Yesterday, three awards were handed out to up-and-coming companies at the annual Nordic Life Science Days (NLSDays), organized in Copenhagen for the first time.
The Nordic region is home to a thriving life science community where academic spin-offs and start-ups contribute to a dynamic foundation of innovation and entrepreneurship. NLSDays provide a platform to raise the visibility of these early-stage companies and founders, and this year three awards in two different competitions were handed out.
The Nordic Stars pitch competition welcomed 30 SMEs from across the Nordics, which each gave a four minute pitch on-stage to the jury and an audience of investors.
”The competition this year was very impressive – it was really challenging to select a winner,” jury member Stephan Christgau, founding partner at Eir Ventures, said.
Loma Therapeutics won Merck’s award, the Advance Biotech Grant Program – Nordics, which is sponsored by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany. The prize includes bioprocessing technologies and services to an amount of 45,000 EUR. CEO Dr Ditte Boilesen and COO Dr Stephanie Holstein-Rønsbo received the prize at the closing ceremony.
The Danish pharmaceutical start-up NEUmiRNA Therapeutics took home the NLSDays Nordic Star 2023 Award, consists of a 10,000 EUR cash prize and additional in-kind services. CEO Prof. Janine Erler accepted the prize onstage.
“Many small Nordic companies are maturing, they have a clear business plan and they know where they’re going. NEUmiRNA Therapeutics is a great example of this. They’re addressing an unmet medical need, they have a clear plan, and they’re first in class. They have a good and diverse team and a great CEO in Janine Erler,” Stephan Christgau commented about the Nordic Star Award winner.
The pitch competition jury consisted of Melissa Nackovski, Emerging Biotech Nordics, Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany; Milla Koistinaho, Partner, Innovestor Life Science Fund; Elena Fernandez-Kleinlein, Head of JLABS EMEA, Johnson & Johnson; Stephanie Munk, Senior Associate, SunStone Life Science Ventures; Georgina Askeland, Senior Investment Associate, Hadean Ventures; Carl Kilander, Partner, HealthCap; Stephan Christgau, Founding Partner, Eir Ventures; and Marjo Puumalainen, International Director, SwedenBIO. The Nordic Stars pitch competition was sponsored by Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, Innovestor, Bayer, and SwedenBIO.
In a smaller competition, 12 academic researchers from Nordic universities were selected to present posters outlining a project with commercial potential.
Dr Dafne Quixabeira from Helsinki University won the competition with her poster: “Next oncolytic immunotherapy candidates for the treatment of human solid tumors: From bench to patients”.
The prize is a ticket to next year’s NLSDays, and the jury consisted of Anders Persson, Executive Director, Ecosystem Strategy and Innovation, AstraZeneca BioVenture Hub; Kerstin Falck, Primary Care & Internal Medicine Lead, Pfizer; Mårten Winge, CEO, Strike Pharma; Sana Alajmovic, Co-Founder and CEO, Sigrid Therapeutics; and Alexandra Hoegberg, Director of Communications & International Marketing, SwedenBIO.
“I think it’s great to see that all three winners this year are women, this also says something about where we are in the Nordics. The life science industry is maturing and we’re getting better at attracting and welcoming all promising talent,” Stephan Christgau reflected.
Next year's NLSDays is taking place in Malmö. Sweden, on 17-19 September 2024. Registration is already open.
–– About Nordic Life Science Days –– Nordic Life Science Days 2023 took place at Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, on November 29-30. NLSDays 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. NLSDays attracts leading decision makers from biotech, pharma and medtech, as well as finance, research, policy and regulatory authorities. NLSDays is owned and organized by SwedenBIO. www.nlsdays.com
–– About SwedenBIO –– SwedenBIO is the national association for the Swedish life science industry, representing the sector both domestically and globally. Sweden has a vibrant, innovative life science industry, strong academia, and world-leading infrastructure for research. SwedenBIO’s 340+ members are companies within pharma, biotech, diagnostics and medtech, and comprise the entire range from small start-ups to SMEs and large enterprises. NLSDays is SwedenBIO’s flagship event. www.swedenbio.se