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What drives the development of the Estonian life science sector? – the interview with  Andr

What drives the development of the Estonian life science sector? – the interview with Andrus Tasa, the CEO of Tartu Biotechnology Park - part I

Publish date: 2013-03-27

At the end of January, an article concerning Estonian Tartu Biotechnology Park (TBP) was published on our website. Today, in an exclusive interview, Andrus Tasa, the CEO of Tartu Biotechnology Park provides us with the details of this outstanding project, which is a driving force of bioentrepreneurship in Estonia.

Tags: biotechnology , interview , estonia

What were the beginnings of TBP? How was it established? What was the incentive to set-up the Park?

TBP was established on 2001 by Scandinavian Care Holding AB, SA Tartu Science Park, SA Estonian Genetic Centre, Immunotron Ltd., Kaltec Ltd., Asper Biotech Inc., Visgenyx Ltd, Quattromed Ltd and EGeen Inc. Since 2004 TBP is a limited company, owned by 2 Estonian Venturas. TBP is focusing on supporting entrepreneurship and profitable ventures in life sciences & medicine.

Development stages:

2001 - Infrastructure for Estonian Genome Project

2005 – BioMed business incubator and business development services for Estonian life science and medicine sector

2006 – First investment into new company (TBD-Biodiscovery). Until now actively involved in the management process.

2008 – New building (ca 1500m2) with the support of Entreprise Estonia

2009 – Host and partner for Competence Centre on Reproductive Medicine and Biotechnology. Partners: academia, businesses, clinics + governmental support. Added value: in-house R&D, new business ideas for innovative products and services next door.

 

Which activity of TBP facilitates bioentrepreneurship in Estonia the most? Do you encounter any hardships on the way of the promotion of Estonian companies?

TBP`s activity, which facilitates bioenterpreneurship in Estonia the most is BioMed Business Incubator. TBP´s advisory services are focused on innovative and technology based enterprises in the field on biotechnology, medicine and veterinary medicine. The services are supported by the Enterprise Estonia (look 3rd question). TBP haven`t encountered any major hardships on the way of promoting of Estonian companies.

 

What is the current status of TBP? (How many companies use your services? What was your biggest achievement in the previous year?)

Currently, TBP runs BioMed Incubator for biotechnology, medical and veterinary businesses and participates in several international projects. Entrepreneurship Development Centre for Biotechnology and Medicine (EDCBM), a non-profit foundation, was founded in 2009 as a subsidiary of Tartu Biotechnology Park (TBP) to support companies and R&D institutions in establishing partnerships and to offer business development services for the start-ups in the Life Sciences and Medicine sector in close cooperation with TBP.

From September 2005 TBP runs the BioMed Incubator for biotechnology, medical and veterinary businesses. Business incubation is one of the main activity fields of Tartu Biotechnology Park. BioMed Incubator started with 5 enterprises in the incubator. At the moment 16 enterprises are in the incubator (1 veterinary medicine, 7 medicine and 8 biotechnology enterprises). Through offering high quality infrastructure services as well as business development and consultancy services, it aims to create a favourable environment for start-up enterprises boosting their growth and competitiveness. TBP´s advisory services are focused on innovative and technology based enterprises in the field on biotechnology, medicine and veterinary medicine.

 

TBP participates in several international projects like „Microsystems and Smart Miniaturised Systems for Food Quality and Safety Control – FoodMicroSystems“, „Converging resources to support the value creation in Europe of Microsystems and Smart Miniaturized Systems research projects – COWIN“, SUBMARINER and BSHR HealthPort. TBP also cooperates with Competence Centre on Reproductive Medicine and Biology (CCRMB).

 

Do you cooperate with Estonian government? Does it promote the development of life science companies in Estonia?

TBP has very good and intensive collaboration with Estonian Government. The government promotes the development of life science companies in Estonia. TBP makes intensive collaboration with Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Estonian Ministry of the Interior, acquainting Tartu Biotechnology Park and biotechnology sector in Estonia to foreign quest and partners. Also, Enterprise Estonia has supported several TBP projects: Chemical library (2005) and Development of Tartu Biotechnology Park`s Infrastructure (2007) and three periods of BioMed Incubation (2005, 2008, 2009). Latest 4th BioMed Incubation contract was signed on 2011.

TBP collaborates with Estonian universities (for example Tartu University, Tallinn University of Technology, Estonian University of Life Sciences), participating in common R&D projects and in conducting bioenterpreneurship syllabus (for example, Tartu University students are visiting TBP building, incubation and partner enterprises and/or performing their study practise in TBP). Several TBP workers and partners are delivering lectures in Tartu University. Also, TBP organizes different biotechnological and medical trainings, seminars and webinars in its facilities.

 

by Jakub Chrustowicz

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