Strategro International, LLC, a North American market entry and business growth firm, recently presented key findings and conclusions of their Assessment of the Icelandic Biotech System to Icelandic industry and government officials. The assessment, described as a constructive critique of the systems, resources, and infrastructure necessary to generate and support biotech start-ups in Iceland, was funded by the Minister of Fisheries’ AVS Fund, and intended to identify weaknesses and strengths in the current system. The report suggests ways to kick-start innovation and entrepreneurship in the biotech sector so that Iceland is better positioned for the future. According to the assessment, Iceland could be considered an emerging biotech cluster today, but is now facing a crossroad for accelerating development of its biotech industry.
“What is needed now,” according to Steve Dillingham, Principal of Strategro International, “is for the Icelandic biotech industry, government and academia to get together to clearly define a shared vision and goals for the industry, and develop a road map for accomplishing these goals. The challenges Iceland now faces to accelerate development of its biotech sector are not altogether unique,” continued Dillingham, “and will require long-term support from government and strong commitment from industry and other stakeholders."
The Assessment of the Icelandic Biotech System, co-authored by Dillingham and Strategro Partner Rune G. Nilssen, was conducted with support from Icelandic consulting firm Intellecta and the Icelandic Federation of Industries, points out that Iceland already has a lot of momentum within biotechnology.
Iceland is home to world renowned deCODE genetics, NIH-supported Icelandic Heart Association, and a healthy group of biotech companies more modest in scale but equally promising, such as ORF Genetics, who this year will be commercializing recombinant proteins expressed from the seeds of barley. In addition, Iceland-based companies enjoy a booming economy, an attractive “freedom to operate” environment with respect to patents, and the country is blessed with plentiful natural resources including geothermal energy and marine raw materials, providing an energy-efficient location for companies and the basis for several marine biotech-related firms.
“The industry supports the main conclusions of the assessment,” confirmed Jakob K. Kristjánsson, Partner in Arkea Investments and past Director of the Icelandic Biotech Association, “and it hopes to use this initiative as a ‘rally cry’ to get the attention and support of the government and related funding groups to help further jumpstart the industry quickly. The effort needed will require the collaboration of many different stakeholders,” continued Kristjánsson, and will affect policy, infrastructure, innovation in the universities and tech transfer, to name a few key issues. This is not just about the industry needing more money, although obviously adequate funding and risk capital for Icelandic start-ups is crucial,” Kristjánsson concluded.
“The key to success”, remarked Rune G. Nilssen, Partner, Strategro, “is the proper balance of focus, funding, and follow-through – a phrase Strategro created to represent key elements required to stimulate sector innovation.
About Strategro International, LLC
Strategro International (strategro.com) is a market entry and business growth firm, consisting of Strategro Consulting and Strategro Ventures. The group works with companies and organizations primarily within the functional foods, nutraceuticals, marine biotechnology and life science sectors. Strategro Consulting is the group’s consultancy business, which assists companies to enter and expand in the North American market, improves innovation processes and access-to-market for start-ups and sector groups, and provides business development, strategic advice, market intelligence and hands-on assistance. Strategro Ventures is the group’s venture arm, taking an active role with qualified companies within Strategro’s core sectors to help them commercialize, grow or expand promising technologies or products through direct investment, equity compensation or other shared risk compensation schemes.
Strategro International has offices in the U.S. and Canada.