Medicon Valley and Massachusetts, US, sign pioneering agreement

    Medicon Valley and Massachusetts signing the agreement

    The agreement between the US State of Massachusetts and the Capital Region of Denmark, Region Zealand and Region Skåne was signed in June at the major BIO 2012 convention in Boston.
    From the left it is Deval Patrick, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Marianne Stendell, Chair of the Capital Region’s Committee for Future Education, Training and Research; Region Skåne’s executive member, Catharina Blixen Finecke and Ole Drost, Chair of the Committee for Research, Innovation, Education and Training, Region Zealand.
    Photo: Angus McQuilken, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center.

    A new agreement is designed to develop and enhance partnerships across the Atlantic in the field of health, with a particular focus on research and business development in the biotech, pharmaceutical and medical devices industries.

    A new partnership agreement between the US State of Massachusetts and the Capital Region of Denmark, Region Zealand and Region Skåne was signed in June at the major BIO 2012 convention in Boston. Potential benefits of the agreement include enhanced research partnerships, exchanges of researchers and students between Medicon Valley and Massachusetts, easier access to US research funding and enhanced business development in the Oresund Region.

    The new transatlantic agreement is brought about by the Life Science Ambassador in Boston, Torsten Jepsen.

    – A cornerstone of this agreement will be the formation of strong consortia between Danish-Swedish researchers, companies and likewise from Massachusetts. These cooperations will be able to apply for researchfunds within the EU framework programs and the American counterpart, The National Institute of Health (NIH), says Torsten Jepsen.

    Home to 500 biotech companies

    Torsten Jepsen points out that Massachusetts is home to more than 500 biotech businesses and a large number of top-class health research environments, among these are Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University.

    Last year biotech companies in Massachusetts received $ 1 billion in venture capital. This represents 23 percent of the total U.S. venture capital, which was raised to biotech last year.

    Nearly 900 drug candidates are under development in Massachusetts and the state is home to the five hospitals in the U.S. that receives most statefunding for research; last year $ 2.5 billion from the National Institute of Health (NIH).

    High expectations

    The three regions in Oresund have high expectations to the agreement.

    – Region Skåne’s objective is to be the most innovative region in Europe by 2020, so this is fully in line with our strategy. This is an important partnership that gives both our organisation and our employees the opportunity for development and training. But above all, good research and development mean better treatment for patients in Skåne, says Region Skåne’s executive member Catharina Blixen Finecke.

    Marianne Stendell, Chair of the Capital Region’s Committee for Future Education, Training and Research, see the agreement as an important milestone:

    – We want the Capital Region of Denmark to be an international knowledge region that works with the best research environments and businesses in the world. The agreement with Massachusetts is an important milestone in this strategy.

    Also Region Zealand looks very much forward to the cooperation with Massachusetts.

    – We want Region Zealand to be an innovative region. A partnership across the Atlantic gives us contact with strong sparring partners and places us in a stronger position when we apply for research funding, says Ole Drost, Chair of the Committee for Research, Innovation, Education and Training, Region Zealand.

    A win-win-situation

    Laurie S. Fulton, the Ambassador of the United States to the Kingdom of Denmark, characterize the new agreement as a win-win-situation.

    – Building bridges across the Atlantic always is important and this agreement between the U.S. and Scandinavian life science clusters can serve as a model to demonstrate that collaborative efforts provide benefits beyond those partners involved.  This agreement expands the links between Medicon Valley in the Oresund Region and the health care community in Boston, Massachusetts.  In this win-win situation, two regions with strength in the life sciences are enhancing their partnership and promoting knowledge-sharing that will lead to increased trade and investments between the United States and Denmark.

    – This is a great initiative and I wish both regions great success, says Laurie S. Fulton.

    Facts:

    The partnership agreement between the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Capital Region, Region Zealand and Region Skåne is designed to:

    • Promote exchanges of researchers and students.
    • Promote activities that can enhance research partnerships in the life science field.
    • Identify special projects, partnerships or collaborations between the partners that can lead to new or enhanced research partnerships.
    • Identify and use relevant state resources and programmes to support partnerships and the commercialisation of research and development projects and results.
    • Establish a framework within which each of the partners can be involved in joint research and development projects financed by, e.g., the EU or the National Institute of Health, to develop new products and processes that can be used commercially on the global market.