The most important event on the annual calendar of the European biotech industry opens today in Vienna: BIO-Europe 2013. The largest European biotech partnering conference is taking place this year with LISAvienna as the local organiser. More than 1,800 companies will be represented, making this a record-breaking year for participation. In addition to the 116 Austrian companies, 81 of which are based in Vienna, this year marks the first time that academic institutions will have the opportunity to present their research findings. Fittingly, there will be numerous panel discussions that focus on technology transfer and translational research.
For the next three days, Vienna will become the centre of the entire European life sciences industry: the opening of the international BIO-Europe conference brings the gathering of more than 3,000 decision makers from pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies from around the world in Vienna. The conference, co-organised by LISAvienna, was kicked off by Renate Brauner, Vice Mayor and Finance Councillor of the City of Vienna, who said: “60 per cent of all Austrian life sciences companies have operations in Vienna. We owe this success in part to a rigorous policy of promoting and supporting this innovative sector. An internationally noted location factor is the strong link between academic and corporate research in Vienna, which is the main focus of this year's BIO-Europe.”
Not an Ivory Tower, but a Pavilion
And indeed, the focus on the cooperation of life sciences companies with academic research institutions has proven to be a real crowd puller for the annual conference: with more than 1,800 companies represented here, the 19th annual BIO-Europe has set a new record. The “LISAvienna Academic Pavilion”, which presents the successful technology transfer projects from Vienna to the international audience, makes its debut this year. In this regard, Johannes Sarx, one of the Managing Directors of LISAvienna, highlights the extensive commitment of Vienna's research facilities: “Eleven Viennese research institutions will present their successful cooperation programmes with industrial and business partners. What is also especially impressive is the broad spectrum of organisations involved – universities of applied sciences, traditional universities, research institutes of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and incubators present best-practice examples of innovation partnerships in Vienna.”
The importance of translational research – a key topic for the future – is also taken up in numerous other parts of the programme. For instance, the Academic InnovatorsTM Showcase is a special programme track that addresses pharmaceutical companies' frequent expressions of interest in academic partnerships. Additional related items on the programme include the presentation of Austrian start-ups – so-called “next-generation companies”, the country seminar Austria with a focus on suppliers of production and platform technologies, and the discussion panel “Public Funding in Drug Development”, which will address the financing of life sciences start-ups.
A – Z of Austrian Life Science Companies
In parallel with the comprehensive conference programme, many Austrian companies will present their services in the trade fair portion of the three-day event. And thanks to a community stand co-ordinated by LISAvienna, the Austrian life sciences scene makes a strong impression. Altogether, more than 116 Austrian life sciences companies are represented at BIO-Europe – from ABF Pharmaceutical Services GmbH to Zeta Biopharma GmbH.
But it isn't just the exhibition site of the BIO-Europe conference that gives the Austrian life sciences a place to demonstrate their capabilities to international decision makers. In the words of LISAvienna's other Managing Director, Peter Halwachs: “A field excursion we organised for the international BIO-Europe attendees to the Campus Vienna Biocenter on Sunday showed them a prime example of the cooperation between academic and applied research institutions in Vienna. In addition to 14 life sciences companies and 4 research institutions, additional relevant organisational units of the University of Vienna and the University of Applied Sciences, FH Campus Wien, have successful partnerships here.”
Overall, BIO-Europe – which LISAvienna has invited to Vienna for the second time already since 2009 – offers top-class industry representatives the opportunity to see for themselves how the life sciences in Vienna are achieving internationally recognised development.
Life Science Austria Vienna (LISAvienna) is the cluster organisation for biotechnology/pharmaceuticals and medical technology in the City of Vienna. It aims to be a central source of knowledge to provide strategic and operational support for all players in the life sciences. As a joint initiative of the Republic of Austria and the City of Vienna, it helps ensure that the economic potential of the life sciences is utilised and turned into marketable products, improved processes and new services. Activities focus on customised consulting and advising for innovative companies. The LISAvienna initiative is funded by austria wirtschaftsservice (aws) and ZIT – The Technology Agency of the City of Vienna – and acts as the interface between these two support agencies. LISAvienna succeeded for the second time, after 2009, in positioning Vienna as the 2013 venue for the internationally renowned BIO-Europe® conference. BIO-Europe® is Europe's largest partnering conference for the biotechnology industry.