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Building a Biotech: Partnering in the Life Sciences

In the 3rd part of our 'Building a Biotech' series, our CEO Vivienne Williams, who is at BIO-Europe from November 4-7, discusses business partnering in the life sciences.

Coming up to BIO-Europe 2018, an amazing opportunity for businesses to meet and get to know each other, had me considering the role that partnering has to play in the life sciences community, and what it means for Cellix and other SMEs.

The collaboration between businesses in life sciences drives innovation which is integral to the biotechnology landscape; it's how companies can work together and advance common goals to develop new technologies for the good of the patient or consumer.

Access to different ideas and expertise can nurture the kind of environment that acts is truly collaborative, dynamic and receptive to new ideas. The fact that 6 of the top 10 best selling pharmaceuticals are products of business partnerships shows this.

The sharing of knowledge and resources is an essential part of the life sciences community, and of the biotechnology industry in which it's entwined. It is not something any business should lose sight of, no matter at what point on the spectrum, from academia to industry they are at.

Cellix's history in partnering

Cellix, as an established university spin-out, has roots in academia; myself and Dmitry Kashanin, our CTO, as well as Igor Shvets, a professor in physics, established the company based on work done in Trinity College Dublin. This project itself was a collaboration between the department of physics and that of medicine.

Suffice to say, that between the interdisciplinary nature of our work before Cellix and coming from an academic background, one point on which we have always been firm is the need for collaborative work. It's something which is core to the development of science in all contexts; having many experts working on one problem with different backgrounds allows a creative solution to be reached, often one which integrates many considered approaches to reveal the best one.

There are, of course, differences between partnering in industry and in academia; a collaboration project in a business would more likely rely on tried and tested project management techniques, have different contracts and have different milestones and drivers. In academia, the end goal is likely a paper whereas of course not all industrial project details are published.

Cellix has a history of successful partnering with other companies, including licensing partnerships as well as partnering on specific projects, some of which you can read more about here.

Our experience so far has given us insight into the mutual benefits that can arise from partnerships, along with handling issues like collaboration, progress reporting, and data protection; each of which can differ with each partnership.