On 31st March, my colleagues Ping and Malin joined me at a conference targeting life science companies which took place in Medicon Village in Lund. The conference focused on how to tap the potential for collaboration in the greater region of Själland (Denmark) and Skåne (Sweden). One of the speakers, Stig Jørgensen from ReproUnion, talked about how size matters, and not just in the way you might think; data sample sizes are crucial for any research. Areas like personalised medicine further highlight the need, since they require large populations to test drugs on rare genetic variants. While learning of many advances in reproductive health, we were also reminded that assisted reproduction is actually the most common type in nature (think of bees).
A group of speakers discussed biobanking and the design of future information systems with a view to sharing information to improve research opportunities.
Medtech4Health provides funding for medtech innovation. According to Reidar Gårdebäck, the costs of geriatric care will see a 70% increase by 2050. It is therefore important to consider who will pay for technological innovations, such as apps; the government, hospitals or patients?
Anders Hjelmencrantz from Zacco talked about the implications of the European unitary patent and translation arrangements, which are stipulated in Council regulation no. 1260/2012. According to the regulation, “Machine translations are being developed by the EPO and are a very important tool in seeking to improve access to patent information and to widely disseminate technological knowledge.” High-quality machine translations are expected to be available within 12 years; however, “Such machine translations should serve for information purposes only and should not have any legal effect.” This suggests that high-quality machine translations would still not replace the highly accurate translations provided by experts in each technical field.
Finally, Tony Jones from One Nucleus and Mike Ward from Informa talked about the past and present of the UK life science ecosystem and comparisons with the major US hubs and Scandinavia. The general opinion was that the UK and Scandinavia should collaborate more and learn from each other on how to scale up and how to harness and develop skills.
Overall, my colleagues and I found the programme very interesting. Open events like this are very useful for offering insights into potential clients’ businesses, as well as the challenges and opportunities they face.