"We want more!"
Six European regions with a total of 2,000 small and medium-sized businesses participated in FASILIS, successfully bringing together 68 companies. The STERN BioRegion is by far the largest beneficiary of this voucher programme with companies and institutes from the region taking part in almost half of all the collaborations.
Anoxymer GmbH based in Esslingen am Neckar used one of these vouchers. The company's products include plant extracts offering proven health benefits that are marketed as functionalised ingredients in, for example, "functional food". To expand the business model to the cosmetics sector, the company needed a partner able to manufacture an appropriate formulation for a cream with plant extracts. Anoxymer Managing Director Wolfgang Neldner found one in Denmark: "Thanks to FASILIS, we came across Dermaveris, which formulated the cream for us in a ready-to-sell format precisely to our requirements."
Hölle & Hüttner AG found a new customer through FASILIS. The Tübingen-based company was able to supply DNA Technology A/S from Denmark with precisely the know-how it needed to develop its technical webshop and an Oligo production system i.e. knowledge on how to control the processes required to produce oligonucleotides. These are pieces of DNA used for special molecular biology processes and consisting of up to 100 nucleotides, the "letters" that make up DNA. For Dr. Steffen Hüttner, CEO at Hölle & Hüttner AG, there is no doubt about the benefits of the FASILIS project: "As consultants, we're frequently faced with the obstacle that customers who don't know us don't explain their problems in concrete terms. The involvement of BioRegio STERN and FASILIS was very helpful in opening doors for us."
Project manager Dr. Manfred Kauer from BioRegio STERN Management GmbH knows some of the reservations companies have about international cooperation and is convinced that FASILIS offers previously unimaginable networking opportunities to small and medium-sized businesses in particular: "The vouchers are like an appetiser that invites project partners to test and expand collaboration programmes." The partners' "hunger" for more is confirmed by Julie Marlier and Jean-Paul Dispas from BioLiège. The two project managers from the Belgian cluster both agree: "It was the first time that Belgian and German laboratories had the opportunity to collaborate so closely. FASILIS was so successful that everyone is already looking forward to the next project."
FASILIS vouchers could be used to purchase services or place research contracts up to a value of EUR 6,000. Companies were not required to use their own financial resources. In Germany, BioRegio STERN Management GmbH distributed FASILIS vouchers to life science companies in the region comprising Stuttgart, Tübingen, Esslingen, Reutlingen and Neckar-Alb. Along with six other clusters in Belgium, Denmark, the U.K. and the Netherlands, it thus contributed to the transnational networking of business interests and research. Julie Marlier sums up the hopes of everyone involved for the second transnational EU project, for which applications have just been submitted, saying: "We want more!"
For further information on the FASILIS project, go to www.fasilis.eu.
The EU FASILIS project promoted new business relationships between small and medium-sized enterprises on the one hand, and research facilities on the other. It supported the awarding of new contracts in six different regions - Wallonia BioLiège (Belgium), Medical Valley in Øresund Region BioLogue (Denmark), BioRegion STERN Stuttgart (Germany), South East England Health Technology (U.K.), North-Brabant LifetecZone Cluster BOM (Netherlands) and Eastern Netherlands Health Valley OOST NV (Netherlands). The project focused on the health sector and covered the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceutical technology, medical technology and bioinformatics. FASILIS was funded by the EU financial instrument INTERREG IVB North-West Europe.
BioRegio STERN Management GmbH
BioRegio STERN Management GmbH is a skill-sharing network, providing a help and advice centre for founders of new businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers in the biotechnology sector in the region comprising Stuttgart, Tübingen, Esslingen, Reutlingen and Neckar-Alb in Germany. BioRegio STERN promotes cooperation between such different disciplines as medicine, biochemical engineering, sensor technology, dietetics, biochemical analysis and bioinformatics. Key areas of focus are regenerative medicine and medical technology. BioRegio STERN represents the interests of founders of new businesses, entrepreneurs and researchers when dealing with the political sector, the media and associations, coordinates economic promotional activities and marketing and provides advice for grant applications and corporate financing, all backed up with efficient press and public relations work. BioRegio STERN is supported by the Stuttgart and Neckar-Alb regional authorities and the municipal authorities of Stuttgart, Tübingen, Esslingen and Reutlingen. The Managing Director, Dr. Klaus Eichenberg, is a molecular and cell biologist and investment analyst.
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