André Hofmann, deputy chairman of biosaxony eV, the all-Saxon association for biotechnology, medical technology and healthcare and Dr. Ronny Schulz, project manager for the biotechnology and health economy cluster of the city of Leipzig, says: “We often feel similar – like a kind of 'construction brigade' for innovations.” We
met the two and other Leipzig innovation actors to learn more about their smart medicine activities. "We are also building a new 'power plant' for the future in Leipzig and in the Central German Revier," says Hofmann. Important partners are the SpinLab, which has been recognized as a top accelerator in Europe, and its cooperation partner, the Leipzig Graduate School of Management (HHL), as well as the biosaxony accelerator "MEDICAL FORGE" and the idea incubator Innovation Center Computer Assisted Surgery (ICCAS) of the University Medical Center Leipzig (UML). . In addition, there is a broad coalition of support from business, research, health care, politics and society.
Actively counteract the shortage of skilled workers
One topic that is being actively tackled in the East for current reasons is the shortage of skilled workers. "It's a well-known fact that chattering instead of doing things doesn't help," Hofmann knows. Under the aegis of biosaxony, twelve people from outside the industry are being retrained to become Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) operators for cell and gene therapy. The concept is a first test run, can
but can be scaled to meet the needs of the pharmaceutical industry. There is an urgent need for specialists at the interface between medical informatics and
clinical data management. Here, too, Central Germany is making cooperative progress: regional colleges and universities form "medical data managers" and "clinic integration consultants".
and offer qualification programs for digitization in medicine. The Leipzig branch of Lancaster University advertises with tailor-made international
Bachelor's and master's courses in data science and cyber security. Promoting innovations – through networking and know-how This basic idea of active networking and cooperation also runs through the work of the ICCAS. Application-oriented medical technology research and development is carried out here together with international industrial partners. "Companies that only have limited development capacities or that are planning new R&D projects turn to us," explains Prof. Dr. Thomas Neumuth from ICCAS. ICCAS is currently actively researching the design of smart medicine for the hospital of the future. This includes, for example, the analysis of 6G applications in cooperation with
clinical partners. But their expertise in the area of regulatory, technical and legal framework conditions also promotes innovation, as Prof. Dr. Neumuth emphasizes: “Through the
Medical device certification, companies can use our project results for their own products without any effort.”
Strong region with international appeal
But what about the ongoing issue of financing? "We're going to be pragmatic here," says Eric Weber from the SpinLab. The accelerator recently launched the early-stage fund "Smart Infrastructure Ventures" with a volume of around EUR 14 million. biosaxony is following suit and is driving the development of a life sciences-oriented VC fund of EUR 60 million to EUR 80 million for the region. On the other hand, from mid-2023, the MEDICAL FOUNDRY, a cooperation between biosaxony and Sächsische Beteiligungsgesellschaft, will provide three start-ups with subordinated loans of EUR 300.000 each to facilitate the first entrepreneurial steps. "We see that we are increasingly attracting international investors or global companies such as adesso SE, which has just invested in the health start-up eCovery," says Hofmann. "Internationally active investors are looking for regional leaders."
The hands-on mentality is also reflected in how the bureaucracy has been adapted to the needs of promoting innovation. “Here in Leipzig we press the approval and
Processing times are down," says Dr. Schulz. The Free State of Saxony continuously invests in its administration and employs targeted staff in its licensing authorities. "Besides, there
there are 'carers' on every corner of our large construction site who form an agile team," says Dr. Schulz and Hofman. There is a medium-sized business program for start-ups and SMEs, the Leipziger
Companies can receive funding of up to EUR 70.000, e.g. for approvals and certifications.
Active pilots for legal questions
The official mold runs through all of Europe: Medical device manufacturers are currently confronted with new EU regulations, the Medical Devices Ordinance (MDR). Under the umbrella of biosaxonys, a regulatory service was therefore created in Leipzig, which relieves start-ups and SMEs in particular by having the network take over the regulatory functions, right up to the position of the "Person Responsible for Regulatory Compliance". In a central service unit, the know-how from many supported companies comes together - so companies can be helped quickly and competently.
Building for a smart future
An important component of the power plant is the biosaxony accelerator MEDICAL FORGE. Every year he accompanies eight selected (inter)national companies through the Saxon innovation landscape. Support is provided with regulatory issues, reimbursement in the German healthcare system and the implementation of innovations in healthcare. A cooperative network of healthcare providers, companies such as B. Braun and HP as well as numerous other partners and supporters are on hand to answer any questions. Many of the international MEDICAL FORGE participants want to stay in the region afterwards, which brings with it new challenges. Luckily, the construction brigade is already active here too: in the next three years, around 60.000 m² of laboratory and office space will be built on the BioCity Campus
the market. Leipzig and the Free State of Saxony are investing EUR 62 million in the conversion of the former exhibition hall 12 into a 14.000 m² technology start-up center on the BioCity Campus. Another science campus with approx. 275.000 m² of floor space is being built close to the city center and in the immediate vicinity of BIO CITY LEIPZIG, the university clinic and veterinary medicine. And right next to the SpinLab, Hall 7 of the former cotton mill is being converted into a digital hub for EUR 19 million - 6.000 m², which is intended in particular for e-health start-ups. The
smart medicine can come – to Leipzig and to Saxony.
Smart medicine and the future of health - on and off the stage
The people of Leipzig seem to be emulating the film heroes. But not only the innovation power plant is being built. One of the most famous scenes in "The Trail of Stones" is the march of Brigade Balla. The craftsmen walk with springy steps to the town's market square and celebrate their successes there. The people of Leipzig can do that too: there are regular after-work groups on the BioCity Campus, where students and colleagues from the institutes and companies meet for a relaxed exchange.
On May 10th and 11th, 2023, the "Baubrigade" and the city of Leipzig will also welcome 500 guests from Germany and abroad to the "future health xperience" - a live event where smart medicine is presented to be touched and amazed. With Leipzig smartness and in the spirit of Saxon conviviality.
The article appeared in the current issue "Smarte Medizin 1/23" of the Life Sciences platform Download here as an e-magazine can.
Article from “goingpublic.de – The capital market portal” from March 21.03.2023, XNUMX