Sponsored by Cobis

Photo: Cobis

It Takes an Ecosystem to Build a Successful Life Science Company

COBIS, the hub for 120 research-based biotech and life science start-ups, offers the ideal framework to foster Denmark’s next successful business.

COBIS is the collaborative breeding ground for start-ups, investors, academics, and service providers, who gather to share the latest knowledge and industry resources in biotech and the life science.

Life science start-ups are generally under-resourced and are constantly on the hunt to secure funding, attract talent, build their presence, and gain international exposure.

According to Morten M. Jensen, CEO of COBIS, ”A healthy ecosystem requires a physical framework where stakeholders can meet and share resources.”

COBIS is a great example of a successful triple helix collaboration
Morten M. Jensen, CEO of COBIS

For its part, COBIS fosters relationships with international investors, pharma companies, and public institutions in other countries to help them boost their sales and scale globally.

Fertile conditions

Biotech companies employ more highly-educated people than any other industry. As an international heavyweight, Denmark boasts the lion’s share of exports in the field and is a highly attractive platform to launch life science companies:

“In Denmark we have large fund-owned pharma companies that have a permanent presence in the region. This generates a wealth of knowledge and attractive jobs. In addition, we have the political backing and government support, which have contributed to the growth of the biotech sector. Combining this with the excellent research conducted at the universities and growth capital it has helped to create the position of strength we enjoy today,” Jensen explains.

COBIS is a strong player in the ecosystem because of the cooperative relationships it forges between the private business community, the public sector and the academic environment. In Jensen’s words:

”COBIS is a great example of a successful triple helix collaboration. We have a great cooperation with the University of Copenhagen and Danish Technical University, DTU. At the same time, we have had support from both the government and the region, which has been involved from the very beginning 10 years ago. Finally, we are standing on the shoulders of 3 highly-experienced science parks, Symbion, DTU Science Park, and Incuba Science Park, which has been in operation for more than half a century”.

Seeking global growth opportunities

To succeed and ensure sustainability, it is crucial for the future of Denmark’s biotech and life science industry that the ecosystem become better at entering the international landscape.

For Jensen, the reason is simple: “By being internationally linked to other regions to the greatest extent possible, you can be much more informed about the latest trends and technologies, how the competition is shaping up, where venture capital flows, and where human resources and competencies are embedded.”

That’s why, whenever COBIS invites new start-ups on board, they are always aware of the specific needs of each company and offer tailored services to meet those needs.

Jensen explains: “Instead of only offering laboratories and offices, we try to fulfil each company’s next important steps. It is usually by providing contacts and going through our networks to solve their problems – especially our international networks.”

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According to Jensen, these are the 4 main components of a healthy ecosystem:

  1. Stakeholders must be committed to continuing their activities for 10+ years.
  2. An ecosystem must be open to anyone who has an interest in it, rather than exclusive to specific actors.
  3. An ecosystem must be driven by an entrepreneurial mindset. That is why COBIS draws on company founders, so that they can help to shape the ecosystem of the future.
  4. Access to networks is hugely important. It’s about storytelling and exposure to the right people at the right time.