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One-hundred-fourteen Swiss and Scandinavian representatives of the biotech and pharmaceutical industries and private investors in the sector met last month in Zurich. Entrepreneurs, researchers and investors discussed during the event the possibilities of technological collaboration and pitched investment opportunities in both geographical areas.
At the heart of the discussions was the role played in the due diligence process by public, and the involvement of small companies in a research project backed by European programmes. In this respect, EUREKA individual projects and Eurostars projects were mentioned as the best existing programmes when it comes to bringing biotech start-ups and their technologies to a level of maturity sufficient for a risk-free investment.
'EUREKA INSTRUMENTS ARE THE BEST WHEN BRINGING START-UPS TO A LEVEL OF MATURITY SUFFICIENT FOR A RISK FREE INVESTMENT.'
A number of speakers praised EUREKA programmes’ evaluation and selection-procedure to be both sober and efficient, describing prime examples where public financing had helped to develop biotechnology projects to a point where private investors were ready to take over. While often slow assessment procedures and low success rates are mentioned as the main obstacles to use the results of European research programmes as a tool for assessing the possibility of venture investment, investors made a clear point that this was not the case for EUREKA instruments.
Eurostars, a programme specially designed for small companies, has produced a large number of mature companies and allowed the development of several technologies in the biotech, medical and pharmaceutics domains. Biotech and medical technologies is the first market area targeted by Eurostars project participants.