In Boston, Danish Life Science Companies and US Investors Line Up for DKBIO2018
A premier networking platform linking leading Danish life science companies with United States-based investors is returning for its third edition amid fervid interest from sponsors, investors and participants on both sides of the Atlantic, the Consulate General of Denmark in New York has confirmed.
Launched in New York in 2016, DKBIO is touching down in Boston from 10–11 April for its 2018 meeting with panels and fireside chats focusing on collaboration and growth, while showcasing Danish life science excellence to the American investment community and exploring openings for further engagement between the two. And while global in its nature, the meeting seems to strike a balance where discussion with key experts like Kush Parmar, of 5AM Ventures, Mary Lynne Hedley, Co-Founder of TESARO, or Kasim Kutay, CEO of Novo Group can feel almost intimate.
“Copenhagen has gained a reputation as a hub for life science innovation so it’s no surprise that US investors are keen on meeting with the Danish companies spearheading these advances,” Dr. Megan M. Dow, Senior Advisor for Life Sciences at the Consulate General of Denmark in New York and the event’s organizer, explained in a recent interview.
“DKBIO has been met with such enthusiasm from the US side, from Big Pharma to classic investors, that we arrive in Boston with a reinvigorated sense of purpose,” Dr. Dow continued. “Investors and pharma, even larger biotech companies, are all looking to fill their Research and Development pipelines and this year our theme will focus on innovation and collaboration.”
Dr. Otello Stampacchia, Managing Director at Omega Funds where he leads the firm’s investor relations and strategic initiatives, explained that DKBIO’s value lies in the fact that it bridges the cultural and communication divide that typically keeps US investors from discovering new companies. In a separate interview conducted via email, Dr. Stampacchia noted that it is especially “hard to replicate” the kind of exposure Danish companies can get from the DKBIO platform, particularly if they are landing in the US for the first time.
This specific factor, Dr. Dow revealed, is why DKBIO is such a critical forum in the international conversation between Danish life science companies and the US investors that can further lift them.
With backing from major Danish sponsors such as Novo Group and Lundbeckfonden and US collaborators including McGuireWoods, Nasdaq, Ernst & Young, Trout Group, Back Bay Life Science Advisors, and Back Bay Healthcare Capital, DKBIO has introduced a unique format that blends elements from business development meetings, topical seminars, and financial conferences and has garnered widespread appeal.
According to Mai-Britt Zocca, CEO of IO Biotech, a Danish pharmaceutical company leading the development of innovative cancer treatments, the set-up of very concentrated one-on-one meetings ultimately results in a “highly valuable” program bringing companies directly into contact with East Coast investors and potential collaborators and partners.
“I found the program of high interest,” Dr. Zocca confirmed via email. “It brings the Danish life science community closer to understanding the US biotech environment and provides Danish companies with an opportunity to broadcast themselves.”
Christian Elling, a Managing Partner at Lundbeckfonden Emerge, agreed.
A lead on Lundbeckfonden Emerge’s early stage biotech investment unit, Dr. Elling cautioned that as the global biotech and pharma industry were “tremendously big,” ensuring that international stakeholders retain a line of sight on Danish companies becomes a primary objective. DKBIO, he pointed out, helps to achieve that goal.
“DKBIO allows Danish companies to meet US-based companies and investors and showcase some of the strengths of Danish science in a clear and concise way, optimizing their opportunity to create meaningful, longer term relationships in the US,” he concluded.
On a similar tack, Stephan Christgau, Senior Partner at Novo Seeds, another sponsor of DKBIO, elevated the importance of the platform as regards propelling Danish companies into the orbit of the US venture capital and financial markets that are, in his words, “many fold larger than in Europe.”
The US market, he said, remains the most important market for global biotech companies and it is increasingly important for Danish life science outfits to engage with the market, and develop knowledge and relations concerning developmental, regulatory, commercial and financial aspects.
“DKBIO is a highly relevant forum for Danish life science companies — both early-stage companies that are still in the phase where they are refining strategy and reaching out to investors as well as more mature companies,” Dr. Christgau stated. “All types of companies can benefit from the networking and business opportunities offered during the DKBIO event.”
While the plaudits for DKBIO’s ability to generate valuable networks are many, the platform’s potential to grow stronger and produce beneficial partnerships for participants seems imbedded in DKBIO’s DNA. Just one quick look at the roster of Danish life science superstars that the platform has hosted makes that clear, according to Dr. Dow. She pointed to companies like Zealand Pharma (NASDAQ:ZEAL) who are leading innovators in metabolic disease; or IO Biotech, whose game-changing approach to cancer treatment is pushing the boundaries of what immune-oncology can do; or NMD Pharma, which is approaching neuromuscular interactions in an entirely new way. All have been featured at the DKBIO meeting and remain “really exciting” companies to follow in biotech. The 2018 edition, she added, will also feature “exciting medical device companies with near-market potential.”
“The Danish life science ecosystem has borne numerous success stories which have led to life-changing medicines and treatments reaching patients world-wide,” she said. “Great science can happen anywhere in the world, but statistically and consistently, great science comes from Denmark.
Find more information on DKBIO 2018 and register here.