For many years, the biotechnology sector was seen in Germany as a hard sell – with companies making products that needed to be explained, did not generate profits and were dependent on years of funding. It was a real challenge for BioRegio STERN Management GmbH to win over political, business and life science decision-makers. Thanks to a large number of impressive projects, though, the network that has been created is one of the big, successful German bioregions.
In the panel discussion involving Dr. Jürgen Bernhardt, CEO of BioTeSys GmbH from Esslingen, Prof. Oliver Planz, CSO of Atriva Therapeutics GmbH from Tübingen, Johannes Bacher, Managing Director of Curetis GmbH from Holzgerlingen, and Michael Kahnert, Corporate Counsel of the industry association BIO Deutschland e.V., participants recalled the early days of their business ventures and what an important role BioRegio STERN Management GmbH played in their success. One example of this is the Science2Start ideas competition, which gives scientists the initial impetus to start up a company. For this reason, Prof. Planz compares BioRegio STERN Management GmbH to a “midwife”, Bacher sees it as a “dating portal for companies” and Dr. Bernhardt appreciates the fact that it provides “a safe space where people can speak openly”.
Dr. Klaus Eichenberg, who has been Managing Director of BioRegio STERN Management GmbH since 2004, looked to the future in his speech. In the health economy, artificial intelligence, telemedicine and personalised medicine will redefine the roles of patients and doctors alike and transform the healthcare system. Bioeconomic tools are being developed to make the economy more resource-efficient and climate-friendly. “I am grateful that BioRegio STERN Management GmbH was founded with so much foresight 20 years ago. Despite all the successes that have already been achieved, though, the biotechnology sector is still in its infancy. It offers huge social and economic possibilities, but also involves a high level of investment and equally high business risks. Further support and funding are therefore required,” emphasises Dr. Eichenberg. The event host also took this opportunity to thank the shareholders and funding agencies – Wirtschaftsförderung Region Stuttgart, Regionalverband Stuttgart, the Neckar-Alb region, and the cities of Tübingen and Reutlingen: “Through your financial and moral support, you are all helping to create a sector here in the region that is already achieving a huge amount – and the best is yet to come.”