Universities have equipment that most private companies can only dream about. They also have next level skills to study and test new products and materials. The Copenhagen Science City partner, University of Copenhagen, is no exception to this rule. On June 8th 2022 the university presented a range of their facilities for inspecting biological structure along with research results from their expert network ISBUC. They did this at the ISBUC Industry Day 2022. By Jes Andersen.
Million dollar instruments
ISBUC or “Integrative Structural Biology at University of Copenhagen” is a cluster for experts who study biological objects and interactions in incredible detail. They routinely use instruments worth tens of millions of Euros. At times they even contribute to the development of new instruments. According to one speaker at the Industry Day, this makes them especially valuable to companies.
The university researchers have tech know-how. We in the companies have ideas for applications. It is vital, that universities test newly developed equipment and share their insight. Even a large company such as my own cannot afford to be beta testers on equipment at this scale, but once the universities have shown us, that a new instrument is useful for our business, we will buy one ourselves and train staff to use it”: Lars Olsen, Senior Department Manager, NovoZymes.
ISBUC gives industry researchers access to five facilities with state-of-the-art instruments
The structures these instruments visualise are especially relevant to sectors such as life science, foodstuffs and green transition industries. For this reason, there is a strong focus on innovation and collaboration among the researchers who use them. To date, ISBUC researchers have launched 8 successful spinouts from the University, many of whom have stayed in Copenhagen Science City.
Personal story about spinout founding
Kristian Strømgaard is a researcher turned founder and CEO of the spin-out company Avilex Pharma. A company developing a novel treatment for stroke. He told the audience that he never wanted to be a CEO. It just so happened, that every time the company went through hard times, it ended with him back in the hot seat.
When you are in academia, you should always reach for the high-hanging fruit. Industry is already reaching for the low-hanging ones. Starting a business based on fundamental science has been a hard journey, but I would do it again. I would just prefer to do it with the knowledge I have gained over the past several years”: Kristian Strømgaard, CEO, Avilex Pharma.
High turnout for specialized field
Structural biology is a highly specialized field, so the organizers were well pleased to welcome 71 attendees, 13 of whom were from private companies. The event boasted 11 poster presentations and 10 speakers talking about research results, novel machinery and personal experiences with collaboration between industry and academia.
First of many events
The audience included several industrial PhD-students and post docs as well as associate professors with an interest in starting their own research-based business. According to event manager Lucy Holt, these were particularly inspired by the talks by senior professors who have already started their own companies. According to her, feedback was so positive, that she has only one change planned for next year’s event.
This year the focus was very much on what is happening at University of Copenhagen. Next year, we aim to include 3 or 4 talks where industry scientists present their research projects. This way, it will be more of a research exchange instead of a research showcase. We hope that the event will build up year-on-year and become a staple social learning event in the calendar of structural biologists working in Copenhagen”: Lucy Holt, ISBUC Coordinator, University of Copenhagen Department of Biology.
Information for companies wanting to use facilities
The structural biology facilities at University of Copenhagen are open to hire by external users and ISBUC researchers welcome any enquiries about potential research collaborations – especially with businesses based in Copenhagen Science City. You can find out more about these opportunities by contacting the ISBUC Coordinator Lucy Holt: firstname.lastname@example.org