On the way to the top – a success story from Denmark
Copenhagen Bio Science Park, (Cobis), is a hub for commercialisation of prominent ideas and innovations in Life Science. After a successful kick-start, Cobis is looking to expand collaboration globally, going for the big players in the US and eventually China and India.
After more than two decades of discussing and planning for a possible collaboration between the large Life Science clusters in Denmark, Cobis was founded in 2009. This was the first time that Danish science parks joined forces with notable success. The result was remarkable and soon the good news reached the neighbouring Life Science parks in Sweden, who were keen to set up partnerships with forward-looking Danish researchers.
A great idea
“We purchased the land that we built our premises on at a time when Danish Life Science and Biotech companies experienced an all time low. Resources were scarce, but at the same time we noted an increase in the number of papers and doctorates. Of course there was some anxiety related to the opening of Cobis, and we were unsure of our future. A lot of people predicted a bleak future with decreasing interest for the Life Science industry at large. Interestingly, the establishment of Cobis had the exact opposite effect and we were overrun by prospective partners”, remembers Morten Mølgaard Jensen, CEO and co-founder of Cobis.
It was, as proven, a great idea to set up business in Copenhagen, at the heart of the Danish and Swedish Life Science clusters with internationally recognised research at hand. There are currently some 30 companies operating from Cobis, all with an extensive network of partners from all over the world.
“We had 5000 square metres to begin with, and are now expanding by an additional 7000. The new premises will open in 2014 and in the near future we will have more than 60 companies here. We offer great facilities, and at the same time we know that new companies are attracted to Cobis due to the tenants we already have. We would like to attract young, well-motivated companies, not necessarily founded in Denmark but keen to explore what we have to offer. The long-term goal is to attract international companies allowing for global partnerships to flourish”, says Morten Mølgaard Jensen.
The environment is especially attractive to players wishing to expand partnerships and setting up collaboration with new partners. Morten Mølgaard Jensen describes Cobis as an essential seed environment, where small, knowledge-intensive companies have room to grow.
Going for Massachusetts
What Cobis can offer goes beyond physical facilities and an impressive infrastructure. “We cover business development activities as well as funding. We have a team of very skilled people who are concentrating solely on the development of projects in our incubator. We investigate possibilities of commercialisation of new innovations. In terms of funding, we have access to three different venture funds, as well as a network of external partners we can contact”, Morten Mølgaard Jensen reveals.
Cobis interacts with other science parks in several different countries, from Sweden, Finland and the Baltic region to United Kingdom, Portugal and Italy.
“We are looking into setting up partnership with the Boston and Massachusetts Life Science Centre. They have been granted one billion US dollars to boost and kick-start the Life Science sector in the Boston-area. A part of this funding is also dedicated to forming international partnerships, hence our keen interest”.
Sweden and Denmark have joined forces. Through Medicon Valley Swedish and Danish Life Science clusters seek extended collaboration with Boston as well as other interesting areas such as San Diego, and not to mention upcoming Life Science nations such as China and India.
“This is the first time that entire regions stand behind collaboration and it will be interesting to see if it works. It is important to remember that we are not just looking to attract US companies to Denmark, but to set up competitive collaborations between Danish and US companies. There is a difference”, Morten Mølgaard Jensen underlines in conclusion.