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More space for life science start-ups in Copenhagen Science City

The life science start-up community Cobis is expanding. Photo Mikal Schlosser.

With more than 125 companies under one roof, the start-up community COBIS is already home to one of the largest gatherings of life science start-ups in the Greater Copenhagen area. Now they are expanding to create space for even more companies. By renting an additional 3,500 square meters, COBIS expects to welcome 20 to 30 new companies. They hope for the first start-ups to move in as soon as January 1st 2021.

An ever-lengthening waiting list

Throughout 2019 and 2020 COBIS has stretched and squeezed to create space for an ever-growing number of start-ups that wanted to join the community. At the time of writing, their waiting list is at 50 companies, so this expansion is long overdue. The rapid opening of the new space is possible only because the University Hospital Rigshospitalet is relocating a number of units from a neighbouring building; Tagensvej 22.

Sharing knowledge

The proximity to the original COBIS building has been pivotal for the decision to expand, as a central motto in the community is, that start-up companies gain strength if they can share knowledge and ideas with their neighbours. Within COBIS the neighbours include a number of leading incubator- and accellerator programmes and start-ups and scale-ups primarily from the life science sector. Outside the building are an even greater number of potential co-creators.

Close to co-creators

Since 2009, COBIS has resided in a 14,000 square meter purpose built house on Ole Måløes Vej. The location is central in the innovation district Copenhagen Science City, where 40,000 researchers, students and staff at the university hospital Rigshospitalet, University College Copenhagen and University of Copenhagen Faculties of SCIENCE and Health and Medical Sciences are all within walking distance. For Symbion, which owns COBIS, this community was crucial to their decision, explains Symbion CEO Peter Torstensen.

Copenhagen Science City has developed into a central community for life science start-ups. With over 100 life science start-ups it has the greatest concentration in the Nordic countries. From experience we know, that density creates a positive spiral. The mass of interesting start-ups catches the attention of investors and other eco-system actors. These wish to support the development of successful companies. This in turn means that even more aspire to be part of the community. The positive spiral is now turning. With the expansion of COBIS at yet another location, there is a chance that this development will accelerate. I am confident that in just a few years we will see a marked increase in the number of life science start-ups and with it an even stronger eco-system in Copenhagen Science City”: Peter Torstensen, CEO, Symbion

Incubator for future health and care start-ups

Rigshospitalet is a Copenhagen Science City-partner. It is one of the leading research hospitals in Denmark, and innovation and commercialisation is of high strategic importance. Focus is on developing, testing and implementing new methods of treatment and technical and digital solutions. Their Chief of Innovation, Henning Langberg, sees great promise in an expanded COBIS.

Tomorrow’s health solutions are accelerated in the meeting between skilled technicians and strong clinical environments. We facilitate such partnerships in the middle of Copenhagen Science City. Together, Rigshospitalet and COBIS will act as an incubator for the start-ups of the future”: Henning Langberg, Chief Innovation Officer, Rigshospitalet.

A vibrant community close to co-creators

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen form a significant part of the population of start-up founders in COBIS. From new drugs and diagnostic methods to greentech and cleantech-solutions, companies based on the university’s intellectual property have found a home, where co-creating with world class labs is just as easy as recruiting highly educated staff.

It is of great value to our entrepreneurial researchers who create spin-outs to have an inspiring environment nearby. COBIS created not only great office-spaces and lab-facilities but has gone the extra mile to develop a vibrant hub of spin-outs, seed funds, accelerator programmes and other relevant stakeholders. Our spin-outs have close ties to the academic environment and it is therefore important for them to stay in close proximity to the university. COBIS makes that possible”: Karen Laigaard, Head of Technology Transfer, University of Copenhagen.

Part of a cross-border community

With its location in central Copenhagen, COBIS is also part of Medicon Valley. This area spanning Eastern Denmark and Southern Sweden is home to a number of other start-up communities including DTU Science Park in the Northern Zealand hamlet of Hørsholm, Smile incubator in the Swedish university town Lund. Minc start-up house in Malmø and Sahlgrenska Science Park in Gothenburg.