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BIO-Europe 2018: Growth of the European life science industry

The European biotech sector is powered by innovation, which is driven by partnerships and successful collaborations. In the age of globalization, it has become abundantly clear that more can be accomplished by working together than standing alone.

In this spirit, for the 24th year, BIO-Europe 2018 will gather delegates from all parts of the biotechnology value chain to the Bella Center in Copenhagen to engage and enter into strategic partnerships that support the successful growth of the global healthcare industry.

A perfect example of such partnerships is the alliance between Rentschler Biopharma SE and LEUKOCARE AG which strategically aims to incorporate formulation development at every step throughout biopharmaceutical development and manufacturing.

The two companies jointly conducted a survey gathering insights into the status quo and future of drug product formulation and its potential to refine all steps in the biopharmaceutical value chain. Results from this survey will be released, for the first time, at the BIO-Europe roundtable discussion entitled, “A strategic view: Formulation in the drug product development process,” moderated by Mike Ward, Head of Content at Informa Pharma Intelligence Insights and held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, from 15:15–16:15 CET.

The survey covered a broad range of formulation-related topics, from key formulation aspects and considerations in drug product development to the stage of development during which companies deal with formulation as well as project failures and solutions to overcome such hurdles. For example, working closely with the client ensures end products will—from the very beginning—have a best-in-class formulation and administration mode. This innovative approach will provide clients significant competitive advantages, enabling them to exploit the full commercial potential of their products and markets.

With a special focus on orphan as well as pediatric indications, a key theme of this year’s event will be companies whose research pushes the boundaries of what we thought was possible and offers alternative therapies to previously undruggable and incurable illnesses.

Following recent drug approvals, antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) are gaining tremendous momentum. Secarna Pharmaceuticals, a Munich-based German biopharmaceutical company, is well prepared for this rapidly growing pharmaceutical market segment. Secarna, prior to launching its third-generation ASO drug discovery and development platform LNAplusTM, took advantage of partnering opportunities to engage with industry partners at several events, including BIO-Europe Spring® 2018 in Amsterdam (watch an interview with CEO Jonas Renz here).

“Our state-of-the-art high throughput platform LNAplus™ can be integrated in the process of discovering, testing, and selecting antisense oligonucleotides for pre-clinical and clinical development. It has successfully proven to be fast, reliable, scalable, efficient and provides for a uniquely integrated workflow to deliver best-in-class drug candidates for challenging or previously undruggable targets,” said Jonas Renz, Managing Director and co-founder of Secarna.

“With entering into a co-development agreement with Firebrand Therapeutics Inc., a scientifically leading research and development company focusing on cancer metastasis, as well as receiving a Horizon 2020 grant for the development of a novel nanomedicine as a partner in the international INAT (Inhaled Nanocarriers with Antisense Therapy for lung fibrosis) consortium, we have seen some significant milestones for Secarna over the past months.”

Jonas Renz, as well as more than 4,000 other delegates who will attend BIO-Europe, are convinced of the valuable opportunity it offers. Secarna believes this is an ideal time to discuss their validated platform and first results derived from it as well as their future strategy with a wide range of industry experts in Copenhagen.

Collaborations and partnerships go to the heart of the BIO-Europe partnering conference. AiCuris Anti-infective Cures, a German pharmaceutical company based in Wuppertal that focuses exclusively on the discovery, research and development of novel antiviral and antibacterial agents for the treatment of severe and potentially life-threatening infectious diseases has managed several successful in-house and out-house licensing agreements.

The first product derived from a license agreement with Merck & Co. (MSD) was launched into the market in November 2017, displaying the revolutionary impact biotech and big pharma can have on providing patients access to new innovative treatments when they partner together. Letermovir, designed to inhibit the viral terminase of the human cytomegalovirus (CMV) achieved market approval in the US, Europe and Japan for the prophylaxis of CMV infections in recipients of bone marrow transplants. Most recently AiCuris and Cyclenium Pharma announced the signing of a collaboration agreement focused on finding new pharmaceutical compounds for the treatment and prevention of bacterial and viral diseases.

To add to their accolades, Prof. Dr. Helga Rübsamen-Schaeff, Founding CEO, and Dr. Holger Zimmermann, CEO of AiCuris were one of three teams nominated for the German President's Award for Innovation in Science and Technology 2018, for their project, "Protection in the Absence of the Immune System – A Life-Saving Innovation against Dangerous Viruses." Together, both scientists developed Letermovir, the world's first and only drug to prevent infections with a common virus in bone marrow transplant patients, generating a paradigm shift in this field of transplantation medicine. Always on the lookout for the next great partnership, AiCuris looks forward to participating in several of the more than 24,000 one-to-one partnering meetings at BIO-Europe 2018.

Groundbreaking healthcare therapies can only reach the people who need them when innovation meets partnerships; making BIO-Europe 2018 the perfect backdrop for ensuring that the therapies of the future are available today.

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