New MedTech Investing Europe Forum rides wave of innovation in healthcare, life sciences and biotech in Covid-19 era

By James Beech

The chairman of the eagerly-awaited 31st MedTech Investing Europe Forum says the healthcare sector is “back at the top” in global venture capital priorities with the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrating the importance of healthcare and life sciences.

Dr Benoit Dubuis (pictured below right), brings almost 20 years of international experience in the field of life sciences, both in industry and in research institutes, to the MedTech forum as its chairman. Campden Wealth presents the forum live in-person at The Hotel Royal Savoy in Lausanne, Switzerland on 21-22 September, 2021, and registrations are now open.

According to the 2021 Swiss Venture Capital Report, funds invested in biotech alone grew by 31.3 % to CHF 820.3 million ($913 million) in Switzerland, compared to 2019, and the number of rounds remained stable. Investment in Swiss startups was “surprisingly robust” in 2020, with the threshold of CHF 2 billion ($2.2 billion) in venture capital exceeded again, the report said.

Dr Benoit Dubui, chairman of the 31st MedTech Investing Europe Forum.

Dubuis said the long-term upward trend in the industry was continuing.

“This is not a direct effect of the Covid-19 pandemic—Swiss startups have only a few projects in the pipeline connected with the coronavirus—but the virus has made clear the importance of health and thus of the life sciences sector. More investment has been made in this area globally, from which Swiss startups have also benefited.”

Dubuis said a surprising number of very young companies are to be found in the largest biotech financing rounds.

“Only two companies made it into the top 20 of the largest financing rounds. The startups were able to attract a large amount of money early on for several reasons: they are backed by serial entrepreneurs, they are already very far in product development thanks to in-licensing, and they have been able to eliminate major risks thanks to funding. This demonstrates the powerful ecosystem of the healthcare sector, which is able to regularly generate new start-ups and accelerate their development.”

Dubuis said the World Intellectual Property Organization has crowned Switzerland the most innovative country in the world for the 10th consecutive year.

Pierre-Jean Wipff is the innovation adviser in life sciences and FoodTech at Innovaud.

“Switzerland not only offers fertile ground for innovation, but also inspires many new creations, as the number of patent applications shows. The Swiss healthcare system also ranks first in the World Index of Healthcare Innovation, just ahead of Germany and the Netherlands.

“ADC Therapeutics, Sophia Genetics, MindMaze, GenKyotex, GenNeuro, Prexton are among the most innovative startups of the Health Valley which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, another argument to attend the MTI in Lausanne, to rediscover our jewels and to understand how Switzerland plans to retain its top position.

“With an annual budget of CHF 3.5 billion ($3.9 billion), the ETH Domain is the powerhouse of the national innovation ecosystem.

“Switzerland as an innovation and business location must ensure that it retains its top position.”

Pierre-Jean Wipff (pictured above left) is the innovation adviser in life sciences and FoodTech at Innovaud, the innovation and investment promotion agency for the canton of Vaud, in Switzerland’s Lake Geneva region.

Michel Le Bars is a partner for mergers and acquisitions in life sciences and healthcare at Deloitte Switzerland.

Wipff said Vaud provides a unique environment that combines top-notch research institutions, world-class multinational companies and renown innovation infrastructures.

“It’s an exceptional ecosystem where interactions between cutting-edge science, business and entrepreneurship are fostered,” he said,

“Vaud is a very diversified technological region allowing disruptive innovation through convergence that fully benefits to the healthcare sector.”

Wipff said the number of innovative healthcare companies has constantly been increasing in Vaud over past decades. The increase was due to the attractivity of the canton for foreign companies and its capacity to generate new companies from its endogenous ground.

Filippe de Potter is the deputy director of inward investment at Flanders Investment and Trade.

The Biopole, the technology park dedicated to life sciences in the canton of Vaud, is a major actor offering high quality infrastructures and nurturing the spirit of collaboration that drives the whole community of its tenants,” Wipff said.

