2017-04-23 09:25Press release

“Incredibly important environment for finding exciting projects”

Lund Life Science Summit: An exclusive and informal format, with time to interact to create long-term relationships. These were some of the comments following the industry and investor meeting arranged by SmiLe and LU Innovation.

A panel discussed the challenges faced by all parties involved in life science, including startup companies, in front of 40 specially invited guests at the event held on April 18 in SmiLe Incubator’s premises at Medicon Village in Lund.

The panel included industry representatives from Pfizer and Leo Pharma, private equity firms HealthCap and Hadean Ventures, and business angel John Moll. In addition to actively participating in the panel discussions, the eight selected startup companies also pitched their business plans for the participants, and nine individual partnering meetings were held.

“The concept is new and exciting. The small and open format provided a great opportunity to get to know the participating companies well. I learned about two or three new companies that I hadn’t heard of before, and I’d like to see a similar event again,” says John Moll, a business angel who focuses on small early-phase companies with exciting potential.

Moderator Sylvie Bove, previously CEO of EIT Health, led the discussion between the panel and the startup companies

“SmiLe and Medicon Village provide an incredibly important environment for finding exciting projects and collaborations. My managers at Pfizer value this type of environment as the most important for scouting new projects, and I would gladly return for another event like this one,” says Johan Brun from Pfizer.

Comments from Pfizer and Leo Pharma included:

  • We’re more interested than ever in meeting small startup companies. More than 50 percent of our projects are purchased or licensed.
  • No large pharma company can take a broad approach anymore. Each pharma company focuses on a limited number of indications and it’s important for the entrepreneur to make sure that the project fits in with one of them.
  • Meanwhile, it can be dangerous for the entrepreneurs to try to adapt to the pharma companies’ strategies. They can quickly change.
  • A new field with great significance could be new early diagnostic methods, such as identifying cancer DNA in the blood.

The investors HealthCap, Hadean Ventures, and business angel John Moll expressed:

  • We can connect companies where the projects are a good fit, to achieve something stronger.
  • The entrepreneurs have to recognize what they don’t know in order to get the right support.
  • Patents are extremely important.
  • There are too few investors in the category up to EUR 8 million. More collaboration among investors is needed.
  • We look at projects that have reliable regulatory possibilities.
  • On our side, we love new concepts and we’re willing to take risks if the potential is high.

Magne Stoknes from the private equity firm HealthCap gained new contacts.

“I found a new company that is really relevant for us. But discussions with other investors have been equally exciting, as well as with pharmaceutical companies and representatives from SmiLe,” he said.

“The exclusive and somewhat smaller format works really well to encourage in-depth conversations with startup companies and investors, as well as pharmaceutical companies. We hope that today’s meetings will lead to additional discussions and similar meetings between the participating companies and organizations,” says Ebba Fåhraeus, CEO of SmiLe Incubator.

The following startup companies will be presented during the conference:

  • Edvince AB – The company is developing a completely new type of drug for stroke-patients
  • Eirbo AB – The company is working on a drug that will be able to alleviate or reset the mechanism that is the cause of disease in diabetics.
  • Gedea Biotech AB – The company is developing a unique treatment for vaginal infections
  • ImmuneBiotech AB – The company is developing products for treatment of conditions such as the gastrointestinal disease IBS, based on research about specific lactic acid bacteria
  • In2Cure AB – The company is developing products for prevention and treatment of surgery-related wounds and complications
  • Longboat Explorers AB – The company has a unique method of safely harvesting large quantities of stem cells
  • SAGA Diagnostics AB – The company has methods for analyzing tumor DNA in blood samples (instead of in tissue samples), which in turn can be used to manage personalized cancer treatment
  • Sinntaxis AB – The company is developing a treatment for stroke patients that can provide better results during the rehabilitation phase than is presently the case


About LU Innovation and LU Holding AB, Sweden: LU Innovation is Lund University’s combined unit for innovation, which works with researchers and students to bring benefit and growth to society. LU Innovation has two sections: one that is part of the public authority and the other is a holding company, LU Holding AB. The holding company can support and finance startup companies, but also own, manage and sell shares in companies that have their origin in research at Lund University. www.innovation.lu.se  

For information about SmiLe Incubator, contact: Ebba Fåhraeus, CEO at SmiLe Incubator
+46 (0)734000433, ebba@smileincubator.life ; Or visit our mediaroom

Language: English

About SmiLe Venture Hub – Pioneering Life Science Innovations

SmiLe is a business incubator within life science based in Medicon Village in Lund. SmiLe helps entrepreneurs and startup companies to commercialize new ideas. Our main task is to help the management teams of these companies to navigate the complexities of business development, financing, recruitment and risk management. There are currently 20+ companies in SmiLe, which together with alumni have attracted more than 175 MEUR in venture capital to date since 2014. Approximately 100 people, representing around 20 nationalities, and almost 50 percent of whom are women, work at SmiLe incubator. The opportunity also includes well-equipped laboratories and advanced instrumentation. SmiLe has its major financing from Lunds university, Lund Municipality, Region Skåne och Medicon Village. www.smileincubator.life