ørestad, Denmark Time: 8.30-11.00 More information: www.ambassadorprogramme.com September 30 Introductory Meeting to Medicon Valley Alliance Do you want to know more about Medicon Valley Alliance and our projects? Do you know how to make use of our international network? Do you know of all the opportunities we offer for sponsorships and news coverage? This meeting is open for members and non-members who want to know more about how to benefit from a membership of Medicon Valley Alliance. Venue: Medicon Valley Alliance, Ørestad, Denmark Time: 15.00-18.00 More information: www.mva.org October 28 Medicon Valley Alliance’s Annual Meeting 2010: Asia Ahead How big is the Asian pharmaceutical market? What are the key strongholds of Japan, Korea, China and India? How do you manage clinical trials in Asia? These are some of the issues that will be addressed at Medicon Valley Alliance’s Annual Meeting 2010 which brings drug development in Asia into focus. Venue: TBD Time: 14.00-19.00 More information: www.mva.org For a complete overview of life science events in Medicon Valley, please view www.mva.org/calendar.
Most Valuable Agreement Danica Pension offers all members of Medicon Valley Alliance â€“ Danish or Swedish â€“ attractive pension schemes comprising both risk insurances and retirement savings. With a strong presence in the life science industry, your company and its employees will benefit from being included in a special agreement with other life science companies where risk premiums are calculated on a group basis. Danica Pension is the only A rated pension company in Scandinavia.
Want to know more? Visit www.mva.org/danicapension or write to Poul Have at email@example.com or Carl Magnus Bergenhov at firstname.lastname@example.org
An executive privilege
We have received a new shipment of Werkswagen cars from the star dome in Stuttgart. We’ll be the first to admit these are not cars for everyone. But then again, the finer things in life rarely are.In case you’ve been too busy to be familiar with the Werkswagen concept, here’s the executive summary: Werkswagen cars are used company cars, driven by the top level management of the Daimler corporation. These cars leave nothing to be desired in terms of equipment, yet they have only been in use for a very short time.
Vejle tlf. 7211 6000 Hørsholm tlf. 4516 5959 Ishøj tlf. 4012 8918 Aalborg tlf. 7211 5200
A Werkswagen car comes with a complete service history, and it’s been tended to by staff from the factory. Also, these cars are rare models, where the first, large write-off is already accounted for. However, they are also sold by Starmark. So we’ve given them an overhaul of our own as well. Just to make sure they’re as immaculate as you’d expect them to be. See the available cars on www.starmark.dk, or swing by a dealership close to you.
LifeSciences Insight is solely devoted to the life science industry. The magazine addresses numerous relevant issues like Economy, Investme...
Published on May 7, 2012
LifeSciences Insight is solely devoted to the life science industry. The magazine addresses numerous relevant issues like Economy, Investme...