“Lately, the Biopole has proposed dedicated innovation programs adapted to specific innovation domains, such as pharma/biotech and digital health, and levels of maturity of healthcare ventures, like StartLab and SuperLab. Foremost, the technopark has recently launched the Biopole Startup Fund to foster early-stage innovation in life sciences.”

Wipff said the latest Vaud companies that raised significant funds in healthcare include Sophia Genetics (digital health; CHF 100 million/$111.3 million), MedAlliance (medical devices; CHF 50 million/$55.6 million) and Oculis (biopharma; CHF 57 million/$63.4 million).

“These companies develop very promising treatments for patients suffering from cancer, cardiac and ophthalmic diseases,” he said.

Michel Le Bars (pictured above right) is a partner for mergers and acquisitions in life sciences and healthcare at Deloitte Switzerland. Le Bars said MedTech is a dynamic investment sector where M&A has always been a core pillar of growth strategy, allowing companies to fast track innovation, evolve their business models and build critical mass.

“Covid-19 has fostered collaboration across the life sciences industry and accelerated change, the changes that are likely to stay, and what can be reimagined and made better with digital health, analytics and diagnostic innovation high on the strategic agenda,” Le Bars said.

Charity Kufaas is the vice president of strategy and business development EMEA at Medtronic in Switzerland.

“Switzerland holds a leading position in the medical technology sector with its high density of manufacturers and industry-specific suppliers, often a diversification element for the precision manufacturers.

“We are delighted to sponsor MedTech Investing and expect to strengthen our relationships with all the strategic players but also financial institutions, family offices, private equity groups that are reshaping the industry.”

Filippe de Potter (pictured above left), the deputy director of inward investment at Flanders Investment and Trade, said the Brussels-based government agency was “thrilled” to participate in the next MedTech Investing Forum.

De Potter said Flanders is home to a vibrant life sciences industry.

“From young startups to established local firms and multinationals: the entire value chain—from research and discovery to development and commercialisation—is represented in Belgium’s northern region,” he said.

“Thanks to fertile cross-pollination between biotech, MedTech, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, Flanders offers a unique life sciences ecosystem that is underpinned by a robust financing landscape as well as a supportive government.”

Tom Cartwright is a partner at the global law firm Morgan Lewis.

Charity Kufaas (pictured above right) is the vice president of strategy and business development EMEA at Medtronic in Switzerland. Kufaas said the global leader in medical technology, services and solutions was committed to putting its technologies, resources and people to work with new partners to create a new era of healthcare.

“Medtronic constantly explores collaboration opportunities with successful innovators and enterprises across four areas,” Kufaas said.

“Cardiology, medical surgical, neuroscience and diabetes.

“Europe is a strategically relevant and innovative region for Medtronic. We look forward to meeting new collaboration partners; both MedTech SMEs and investors.”

Tom Cartwright (pictured left) is a partner who counsels UK and international private equity sponsors, sovereign wealth funds, and family offices on private equity investments and M&A transactions at the global law firm Morgan Lewis. Cartwright said it has been a “tumultuous year” for the life sciences industry.

“Whilst the pandemic has caused delays in some clinical programs, equally it has seen the development and roll out of vaccines in record-breaking time, accompanied by a significant improvement in public perceptions of the sector,” Cartwright said.

“Huge amounts of financing have flowed into the sector, both in private and public transactions, while alliance and collaboration activity has been robust.”

Cartwright said he believes these trends will continue.

“The life sciences industry is emerging from the pandemic years well-funded and having proved its resilience. As lawyers experienced in this ever-changing field we are delighted to take part in this year’s MedTech forum to review recent developments and examine future trends in this vital sector.”

Visit for more information on speakers, delegates and sponsors, to download the programme and to register for the Campden Wealth 31st MedTech Investing Europe Forum on 21-22 September, 2021.

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