Denmark plays an important part at the international life science scene, and it is of utmost importance to the Danish welfare structure that Denmark fosters academic and pharmaceutical research and development activities in the life science field on a continued and foresighted base.
Denmark’s Life Science Cluster, was established in 2005 as part of the Danish Governmental supported Cluster Excellence Denmark Programme – an initiative to strengthen innovation in Denmark through collaboration and networking initiatives. A number of network organisations in various industry sectors have since then been financed by the Ministry of Higher Education and Science.
Biopeople constitutes of a secretariat located at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen. Biopeople is a membership organization with approx. 160 members and other committed cluster participants in the Danish life science community. Membership is free of charge.
Strong research tradition paved the way
Biopeople’s unique focus on biotech and pharma within life sciences fits very well into Denmark’s stronghold and historical tradition in pharmaceutical research and development, which is mainly due to the strong research tradition of the universities. More than 100 years ago they paved the way for the development of the Danish based international pharmaceutical companies such as the Novo Group, H. Lundbeck and LEO Pharma. This tradition is the basis of many new small Danish life science companies, which has formed the Danish life science cluster, as it is today, where the Danish pharmaceutical export significantly contributes to GDP and jobs.
The life science environment took a giant leap by the decoding of the human genome about 15 years ago. Today we more deeply understand the fundamental molecular principles of disease, and this knowledge transforms the development of medicine, and consequently the health care system. In the future doctors will apply new diagnostic methods to choose the right medication and treatment. Biomarkers will provide increasingly detailed information as to which therapy, under what circumstances, at what point in time and in what dosage achieves a positive outcome.
The four P’s
These expanding treatment opportunities is a key driver of the total paradigm shift in public health care, where the so-called “Four Ps” form the basic building blocks of future medicine, treatment principles and preventive actions: anticipating (Predictive) and preventing (Pre-emptive) disease in the future will involve highly precise, personalized diagnosis and corresponding treatment (Personalized). Furthermore, patients will gradually play a more active decision-making role in their own health care (Participatory).
At the same time the increasing health care pressure as people grow older and the increasing treatment costs forms a societal and economic challenge for every society. Health care costs and the paradigm shift in health care have national as well as international focus. The obvious need for the development of targeted new and better medicines combined with the use of companion diagnostics to enhance efficiency is the key to the shift in treatment modalities.
Public-private partnerships instrumental
Public-private partnerships are instrumental in this development. The regulatory and funding environments need to cope with the challenges of the paradigm shift in health care. Academic research is in the forefront of using new technologies and the pharmaceutical companies constantly need to develop their pipelines. Partnerships between academia, small new companies and/or big pharma companies might be the most successful way to add new medical product development projects to the pipelines. And not to forget the end-users of the health care system and new medicines – the patients – are increasingly looked upon as important sparring partners in the total health care environment.
This is where Biopeople increasingly plays an important role having adapted this important focus and having strengthened its efforts to facilitate the development by being active partners in projects that are important for the Danish involvement in the global health care development.
Biopeople is financed by a base state grant for the Cluster Excellence Denmark programme of 12 million DKK for 2014-2018. Additionally, the organization supplements with project grants and service contracts from EU, Danish regions, the ministry and other relevant stakeholders priorities in the coming years.