A Novel Format to Foster Innovation – the AbbVie Partnering Day


Panel discussion during the AbbVie Partnering Day in Heidelberg. From left Thomas Höger (Apogenix), Jay Stamatis (AbbVie), Niels Emmerich (AbbVie), Debbie Allen (Angenx), Steve Devidsen (AbbVie), Julia Schaft (BioRN)) // Source: BioRN

Heidelberg, 14.05.2019

In a continuously expanding and diversifying life science universe, more and more often global healthcare companies are looking for external sources of innovation. Health Axis Europe Partnering (HAEP) is a project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research to facilitate this knowledge transfer between innovators (academia and SMEs) on the one side and innovation seekers on the other. For that purpose, AbbVie has engaged project leader BioRN and HAEP partners Ci3 Cluster, M2OLIE, Mannheim University of Applied Sciences and the Health Axis Europe to identify innovative projects from within their respective networks. The aim was to identify an effective match with AbbVie’s key therapeutic areas for future collaborations.

Last Tuesday, May 14th, BioRN and AbbVie organized the first “AbbVie Partnering Day” in Heidelberg.

“We are very happy that AbbVie chose the HAEP scouting tool for their partnering needs. It is core to BioRN’s strategy in supporting translation of the excellent science in our region into new treatments,” says Julia Schaft, Managing Director of BioRN.

“During the AbbVie Partnering Day innovators from the Rhine -Neckar region were able to pitch their cutting-edge science and technology and could find out what partnering with a global pharmaceutical company actually entails.”

The morning was reserved for intensive one-on-one discussions between project innovators and high-level decision makers from AbbVie. The 15 projects that were presented originated from academic institutions as well as small- or medium-sized companies and had been previously identified and selected in a joint effort between AbbVie and the HAEP partners.

“Obviously, Germany and Heidelberg as an innovation hub have always been in AbbVie’s focus,” says Joachim Vogt, Director Search & Evaluation Western Europe at AbbVie. ”With the support of BioRN and HAEP we have not only found new exciting projects, but could also bring them together with other innovators and important stakeholders from the region. I am glad that this whole process worked out so smoothly.”

In the afternoon plenum, AbbVie representatives gave the public first-hand insights into proceedings and opportunities at a global pharmaceutical company during a panel discussion which also included representatives from Apogenix and argenx, two of AbbVie’s existing collaborations.

The event attracted about 100 scientists and professionals, representing the whole spectrum of the life science innovation ecosystem: academic institutions, start-ups, medium-sized biotech companies, tech transfer offices, venture capital firms, clusters, incubators, accelerators and policymakers. “We are very happy to be part of this highly informative event,” says André Frenzel, Chief Scientific Officer of Braunschweig-based antibody company Yumab.” We were able to establish many new contacts in the Rhine-Neckar region - an absolute hotspot for life sciences - and are looking forward to participating in similar HAEP events in the future.“



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BioRN is the science and industry cluster of the Rhine-Main-Neckar region around Heidelberg, one of Germany’s strongest biotech hubs. It is a non-profit network fostering health innovations, supporting a rich translational ecosystem and promoting, representing and connecting the regional innovation stakeholders.

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