Our spotlight series is turning to EBE’s Innovation and Funding Models Working Group, which is meeting at EBE headquarters today.
The Innovation and Funding Models Working Group aims to ensure the best entrepreneurial conditions for the biopharmaceutical industry in Europe. Its initiatives are, for example, designed to engage stakeholders around the funding of biopharmaceutical innovation in Europe. This is so important given that small biopharmaceutical companies have such high financial needs when developing innovative medicines, an undertaking often lasting 10 years or more, and very costly when clinical trials are run.
Therefore, one of the group’s most important functions is to represent biotech SMEs in the European Union’s public research and innovation funding schemes – notably Horizon 2020 and the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) – and to provide research partnering opportunities for EBE members. The working group provides guidance for EBE members on the current funding opportunities for EBE members, the open calls for grants, and the submission deadlines. With the Horizon funding coming to an end and a new program being drafted, this is a key focus for the working group. As part of that effort, EBE and five other European health industry associations called on the Competitiveness Council to adopt the Horizon Europe framework and support the creation of a public-private partnership focused on healthcare innovation.
The group has also been highly involved in the ongoing activities around the European Commission’s crucial SME designation, which provides the biopharmaceutical industry with access to funding and support by the European Medicines Agency on regulatory topics that allow it to start up or scale up. In comments to the Commission, the working group explained that while the current SME definition is welcome, it still disincentivises many entrepreneurs from growing their businesses in Europe, especially compared to the United States where the SME definition is broader and more flexible; it provided three recommendations to improve this.
A brief document on Exit strategies – the way in which people willing to take the risk of investing in innovative companies can see a return on their investment – is being developed, that aims to explain the options, and why it is good to have options.
The Group also supports initiatives around Open innovation, and what that means for SMEs engaging in Open innovation collaboration. Open innovation can boost discovery and innovation, however any attached strings need to be clearly understood by all parties.
The Innovation and Funding Models working group is one of five EBE working groups, including Personalised Medicine, Advanced Therapies, Biotherapeutics and Biomanufacturing – stay tuned for our final instalment in the coming weeks!