The opportunities offered by novel technologies require brokers, which support and organize the transfer of technologies from academia to absorptive companies. To enhance, strengthen and further leverage this transfer, two organizations – biotechnet Switzerland and the Swiss Biotech Association (SBA) – established the NTN (National Thematic Network) Swiss Biotech. This partnership has developed through different phases and configurations but always under programs sponsored by CTI/ Innosuisse.
In its twentieth year, the SBA is supporting Swiss biotech companies across all development stages, including start-ups, clinical stage and profitable companies that offer novel therapies or innovative technologies. biotechnet Switzerland is a network founded by academic institutions as well as research and technology organizations.
biotechnet performs a bridging function by providing companies with access to a wide variety of high-caliber competencies. Over a period of almost 20 years, the biotechnet Switzerland has promoted more than 100 network projects between academic and industrial partners.
The strong position of Swiss universities in the life sciences sector has been, and continues to be, a huge asset and a source of competitive advantage for the Swiss biotech industry. The effective collaboration and transfer of know-how, IP and new technologies from academia to industry partners has therefore been one of the key success factors in the Swiss biotech sector and one of the reasons that it has grown and broadened so strongly in the past two decades. The spin-out of new companies and licensing contracts enable academia to benefit from the successful industrial application of their inventions.
The Innosuisse funded NTN Swiss Biotech will formally cease activities by the end of 2018. The planned closure is part of the life-cycle concept that Innosuisse (CTI) installed for all National Thematic Networks back in 2012. Already today it is evident that the NTN Swiss Biotech has successfully broadened its memberbase and achieved major tasks, such as the initiation of national and international innovation research projects and the set-up of member networking platforms.
Leaving the safe and well-resourced harbor of Innosuisse/CTI will be challenging but the importance of the close collaboration between academia and industry is well recognized, documented and enjoys broad support. The SBA and biotechnet are putting together a new package of joint activities which becomes operative in 2019 as National Innovation Network Swiss Biotech. The corner stones of the future partnership, which will aim at strengthening the competitiveness of the biotech ecosystem, include:
- Combining core competences of absorptive companies with academic knowledge and practices
- Concentrating knowledge and technologies around thematic platforms
- Exploiting a broad range of collaboration formats with SMEs
- Installing training programs to attract talents, improve relevant skills and know how
- Exploiting the potential of novel technologies to generate new business models
This initiative will ensure that the benefits of the close collaboration between academia and industry can be captured effectively and will continue to boost the competitiveness of the Swiss biotech industry.