A Full House in Frankfurt – German Biotechnology Days a Great Success in Frankfurt/Main

For the third time since 2010 the Council of German Bioregions and BIO Deutschland hosted the German Biotechnology Day to provide an opportunity for the sector to discuss the current political, economic and internal industry issues. The two-day event, which was attended by over 600 representatives from science, business, politics and administration, took place on 9 and 10 May 2012 in the Holiday Inn Frankfurt City-Süd. This year’s event was co-organised by Hessen Agentur (Hessen-Biotech) and BIO Deutschland.

The event focused on the topics of medical biotechnology, the bioeconomy and infrastructure. One of the event’s aims was to show which role biotechnology plays in current economic affairs, for example, in the use of renewable energies or the further technological development of traditional sectors. The agenda featured breakfast symposiums for the first time. These events were included to meet the great demand for opportunities to talk and network. They gave participants the opportunity to hold discussions over breakfast in small groups and in a relaxed atmosphere.

This year, the focus topic of red biotechnology concentrated on personalised medicine (success stories, trends and challenges) and posed the question of which new roles the industry, doctors, pharmacists, statutory health insurance companies and patients play. For example, representatives from health insurance companies and funders presented their views on personalised medicine. The discussions on innovations and the issues concerning benefit evaluation, pricing and trends in “niche busters” included the positions of representatives from the pharmaceutical and biotech industries and the views of the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG), which plays an important role in the early benefit evaluation of medicinal products.

The second focus topic dealt with the question of which infrastructure, conditions and measures – ranging from the care structure to the training of suitable young professionals – the biotechnology sector needs in order to develop further.

The bioeconomy was the third focus topic to be discussed in various symposiums. The emphasis was on the sustainable use of biological resources, the presentation of examples of strategic alliances in the bioindustry and the explanation of funding opportunities. However, biotechnological applications that already have an impact on projects and developments in various traditional sectors such as information technology, medical technology and the food industry were also presented.

“The foundation of a large number of small and medium-sized companies, which have proved to be an engine for innovation in many sectors, is one of the most notable successes of German biotechnology,” said Viola Bronsema, Managing Director of BIO Deutschland. “These companies play a major role in the formation of a biotechnology-based economy. Personalised medicine, which makes completely new treatment concepts possible, and white biotechnology, which is increasingly generating innovations in the chemical industry, are examples of this process.”

This development has a positive impact on Germany as a manufacturing location. “Germany is a leading location for biotechnology manufacturing in Europe,” said Thomas Niemann, head of Hessen-Biotech. “A look at Hessen confirms this statement: around a third of German production capacities for biotechnological drugs are based in this federal state.”

“The German biotechnology industry has recovered remarkably well from the financial crisis. It has adapted its business models to the situation and is now looking towards the future with greater optimism,” said Peter Heinrich, Chairman of the Board of BIO Deutschland. “It launched around 700 new products in 2011 and plans to introduce about the same amount this year. Now it is up to policymakers to shape the conditions so that biotechnology companies can do their part as important technological initiators and so that innovations can be turned into economic success in the future, too.”

The Hessian State Secretary of Economics, Steffen Saebisch, was pleased that the German Biotechnology Days took place this year in Frankfurt, the capital of biotechnology manufacturing, following the events in Berlin and Munich in previous years. “Frankfurt is the ideal location for this sector meeting. Biotechnology is an important overlapping technology for the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, which have traditionally been strong in Hessen,” Saebisch underlined. “Events like the German Biotechnology Days are particularly important as regards networking for all relevant actors.”

Next year’s German Biotechnology Days will take place in Stuttgart on 14 and 15 May. The event will be organised in cooperation with BioRegio STERN Management.

You will find the programmes from and further information on the previous events (in German only) at www.biotechnologie-tage.de.


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