Development and maturing of research projects.
Research ideas often fail to progress into products and solutions because of the absence of suitable facilities, experienced personnel and access to finance. The Novo Nordisk Foundation wants to change this.
“The centre will help innovative entrepreneurs and talented researchers develop research projects to the point at which they attract crucial capital investment. The hope is that this will see new products and solutions that could in the future combat disease, improve health or conserve natural resources to benefit people and society around the world, which otherwise would never come to fruition,” says Sten Scheibye, Chairman of the Board, Novo Nordisk Foundation.
BII is a Danish initiative with an international perspective. It will be located in Copenhagen to create synergy with the existing research environments and laboratory facilities in the life sciences.
The Foundation has awarded an initial grant of DKK 392 million to cover the 3-year establishment phase.
Sten Scheibye added, “The centre will reaffirm Denmark as a powerhouse in northern Europe for start-ups and mature projects in the life sciences. We hope that it will help global investors see the life sciences in Denmark as an attractive investment opportunity, which would result in new companies and jobs in the long term.”
Commenting on the announcement, Birgitte Nauntofte, CEO, Novo Nordisk Foundation, said “Our role at the Foundation will be to help to build bridges between research and new discoveries and solutions for the benefit of all people. We support researchers with knowledge, expertise and risk capital at an early and decisive time”.
The four phases
During the discovery phase, BII will attract talented researchers and entrepreneurs from Denmark and abroad from research environments at universities and hospitals to collaborate on new pioneering ideas and inventions across disciplines.
The transition phase will primarily test promising projects in an acceleration process in which excellent research ideas are further developed and business plans are drafted. Experts and mentors will be involved in this phase.
The incubation phase covers projects for which a start-up company has been established. These projects have significant potential to be further developed.
In the transition and incubation phases, BII will support start-up companies with risk capital and feedback through access to a network of experts within the start-up environment, financing, legal affairs and other areas critical for the business models of start-ups so that they develop towards becoming financially sustainable. Start-up companies that can attract external funding to implement the ideas in specific solutions then leave the incubation phase.
The growth phase covers companies that have attracted funding from external investors. They can use BII’s facilities on market terms.
The 3-year establishment phase
The 3-year establishment phase will focus on building the transition and incubation phases. This will enable existing research in the life sciences to benefit quickly from the opportunities offered by BII. During this period, BII will be anchored in the Foundation.
After the establishment phase is evaluated, the Foundation’s Board of Directors will decide whether to establish BII as an independent foundation for years 4–10. When this happens, all activities and results from the first 3 years of operating BII will be available to the new foundation. This enables the first 3 years to be used to build a solid framework to ensure that BII starts well.