Fostering innovation in Europe: A flash back to BIO-Europe

At the end of 2018, the Johnson & Johnson Innovation team were out in full force at BIO-Europe in Copenhagen last November. With a team of 35 Johnson & Johnson colleagues, we were there to meet the best and brightest of Europe’s life science startups, and participate in key sessions.

Before heading to Copenhagen, Sir Harpal Kumar – Head of Johnson & Johnson Innovation EMEA, based at the London Innovation Centre – was interviewed by EBD Partnering Insight . He summed up the importance of innovation in the life science community, and stressed the significance of collaboration between industry, academics, entrepreneurs and government.

That theme continued into the conference, where Sir Harpal took part in the opening plenary, along with leading figures from Europe’s life sciences community, and hosted by Mette Kirstine Agger, Managing Partner at Lundbeckfonden Ventures, and Thomas Dyrberg, Managing Partner at Novo Ventures. The session was called ‘Europe: the great innovation trailblazer,’ and focused on Europe’s often underappreciated role in global life sciences R&D; and startup innovation. A lively discussion kept the audience fully engaged and kicked off the start to another great BIO-Europe.

Sir Harpal Kumar

In other sessions, Tahera Kan, Senior Director, Janssen Business Development, delivered the company presentation for Johnson & Johnson. She discussed the benefits to the startup community for partnering with organisations like Johnson & Johnson Innovation, along with the various partnership models and options. Jeanne Bolger, VP Venture Investments, Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, took part in a panel to a standing room only audience on biotech company creation, where she championed serial entrepreneurs, and discussed how we can encourage them in Europe.

Day 2’s highlight was the fifth edition of the Startup Slam, which gave eight promising startups the chance to pitch their innovative idea. Each startup had just over ten minutes to impress a judging panel including Guenter Huhle, Head, JLABS EMEA, and Anna Gran, New Ventures Lead, Nordics, Johnson & Johnson Innovation. The overall prize went to SunRegen Healthcare for its innovative solution for neurodegenerative eye diseases. REvision Therapeutics won the inaugural Audience Vote with its solution, which focused on repurposed drugs for the treatment of ophthalmic diseases.


You can read more about BIO-Europe’s Startup Slam here .

Events like this are hugely important for startups, investors and anyone involved in life sciences innovation across Europe. It helps foster a spirit of collaboration that can really help unleash the region’s potential. Every region has its challenges in bringing innovative ideas to fruition, and Johnson & Johnson Innovation is committed to helping overcome those challenges by providing a flexible, collaborative approach to innovation, through access to relevant internal and external scientific, technical and business expertise. The flexibility of our transactional contracting model is another way that we can help innovators to realise their ideas. We believe a great idea can come from anywhere, and are we are seeking to collaborate to help turn novel solutions into market realities that will positively impact human health.

So here’s looking forward to BIO-Europe Spring ! Taking place March 25-27 2019 in Vienna, a team from Johnson & Johnson Innovation will be there – and we’re already looking forward to meeting a wide variety of individuals and organisations from across Europe’s innovation community.