Business Development Conference held in Hamburg: Still hot: partnering between biotech and pharma

The biotech funding derived from pharma partnerships increased disproportionally over the last few years and accounted for 65% of biotech funding in 2010,” said Peter Heinrich, President of the German biotechnology industry organisation (BIO Deutschland) at the annual European Business Development Conference in Hamburg. The Conference attracted more than 100 CEOs and senior executives from US and European (bio)pharmaceutical, private equity and venture capital companies. Peter Heinrich also pointed out that this funding is expected to increase even further and to have a positive impact on the biotech industry, which will then continue to stimulate the pharma transformation to an even greater extent.

Wieland Wolf, president of the co-organising European Association of Pharma Biotechnology (EAPB) emphasized that “to encounter the challenges for the health system in the upcoming years it will require the joint mobilization of the scientific potential in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, as well as in academia and research institutions. Therefore, sustainable cooperation models between the players are mandatory more than ever, as are personalised approaches to enhance treatment efficacy and economics.”

With the innovation burden hanging heavily over the pharmaceutical industry, many big players have started to experiment with new research and development (R&D) models. The keynotes and panel discussions at the conference outlined alternatives for classical collaboration and current R&D alliance models and underlined future attractive business models. The panellists discussing alternatives for private equity were convinced that venture capital and private equity are still valid financing options. Nevertheless beyond this corporate financing in alliance models with pharma and the global arbitrage financing are currently the most attractive and promising tools. “The hunger for biotechs is getting bigger and bigger”, an expert on the panel said.

The panel about personalised medicine discussed the roles of Biotech and Pharma in partnership or competition context. Regulatory demands for personalised medicine, the design of clinical studies, access to markets as well as pricing and reimbursement - specifically regarding collaborations - were highlighted. The discussion was vibrant about how to develop a drug candidate to be best in class – remaining independent or in cooperation with pharma. Regarding the communication with payers the discussed new model for risk and cost sharing provided ideas for new ways for collaboration.

This year the conference was supported by the Spanish Association of Bioenterprises (ASEBIO), the Italian Biotech Association (Assobiotec), the UK’s BioIndustry Association (BIA), the Canadian Biotech Organisation (Biotecanada), Life Science Austria (LISA), the Swedish Biotech Association (SwedenBio) and the Swiss Biotech Association (SBA).

Furthermore, the conference was sponsored by the Platinum Sponsor, the Life Science Nord Cluster; the Gold Sponsor, Merck Serono; the Silver Sponsors, Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals and MIG Funds; and the Conference Supporters, Amantec, Daiichi-Sankyo Europe, Life Science Consult, Menarini Biotech, Parexel, Pfizer and Rentschler Biotechnologie.

EAPB will follow up the issues of personalised medicine in EAPB’s annual Science to Market Conference with special focus on the drug development process. (September, 27 – 28, 2011, Berlin,

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