Is Covid-19 pandemic permanently changing business development and partnering for companies?

Heidelberg, 26.06.2020. Within the new BioRN Espresso format, business developers, investors and innovators virtually gathered to share challenges and consequences for business development and partnering during such unpreceded times.


Source: BioRN

Jürgen Gamer (VP Business Development Apogenix AG & BioRN Strategic Board) initiated and moderated the event. “This pandemic suddenly threw us in a new digital distant world, where we had to quickly adapt, also in terms of partnering and business development. The influence of the pandemic on partnering and deal-making is not yet measurable.

As human beings are used to form social cohesion by face to face interactions, I believe we need to find ways how to communicate with each other to build relationships, especially in business development.” said Jürgen during his introduction.

Thomas Hegendoerfer (New Ventures Lead in Germany for J&J Innovation & BioRN Strategic Board) presented the prospective of a global pharma company, Frank Hensel (Principal, High-Tech Gründerfonds) the investor view and Rainer Wessel (Director Innovation Management, German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) & BioRN Strategic Board) the academic current situation in terms of partnering.

Building relationships with investors, potential partners or customers is a tedious and time-consuming process that stretches over long time periods and requires among others excellent communication skills. Partnering was (until now) all about meeting people, going to dedicated conferences, having face-to-face business interactions, building trust, learning about new technologies also during less formal networking. With the suspension of travel and business meetings for the time being, most conferences and events are cancelled. Only a few have moved to a digital format, with mixed results.

On the other side digital partnering is a cheaper solution for emerging companies and opens unlimited opportunities to connect with decision makers worldwide.

Beyond this, as companies are fighting for survival, venture capitalists might rather keep portfolio companies alive than do new investments. As well, academic spin off teams might be less encouraged to leave university and start risky startups.

The industry needs to find solutions and ways to build on the advantages of the digital tools, an simultaneously try to minimize the negative influences of the current pandemic situation.

BioRN Espresso was introduced this year as a new event format for peer-to-peer discussion among cluster members and is bringing a new flavor to the old cluster 'Stammtisch'.


About BioRN

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 and serving its members by creating a rich translational ecosystem as well as promoting, representing and connecting the regional innovation stakeholders.

Our vision is to develop the region into a world-leading life science cluster attracting international investments and top global talent.

BioRN has about100 institutional members, including several top academic and research institutions, 7 pharmaceutical companies, a large range of small and medium-sized enterprises bolstering the life science ecosystem as well as local government organizations and interest groups.

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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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