How does CEE biosector look on the background of its western equivalent? What actions should be undertaken to make it more competitive?
Ernő Duda: Biotech in Western European countries is more supported, both by governments and private investors. In many cases Western European researchers have more proper facilities and equipment than researchers in CEE region. That is why these countries have a significant advantage in this area; however it is a very ambitious industry in our region. It is crucial to build strategic partnerships amongst countries from the region to stay in competition. BioForum is a great basis for it.
What are the key points to build a strong alliance of companies on national or international level?
The most important point is always the interest of companies. The main issue is business interest and the function of protection of their professional interests. It was the basic idea when we established the Hungarian Biotechnology Association in 2003 and it was the fundament of the idea of a Central and Eastern European Biotech Association. A couple of companies – especially small- and medium-sized companies – don’t have the necessary power to reach their goals and make governments help their goals one-by-one. In case if there is a group of companies with common goals and their common representatives they have a huge competitive edge.
The previous edition of BioForum took place in Budapest. You signed the cooperation agreement between HBA and PBA at that time. How did cooperation between these two entities improve because of that?
Hungary was one of the first countries where a Biotech Association was established in CEE. We had almost 10 years of relevant experience in this field that we could pass over to our Polish partners. We had a good cooperation with the actors of the Polish biotech sector before the signing of this agreement; however it was the first formal step. I am sure that we can continue this common work and it will be useful for both parties. On the one hand we can give you our experience, and on the other hand, we can learn a lot from the building of a new Polish community.
Main goal of BioForum is to map opportunities and bring together potential partners from Central and Eastern Europe. How do you see the potential of such cooperation in CEE?
As in case of the two national associations, companies can learn a lot from each other. Biotechnology is a global market so it is wholesome for different partners to work together and step together onto this market. Central and Eastern European firms have a lot of potential and in many cases they don’t know about each other. They don’t even know products, services and good solutions of similar companies from the region. BioForum is a great platform to bring these actors together and help them to find each other. In a longer run as our countries will have had a stronger and larger biotech industry, forming such partnering platforms become more and more reasonable.
What is your general opinion on BioForum? Did last edition meet your expectations?
As Executive Director of HBA, I was happy to see so many Hungarian companies being interested in a regional event. I am sure that there is a possibility to develop BioForum further and bring it closer to the needs of regional companies. As a first try, it was a good opportunity for our companies to meet in Budapest last year. All together, it was the 12 th edition of BioForum, so the organizers have large experience with the event. It was a very good idea to move the venue to different countries and make the event more regional focused. With hard work BioForum can be a brand of Central and Eastern European biotech industry and can be a meeting point of regional companies as well as companies from other parts of the world interested in our region.
Do you know if small and medium companies from Hungary benefited from participation in BioForum 2013?
It is always hard to judge the partnering event. Usually we say if there is one business coming from an event like this then, it was worth taking part. I had conversations with Hungarian company leaders who had a lot of meetings in two days. They were satisfied and confident about the opportunities. It is all about business and partnership. If a company finds its count in an event, they will return. BioForum had a good start in Hungary.
Would you recommend this event for similar companies from other CEE countries?
Definitely, I would. The wider scale of companies knows about it, the more it is worth to take part, because it will be more probable to do business. In accordance to the basic goal of BioForum, it would be very good to have companies form as many Central and Eastern European countries as possible. We don’t know well each other’s biotech industry and potential. BioForum would be the place where it could be possible.
What is, in your opinion, the best feature of BioForum?
One of the best features is its regional focus. Many similarly structured international partnering events are organized in Europe and worldwide, but such events that bring together biotech firms from CEE region are rare. As biotech is coming up in the region, I am sure that there is reason for existence of BioForum. With insistence and strong marketing activities BioForum can be a success story.
Hungarian Biotechnology Association will be present on BioForum also this year. This time the event takes place in Poland on 28-th and 29-th of May.
by Tomasz Domagała
2016-04-03 05:20:11 +0200
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