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Joint ventures between USA and CE from the perspective of European entrepreneur – Paweł Prz

Joint ventures between USA and CE from the perspective of European entrepreneur – Paweł Przewięźlikowski

Publish date: 2014-04-01

Many life science enterprises are looking for cooperation opportunities with partners from other side of Atlantic Ocean. One way of establishing such cooperations is creating joint venture between partners from Europe and USA. Paweł Przewięźlikowski, CEO of Selvita, shares his thoughts about similar initiatives.

Tags: europe , business , joint ventures , biobusiness , selvita , Paweł Przewięźlikowski , USA

This is a first part of this publication, focusing on cooperation between CE and USA from the perspective of European entrepreneur. The second part will describe this experience from the American point of view.

Paweł Przewięźlikowski


Paweł Przewięźlikowski will also give a presentation on this topic during BioForum 2014 – an event gathering life science society from Europe and other regions. More information about this event are presented on its official website:


How Polish enterprise ban benefit from forming joint venture with American associate?

Paweł Przewięźlikowski: Polish biotechnology companies can greatly benefit from joint ventures with US-based partners. We have highly skilled, creative and hard-working researchers in Poland. But frequently it is difficult for us to analyze all complex perspectives of a pharmaceutical research project: unmet medical need, competition, reimbursement perspectives, regulatory issues.  We also do not have sufficient capital to fund expensive clinical trials. A Phase III trial in Alzheimer’s disease can cost even a billion dollars. There are really few global players that can afford such budgets. Our international partners bring complementary discovery skills, regulatory and clinical expertise as well as financial resources that enable our projects to move forward.

In what way can American partners benefit from cooperating with CE partners?

Paweł Przewięźlikowski: American universities have a long-standing tradition of collaborating with the pharmaceutical industry. So practically all interesting out-licensing opportunities are highly competitive and the up-front payments or value shares demanded by Harvard or UCLA are very high. At Polish universities we have plenty of yet undiscovered gems, that need access to managerial skills and capital. We have also a challenger mentality – we are brave, quick and interested in risk. We do  not have much to lose and everything to gain. Such characteristics is highly welcome in the biotech industry.


What, in your opinion, can encourage Americans to invest in Polish biobusiness?

Paweł Przewięźlikowski: Poland has never been treated as a major scientific location in our history. This was both a consequence of a decision made by Polish kings 500 years ago to prioritize farms vs cities and our complicated political history in the last two hundred years.

The only Polish Nobel laureate in sciences Maria Sklodowska-Curie worked abroad. Poles are quite smart, increasingly well-educated and entrepreneurial, but the political systems worked against us – hence the mediocre rankings of our universities. I believe that Poland is capable of being one of the top 10 countries in the world in biomedical research if we adopt American attitudes to internationalization, competition, funding and team work. The universities and research institutes need to be more competitive, they need to attract more foreign students and researchers and their productivity needs to be measured more aggressively. We also need to separate research more from education. The best researchers should not teach first year students but spend time with post-docs. The best teachers should not be measured by scientific output but by preparing students for employment. And employment is less than 10% about future scientific career but mainly about ability to function in non-publication-based enterprises and organizations – about high performance and quality.

If we achieve major changes at universities and market them aggressively we will have plenty of international investors and collaborators.

Another important point is creation of ready to use laboratory infrastructure and land development for such investments. Each major Polish city has one life sciences park that is getting busy, but what’s next when this park is filled? Where are dedicated life science development zones for building construction if someone wants to invest in their own buildings and quickly?


You are going to give a presentation on BioForum 2014 about joint ventures. What will you focus on?

Paweł Przewięźlikowski:In my presentation I will cover Selvita’s experiences form our partnering collaborations with Orion Pharma in Alzheimer’s disease and H3 Biomedicine and Merck Serono in oncology.


Thank you for the conversation.


by Tomasz Domagała


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