Innovation during Covid-19 pandemic

How emerging biotechs and small biopharmaceutical companies are reacting?



Heidelberg, 21.04.2020. Today, we digitally hosted the first BioRN Espresso. This is a new BioRN event series and the new meeting place for our members, especially SMEs, meet and address different topics on the peer-to-peer level. Volker Stadler (member of BioRN Executive Board and CEO of PEPperPRINT GmbH) moderated a panel discussion on how emerging biotechs and small biopharmaceutical companies are reacting to Covid-19 pandemic. Claus Kremoser (CEO; Phenex Pharmaceuticals), Christoph Schröder (CEO Sciomics) and Oliver Bosnjak (CEO, Biomex) shared with over 50 participants their experience and approach to major challenges. Global research pipelines are pausing, as research institutes, biotech and pharma companies reduced lab work to a minimum, future projects in pipeline and running clinical trials paused for an unknown period. Balancing the safety of employees and keeping operation robust and finances stable, can be only achieved by lab shifts, home office, strict hygiene regulations and potential additional financial support instruments. Some of the biotechs use their in house expertise and instrumentations to offer regular in-house tests for employees, thereby increasing the likelihood that most employees are and stay safe.

On the other side, the Covid-19 pandemic can be a chance for biotech and pharma companies to expand their current businesses. New funding for SARS-CoV-2 related research are available at national and European level. Existing technology platforms have been quickly converted to serve high-quality research. Companies are offering testing capability to increase the capacity of public testing institutions.

In addition, the IHK Rhine-Neckar, represented by Andreas Kempff (Managing Director) and further experts, described existing financial support instruments to reduce costs and to revise the financing plan of a company for ‘surviving’ the current crisis. BioRN Espresso will be regularly implemented including few essential ingredients: one moderator, few impulse talks and -currently, own-brewed coffee to bring a new flavor to the old 'Stammtisch'.

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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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