The biotechnology sector is a priority for Russia. Much effort has been made by a range of stakeholders over the last decade in order to accelerate the sector’s development in Russia. This has led to various initiatives, including governmental programmes, a unique system of developmental institutions and infrastructure projects, which have resulted in the creation of emerging biotech startups, venture capital and industry collaborations. However, there is still a lot to be done. This blog aims to showcase the potential for opportunities and collaboration.
The non-profit Skolkovo Foundation is one of the Russian developmental institutions which oversees the creation of the Skolkovo Innovation Center, composed of companies and startups, developing innovative technologies (currently numbering over 1,400), a Technopark, the Skolkovo Institute of Technology (Skoltech), a new graduate research University established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Skolkovo city, located near Moscow. Charged with providing the catalyst for the diversification of the Russian economy, the Skolkovo Foundation’s overarching goal is to create a sustainable ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation, engendering a startup culture and encouraging venture capitalism. All Skolkovo residents receive independent expertise and advice and gain access to various advantages, such as tax exemption, non-dilutive grant financing usually with 50% co-investment and private investment, industrial partners, technopark services and a range of other benefits. Together these entities are establishing a vibrant ecosystem of technology innovation and entrepreneurship. The cumulative revenue of Skolkovo’s startups through June 2015 reached $1 billion. The companies brought in more than $270 million in investment, creating 17,500 jobs and filing over 1,800 patent applications along the way. Over 80 startups placed their offices and laboratories in Skolkovo Technopark. The Skolkovo Foundation has approved 416 grants for the total amount of $236 million. By 2020 over 2 million square meters of residential and office space will be built in Skolkovo with 35,000 people working daily in the Innovation Center.
One of the five key areas of potential growth identified by Skolkovo Foundation is biological and medical technologies. Today the Biomedical Cluster includes over 290 startups, about half of which develop new therapeutics; one-third create new devices; and the rest work in bioIT and cell tech. The main therapeutic areas include oncology (about one-third of all projects), cardiovascular diseases, infections and immunity, neurology, traumas and many others. These companies generate annually growing revenues and IP applications. Many projects have already reached the clinical stage or even entered the market both in Russia and worldwide. Furthermore, last year Skolkovo opened its doors to agricultural and industrial biotech, which has already brought 15 companies into the community.
The whole idea of the Skolkovo Innovation Center focuses on collaborations and integration into the global biotech community. That is why we are encouraging our startups to explore international opportunities and for them to go out with their business, as well as for us to attract many companies all over the world to bring their R&D activities to Russia and receive support for their own business development. Being the most convenient gateway to enter the Russian biotech sector, we welcome collaborative research initiatives and technology transfer. It is also of great importance to us to provide educational and partnership opportunities for those involved in our ecosystem. We arrange multiple events, the most significant of which is the annual StartUp Village https://startupvillage.ru/ which gathers over 10,000 people from around the world.
International collaboration is one of our priorities, and we appreciate our cooperation with UK companies and associations, as well as having a great opportunity to organise joint events with NICE. This year will be significant as we are hosting our first joint workshop with UK Trade & Investment on the pharma and biotech industry in order to identify major mutually interesting areas and to explore business opportunities both for Russian and UK companies. Participants will share their success stories and demonstrate the areas of strong competences which are of high value in external collaboration. Please find the detailed information at http://sk.ru/events/3173.aspx, registration is open at https://biomed.timepad.ru/event/314847/.
So what advantages can one expect when collaborating with the Russian biotech sector and is it worth seeking business development opportunities or scouting for new drugs and medical devices emerging from Russia?
If you’re interested in finding out, do join us on 24-25 May 2016 for the UKTI workshop in Skolkovo, come to the Startup Village from 2 to 3 on June or do feel free to contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written By Krstina Khodova, MD, PhD, Head of Oncology and Immunology Projects in the Biomed Cluster of the Skolkovo Foundation
The One Nucleus blog is written by individuals and is not necessarily a reflection of the views held by One Nucleus.