Mån 24 jun / År 42 / Nr 3 2024

Supporting and growing biotech and deeptech in Denmark

The science and technology park Scion DTU, part of the technical University of Denmark, is home to over 260 companies. The park, which was first established in 1962 by the Technological-Scientific Research Council of Denmark, is split over two sites, in Hørsholm and Lyngby.

With over 260 companies and more than 3000 people on site, Scion DTU is a well-established science and technology park, with roots going back to 1962. Since this time, the park has expanded, and the technology and infrastructure are right up to date.
“The Danish economy is expanding and the Danish life science sector in general is doing well. Three out of four companies in the science park are increasing in size, some by several hundred percent, and overall, the companies in the science park are growing significantly more than the national average,” said Steen Donner, CEO, Scion DTU. “We are seeing this reflected in a growing demand for space.
Residents on site range from established global companies such as Chr. Hansen, Roche, ALK-Abelló, and FMC Corporation, to small and medium companies and startups.
“Having some big players contributes to the community,” said Donner.

Working and growing at Scion DTU
Scion DTU makes 180,000 sq m of offices and laboratories available to companies, and this can be customised as required. The site also includes shared facilities for both work and social use, including prototype workshops, meeting rooms, conference centre, coffee bars and kindergarten.
The science park also provides practical support from consultants and mentors, and tailored acceleration programmes, as well as networking, professional events and masterclasses.
The ‘cluster effect’ of being part of a community is very important, Donner explained, as companies benefit from being close to potential partners such as contract research and manufacturing organisations. The proximity to the university and to other companies also means access to a pool of talented, educated and experienced personnel.

Shining the light on deeptech
What sets Scion DTU apart from other science parks is its strong focus on life science and other ‘deeptech’ ventures. This is, in other words, new ventures based on engineering research innovations and new technologies rather than on iterations of existing technology in new business models, or on software solutions.
“Because deeptech is research-based, and is often exploring new markets, it can be harder to finance and commercialise. We want to be the best solution possible for these kinds of startups. This includes helping them to find or create their market, giving them access to accelerator programmes, and providing support through business development and financing sourcing,” said Donner.
Besides life sciences there are also cleantech, sensortech and IT companies onsite, as well as service companies. Scion DTU also owns 50% of COBIS, the Copenhagen Bio Science Park, which is home to over a hundred biotech companies.

Finding the financing
According to Donner, access to finance is becoming easier for biotech and medtech startups.
“Medtech companies are doing particularly well at accessing financing, and we are seeing more early stage companies being able to raise the funding they need,” said Donner.
One of the routes to funding at Scion DTU is through a funding event that includes ‘reverse pitches’. Here, the investors and funders pitch to the startups.
“These ‘funding bazaars’ have been successful; we have seen close to 20 different funding sources pitching to an audience of startups,” said Donner.