After just three years of existence, BioInnovation Institute, the Copenhagen Science City-based incubator- and accelerator initiative, has gained independence and decided to expand. BII was established in December 2017 by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. On December 8th 2020, they transformed into an independent foundation. Just days later, they announced an expansion by 900 square meters.
The initiative is located in the start-up community COBIS in the heart of the innovation district. During its first three years of existence, BII has successfully funded 85 start-ups to the tune of 48 million EUR. If this winning streak continues, the Novo Nordisk Foundation has pledged up to 470 million EUR over the next ten years. This makes the institute a key establishment in the innovation ecosystem.
“It is hugely valuable to every entrepreneurial researcher in the district to have such a large and ambitious promoter of growth in the immediate area. Even in these highly connected times, physical proximity is valuable”, Kristoffer Klebak, Head of Secretariat, Copenhagen Science City.”, Kristoffer Klebak, Head of Secretariat, Copenhagen Science City.
Stay for proximity
The incubation- and accelleration programmes at BioInnovation Institute have received more applications than they could accommodate but the quality of projects has been surprisingly high. To accommodate more projects they are adding 900 ground floor square meters to their original 2,300 square meters on the third floor of the COBIS buildings. Finding sufficient space in the heart of the Danish capital can be challenging, but it is no coincidence, that they are staying in Copenhagen Science City.
We believe in proximity and critical mass as a driver for innovation. Copenhagen Science City, as a district, had a high concentration of entrepreneurs and excellent researchers even before we moved in, and we want to help develop the innovation ecosystem here. It was a very good location for launching BioInnovation Institute. Now it is the right place for us to expand”: Jens Nielsen, professor and CEO of the BII Foundation.
Good ideas need support
From the start, BII focused mostly on start-ups developing new medicines and diagnostics. They recently announced an expanded focus on healthtech and bioindustrial innovations. The common denominator for all the projects they support is that they should make a real difference either for patients or for the world.
We see great potential to develop new solutions in life science and biotechnology, but good ideas often need support from an early stage of development to be matured and prepared for commercialization in order to benefit people and societies. That is why BII’s task is so important,” Birgitte Nauntofte, CEO, Novo Nordisk Foundation.
Up to 500 entrepreneurs. Domestic, Nordic and international
BII expects to house up to 500 researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs over the coming years and will increasingly focus on attracting international life science entrepreneurial talent to Denmark. As part of this development, BII also aims to raise the profile of the Nordic innovation ecosystem to the international life science investment community.
In the first years of BII, we have seen that there is a great potential to help discoveries reach the market. This effort can contribute to Denmark becoming an international powerhouse for maturing life science research into viable start-up companies.” Sten Scheibye, current chairman of the board of BII and future chairman of the BII Foundation.
Strong collaboration with university and hospital
Entrepreneurs can apply for financing and business development through BII’s programs in open competition. Their “Creation House” program offers business development, access to BII’s international entrepreneurial culture and 2300 square meters of office space and laboratory area in Copenhagen plus a low-risk convertible loan of up to EUR 1.3 million for each high-growth start-up company.
BII already has a strong collaboration with universities and hospitals, and we have received a large number of very high quality applications for our programs. This testifies to there being immense potential for more projects and start-ups, with much to build on in the coming years,” says Jens Nielsen, professor and CEO of the BII Foundation.
The BioInnovation Institute foundation (BII) is an international commercial charitable foundation supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation to accelerate world-class life science innovation that drives development of new solutions by early life science start-ups for the benefit of people and society.
BII, located in Copenhagen, Denmark, offers start-ups and early-stage projects within health tech, therapeutics and bio-industrials state-of-the art labs, vibrant office facilities, business development, start-up business incubation, access to high-level mentoring and international networks plus unique funding opportunities of up to 1.3 million euro per start-up and 2.4 million euro per project.
About Copenhagen Science City
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