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Is there potential for a Medicon Valley Microbiome Research and Innovation Platform? The results from a new KMPG study were presented at the Project Outcomes and Future Outlook event in Copenhagen on 7 June.
The Medicon Valley Microbiome Signature Project has assigned consultancy firm KPMG to explore the demand for a microbiome hub in Medicon Valley, uncover key success factors and develop strategic recommendations. At the 7 June event Project Outcomes and Future Outlook in Copenhagen, Arthur Krause, consultant Global Strategy Group Life Sciences KMPG Switzerland presented the findings together with colleagues Anders Stensgaard and André Guedel.
Ten other microbiome initiatives were investigated, and four of them were analysed more in depth where one-to-one interviews were performed to identify key success factors. In addition, six key stakeholders in Medicon Valley were interviewed to uncover challenges and opportunities.
Having a shared vision to give a feeling of belonging to one community and a well-planned communication strategy are two of the success factors behind the Irish national microbiome hub APC (The Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre Microbiome Ireland), which probably is the oldest microbiome hub in the world. A strong value proposition that supports research and industry collaboration helps the tri-national hub EMC (Euregional Microbiome Center located in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium) when they facilitate collaboration across national borders. The recently founded NCCR (Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research Microbiomes) has a scientific manager and a non-scientific manager employed as a dedicated management team to create a structured organisation and coordinate its stakeholders. Arthur Krause is impressed by the many strengths in Medicon Valley.
There are so many strong companies and other important stakeholders here,” he says.
At the following panel discussion, the findings and a possible way forward were discussed. The audience was involved and voted a “Dedicated organisation to support active microbiome community” as the most important prioritisation. “First of all, we need solid fund raising and to build awareness,” says Dina Petranovic Nielsen, CPO & CSO Novo Nordisk Foundation, Center for Biosustainability, Technical University of Denmark.
Secondly, we need a centralised organisation with connection to satellites at different stakeholders such as the universities,” she says.
As the region is unique by covering parts of two countries, a high number of universities and both startups and more mature stakeholders, a setup with dedicated task/work groups could be a way to create engagement and commitment to ensure progress,”
says Kristine Koppelhus, Director of Scientific and Public Affairs, BioGaia.
In the KMPG report, our internal stakeholders in Medicon Valley flagged the lack of collaboration as a key challenge, which is attributed to the absence of a structured organisation. That view was echoed by Nikolaj Lubanski, COO, Copenhagen Capacity at the beginning of the event. “It’s crucial with collaboration. I’m surprised that there is not more collaboration going on.”
“It’s time to start to work together,” says Mani Arumugam, Associate Professor, Novo Nordisk Foundation, Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen.
We need to engage more with others in the microbiome field. There are two sides of working together in research – the collaboration and the healthy competition. We need to work together to raise the field to a certain level,” he says.
You can read the full KMPG report here.