California is known for its world-leading concentration of R&D activities within life sciences and entrepreneurial spirit which permeates scientists and investors. California still leads the total life sciences investments in the US; two thirds of the life science industry is estimated to be based in California. Thomas Mortensen is the MVA ambassador in California and is responsible for the entire West Coast in North America.
Where do you see opportunities for organisations and firms from Medicon Valley in your market?
California is a very strong environment for venture capital, and is by far the state in the US that raises most venture capital each year. Thus, Medicon Valley biotech and medtech companies in need of venture capital should look to California.California is also the state that attracts the most NIH grants each year. NIH grants are open to universities and research institutions from outside the US.
California has some of the most prestigious and well-known universities and research institutions in the world. These universities and research institutions generate world class research in areas like diabetes, cancer and neurodegeneration. This makes them ideal partners for both Medicon Valley universities and private companies wanting to tap into these areas of research expertise.
California has more than 2500 biomedical companies and is therefore also an ideal place for the identification of new customers and partners.
How well known is Medicon Valley in your market?
Medicon Valley is not very well known in California – yet. However, Scandinavia as a whole seems to be more well known by the life science community in California and many are able to name the big pharmaceutical companies like Novo Nordisk, Astra Zeneca and Lundbeck.
What will be your main focus for 2014?
I will be concentrating on organising a joint Medicon Valley Pavillion at BIO in San Diego in June. I will also provide an extensive report of all the venture capitalists in San Diego and San Francisco, describing each fund in terms of fund size, investment strategy and focus and potential contact persons.
Further, I am planning to organise an inspirational tour to California for stakeholders within one of the Medicon Valley Beacons; Structural Biology. Central for this delegation visit will be Scripps Research Institute where the MVA Ambassador Program has good connections.
Last but not least, I am continuously looking into activities that help to identify, describe and set up meetings with potential partners for Scandinavian life science companies looking to develop their business in the West Coast region of North America.