In September we, Mikko Juuti and Eeva Lehtomäki from BusinessKuopio, packed our bags with BusinessKuopio’s promotion material and flew to Stockholm to attend the Nordic Life Science Days. We were accompanied by a few companies, Medfiles Oy, Medikro Oy, Reagena Oy Ltd, University of Eastern Finland spinoff Adamant Health, as well as Neurocenter Finland. The goal was to exhibit technologies and know-how from Kuopio area and to network with the top companies and influencers in the life science industry in the Nordics. The event offered excellent opportunities for Finnish companies to have one-to-one meetings with potential customers and to hear the latest news in the development of the life science sector.
Nordic Life Science Days is the largest Nordic partnering conference dedicated to the life science industry. Since its inception in 2013, the event has nurtured a community of people from the world of life science and created a unique place to do business. It is said that most attendees a extremely pleased with the informal atmosphere, combined with an organised approach to meeting highly relevant people. This was something that we truly experienced, as it was very easy and enjoyable to meet people from the life science industry in the relaxed atmosphere. Additionally, the high quality of topics and presenters provided insight into the most recent trends in science and business. Our expectations were high, and luckily we ended up with great results and companies being happy with having joined us.
The first sessions and most of the activities started on the main day, the 11th September, and continued till the afternoon of 12th September. Great attention was drawn especially towards the Startup investment session, where five companies shared their stories from seed investments to IPOs. It was also inspiring to hear the story of the Swedish pharma startup Orexo, who had just won the IPR litigation in the US, and who had sky rocketed their stock price by 50% in just a few hours. They tried their best to hide their excitement and to share their interesting story on bringing the drug developed in Sweden to the US market.
It was interesting to see that NLSdays had a special session for Big Pharma, where big companies such as AstraZeneca and Bayer shared their company news and even offered partnering opportunities. BusinessKuopio’s delegation had prepared very well for the event, as each company had several booked meetings with global Life Science companies at the partnering area. As the CEO of Medikro Oy, Tuukka Eloranta, put it: ”We came here to find new contacts from big pharma companies who sell and develop respiratory drugs and inhalers, and we got to meet almost all of them in one event. This was great early networking before heading to European Respiratory Society conference for the week after NLSDays”.
BusinessKuopio also had an exhibition booth at the event, together with Business Finland and other Finnish cities Helsinki, Turku, Tampere and Oulu. Each city had brought a few companies with them, which allowed us to showcase not only the health and life science ecosystems in each city, but also some of the companies and start-ups working in those ecosystems. Besides the business networking at the venue site, we had a unique opportunity to visit Stockholm City Hall for the conference banquet for a more relaxed networking with global companies.
During the event, we discussed with the companies who had joined us and asked them to share their experiences of the conference. They were all very happy with the business opportunities and in one voice wished more events like this organized. After the conference, Pauli Turunen, who works as Business developer at the University of Eastern Finland spinoff project Adamant Health, commented: ”Big pharma technology scouts were well available at the NLSDays. They are exactly the contacts we are looking for right now. Our perception of the needs of our technology for helping Parkinson’s disease patients and companies developing new treatments got even clearer than before. We are at the right path and at the right time.” Anu Mickels from Reagena Oy Ltd added that “Nordic Life Science Days offered us new business leads and more understanding of the business field trends to support the growth of our company”.
Besides the companies, also Neurocenter Finland joined us to Nordic Life Science Days. The Director of Neurocenter, Mikael Fraunberg, commented after the conference: ”It was eye opening to see how many opportunities there are available for funding life science research and commercialization. We could bring a broader view of Finnish knowledge to the investors and raise more investments to Finland. This is the work we want to contribute to at Neurocenter Finland.” The Coordinator of Neurocenter Finland, Merja Jaronen, continued that “As a scientist it was great to meet big pharma companies in one-to-one discussions and to see a broad range of companies from early phase to one of the biggest in the world”.
We can happily state that the offering of Kuopio’s life science and med-tech industries were well presented in Stockholm. It was also great to share the exhibition booth with other Finnish cities and companies, since together we were able to make a good impression with the Finnish life science technology and know-how.
And as the saled director of Medfiles, Eero Strandman, put it, “Events such as the NLSDays are a must for a contract research service company like us. We got to meet new and existing customers in the Scandinavia, and many of the meetings will lead to increased cooperation in the future.” Nordic Life Science Days were also a good reminder that the Scandinavian market is often the easiest place to start doing business with international partners. As Anu Mickels from Reagena Oy Ltd. stated after the conference, “Scandinavian market should be considered domestic market and visited as often as the Finnish customers”.
Mikko Juuti and Eeva Lehtomäki
Invest & Grow in Kuopio Region
*The exhibition booth and BusinessKuopio’s two delegates’ participation to the Nordic Life Sciece Days was part of the Invest and Grow in Kuopio Region project, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the Regional Council of North Savo and the City of Kuopio. The project allows BusinessKuopio an opportunity to attend a few selected international events together with companies in all fields of business.