Just a couple of minutes walk from each other lie the two biotech companies Bioneer and ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies. The companies have been a part of DTU Science Park since 1997 and 2010, respectively, and are vital cornerstones in the science park’s deep tech community.
Bioneer is owned by DTU and is a strategic R&D partner that delivers customized research solutions to small and large biotech and pharmaceutical companies.
Moreover, Bioneer is one of Denmark’s seven GTS institutes, together with The Danish Technological Institute, the Alexandra Institute, DBI, DFM, DHI, FORCE Technology, and Bioneer. The last four are located in DTU Science Park.
ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies is a biotech company with a pipeline that includes vaccines against cancer and infectious diseases. Additionally, under a license agreement with Bavarian Nordic, which also has a laboratory facility in DTU Science Park, the company announced initiating a phase III clinical trial on a COVID-19 booster vaccine candidate last autumn.
We invited both CEOs to a chat about the possible recession, the challenges in the life science industry, and the benefits of being part of Denmark’s largest biotech cluster.
Is a recession imminent?
A solid Danish economy, a record-high employment rate, and the highest gross domestic product in 27 years, according to Danmarks Statistik. The Danish economy and Danish companies went strong into 2022, but there are clouds on the horizon; the war in Ukraine, high inflation, rising energy prices, and interest rates are taking their toll on the upturn, and we are headed toward a possible recession.
This development also concerns Lars Hagsholm Pedersen and Bent Frandsen.
“We don’t know for sure whether a recession is imminent, but within the life science industry, an economic downturn may emerge. We are, of course, keeping a close eye on this development,” Lars Hagsholm Pedersen, CEO in Bioneer says.
”A possible recession takes up a lot of our time, and we can already see it in the supplier prices, which have increased significantly,” Bent Frandsen, CEO in ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies adds.
The life science industry needs more qualified labor and funding
Despite some clouds on the horizon, Denmark’s employment rate is still record-high, and many companies experience a challenge in finding and recruiting the right qualified candidates. This is also the reality in the life science industry, where there is a shortage of technical and academic employees with specific competencies. This is also something Bioneer has experienced in its quest for employees.
”We have been able to recruit new talents, but we and the industry experience rising demands. In the life science industry, there is a shortage of labour. During a possible recession, we will not on a national level experience a downturn in the labour force as there is a large demand now,” Lars Hagsholm Pedersen says.
He continues with a plea to the Danish politicians:
“In the long term, we need to educate much more people within the life science industry. In the short term, we need to make it easier for a foreign workforce to come to Denmark. Moreover, I hope that the Danish funding system will allocate more blue sky and applied research funds to the life science industry in order to further accelerate the positive developments in the biopharma industry.”
A community makes a difference
For both Bioneer and ExpreS2ion Biotechnologies being part of a deep tech community with other like-minded companies have several benefits.
“The community in DTU Science Park means a lot. It’s an excellent environment that you can offer your employees both in terms of the facilities but also the fact that we have a short physical distance to both potential customers and partners is a huge advantage for us,” Lars Hagsholm Pedersen states.
Also, the close distance to Copenhagen and the many community activities facilitated by DTU Science Park are an advantage when recruiting new employees, Bent Frandsen adds.
“We appreciate that DTU Science Park is close to Copenhagen and that we are neighbours to other biotech and high tech companies. We also enjoy to participate in the annual Sports Festival, Friday bars and the other events that allow us to meet and network with the other companies in the science park. This is also an advantage when we need to recruit new talents.”
”DTU Science Park is just a great community to grow and develop your company,” Bent Frandsen ends.