My take on Bio2018
The European Biopharmaceutical Enterprises (EBE), represented by myself, is back in Brussels after an action-packed week at the BIO2018 conference in Boston.
BIO2018 was a milestone event, as it marked 25 years of BIO innovation and set the official Guinness world record for the largest business partnering event.
What did BIO2018 mean for EBE?
The BIO convention is a truly global forum that gives the biotech community an opportunity to discuss biotech innovation as well as most issues on biotech and healthcare today.
EBE’s session “Going Global with Biosimilars: How are Biosimilars Regulated Around the World Today?”, moderated by EBE's Barbara Freischem, featured Daniela Marreco Cerqueira, assessor at ANVISA in Brazil, Il Ung Oh, Senior Scientific Officer at the National Institute of Food and Drug Safety Evaluation, Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Republic of Korea, Elizabeth de Somer, Interim CEO at Medicines Australia, and Thomas Felix, Medical Director, Global R&D Policy at Amgen. The discussion revealed that there are similar approaches in the countries represented; it also presented the challenges that remain for companies seeking to develop biosimilars for a global market. One of the highlights was learning about the recently instituted innovative ways in which Australia manages to facilitate the uptake of biosimilars, while maintaining physician choice and oversight over prescriptions. This works through the national prescription system which makes it easier for the physician to prescribe a biosimilar, for example for a new patient, or encourages switching from an originator to a biosimilar by reducing administrative workload, but the physician can always state that the patient should remain on the original medicine. It would be very interesting to revisit the issue to see whether the approach works.
At BIO2018, the KPMG report on “Site selection for Life Science Companies in Europe 2018,” which EBE was proud to support, was officially launched through two separate events. Produced in association with Venture Valuation, this fourth version of the report provides objective advice to companies seeking to establish business in Europe. For example, the report explains strategies for market access tailored to Europe, reviews national strategies, e.g. tax relief, and explains how companies are funded in Europe.
The first event was a mini-session kindly hosted by the European Commission, “Europe – open for business”, at the European Commission pavilion. Elmar Nimmesgern, Deputy Head of Unit Innovative and Personalised Medicines, DG Research of the European Commission, Andre Guedel, KPMG, Annemiek Verkamman, HollandBio, and I (EBE’s Barbara Freischem) discussed the many ways in which Europe and its Member States support businesses in Europe. The official launch of the KPMG site selection report occurred on Thursday, 7 June as part of the main conference program in the session “Successful launch and site selection in Europe – Investments, pipeline and cluster comparison” with a review of the key observations.
With over 18,000 attendees from 67 countries, BIO2018 was an opportunity to meet old friends and to make many new connections. I’m already looking forward to next year’s BIO Convention in Philadelphia.