In the race to a sustainable and healthy future, the benefits of biotech innovations are key. Both biotech academics and entrepreneurs must continue to turn knowledge into social and commercial successes. Nettie Buitelaar, Biotech Booster ‘s CEO, answers five questions in order to tell us how to boost new biotech innovations.
The Biotech Booster programme has been awarded a grant of € 250M from the National Growth Fund, with the aim for better conversion of biotechnological knowledge into business. In order to carry out the programme, various knowledge institutes from all over the Netherland will work together within the structure of so-called ‘thematic clusters’ or TCs. TC4: Diagnostics/Services is right here in Amsterdam.
1. Why is biotech valorisation so important?
“Without valorisation, biotech inventions by knowledge institutions and companies will not benefit society. In a world needing big solutions to big challenges, we need new ways to unlock revolutionary techniques in the field of health, also concerning sustainability. Unfortunately, in the Netherlands our academic and fundamental research does not sufficiently translate yet into usable products and companies while our knowledge position vis-à-vis other European countries is excellent.”
2. How do we put research into practice more?
“We need to give more space and acknowledgement to entrepreneurship. The distance between science and entrepreneurship is large in the Netherlands. Within the academic world, employees are often judged on research and education only, and not on their valorisation activities. In the United States, it’s different. There, starting your own business in addition to your role as a professor or PhD candidate is perfectly normal. Inspiring role models and good facilitation of valorisation activities will help remedy this situation.”
3. How is Biotech Booster contributing to better valorisation?
“We will identify promising developments at an early stage by supporting knowledge institutions with Business and Impact Developers. We then have financing available from an extremely early stage of product development, earlier than what’s available out there now, with which entrepreneurs can, among other things, create a well-developed and substantiated proposition for potential investors or buyers. Experienced entrepreneurs are involved in the process from the very beginning, so that biotech innovations reach the market with a much tighter focus.”
4. How do you see the collaboration with IXA unfold within the various Amsterdam Knowledge Institutes (UvA, VU, UMC, HvA)? How can we help?
I see that there is a strong sense for collaboration in the ‘pan-Amsterdam’ area, both in the universities and the university medical centres. IXA plays a central role here and they have been a good partner for the Biotech Booster development process up to now. Both by being one of the Thematic Cluster Coordinators and by being the official coordinator of the whole Biotech Booster program as long as we are in the build-up phase.
5. What is your dream for Biotech Booster to achieve in Amsterdam?
Biotech Booster is a national program so my dreams go beyond Amsterdam, although the city houses many high-quality institutes and scientists of course. My dream would be that all biotechnology scientists see it as their ultimate goal to belong to Biotech Booster and contribute to a better society by bringing their ideas, products and processes to the market.
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