HKSTP and BIVF team up to launch strategic co-Incubation programme

Albert Wong, Chief Executive Officer at HKSTP

Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) is partnering research-driven biopharmaceutical firm, Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund Limited (BIVF) in a strategic co-incubation collaboration to nurture startups on R&D for infectious diseases and immunology.

HKSTP is dedicated to collaborating with sector leaders in building the strongest I&T eco-system to help startups via business development, mentorship and investment initiatives.

What does this mean for the Hong Kong biotech industry?

In the last five years, the number of biotech firms at HKSTP have tripled from 50 to over 150, which has synched with the Gov’t’s strategic focus on biomedical tech with allocation of HK$10bn to develop life and health tech as a key future growth sector for Hong Kong.

This partnership between HKSTP and BIVF marks a key milestone to drive the Hong Kong’s biomedical technology development. Both local and global qualified startups in infectious diseases and immunology can apply to the incubation programme to access the full capabilities of the HKSTP ecosystem and BIVF’s extensive biotech funding network.

Incubatees can access coaching and assessment to track key research milestones, while receiving guidance from HKSTP on manufacturing, scaling-up and marketing strategy to ensure successful innovation, plus vital funding opportunities and investment insight from BI.

Albert Wong, CEO of HKSTP, said: “Hong Kong is now Asia’s largest and the world’s second largest fundraising hub for biotech. As HKSTP marks our 20th year of propelling success and innovation, our mission is to drive the growth of biotech to another level with world class leaders like BIVF. We will maximise the GBA growth opportunities for high-potential tech talents and early-stage startups to ensure the region emerges as a global I&T powerhouse.”

Dr. Grace Lau, Head of Institute for Translational Research of HKSTP, said: “Our partnership with BIVF, provides early-stage startups and promising university spinoffs with vital support at the most critical stage of their long and challenging biotech innovation journey.”

“Incubatees will have access to our Incu-Bio Programme, with total incubatees doubling up in the last five years. The startups can also access funding support of up to HK$6 million, with financial subsidies and upfront grants to cover regulatory activities such as clinical trials.”

What does the partnership mean to BIVF?

“The world has faced growing public health challenges in recent years. BIVF focuses on the development of new science in areas with huge unmet medical needs such infectious diseases and immunology,” said Dr. Frank Kalkbrenner, Global Head of the BIVF.

“The co-incubation program initiated by HKSTP and BIVF will enable us to identify more breakthrough tech in the early stage of development,” Dr. Frank Kalkbrenner further said.

“With the funding and infrastructure support offered by HKSTP and BI‘s expertise in the successful development of breakthrough mediactions for patients, we foster the startup companies and bridge the gap between science and industry for the local ecosystem.”

“We look forward to developing together with HKSTP next-generation therapies in the fields of infectious diseases and immunology with long term partnerships,” Dr. Frank concluded.

“The innovation competency of biopharmaceuticals in Asia is rising. To grab the opportunities in this market, Boehringer Ingelheim has set up the External Innovation Hub in China which brings our Research Beyond Borders, Business Development & Licensing and Venture Fund groups under one umbrella,” said Felix Gutsche, President & CEO, Boehringer Ingelheim China.

“Now we’re thrilled to see that the biopharmaceutical industry is picking up rapidly in the Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macau Greater Bay Area, it’s a great opportunity for us to partner with HKSTP to develop the local ecosystem, and further enhance China’s dual-circulation scheme. We hope to offer our continuous support to more home-grown innovations to be recognized on the global market and eventually benefit the patients worldwide,” Felix said.

Programme incubatees will also benefit from HKSTP’s rapidly-growing biotech R&D capabilities including the HKSTP Institute for Translational Research (ITR), enabling biomedical startups to turn their innovative biomedical technologies to life-changing impact for patients and society.

Also available to startups is HKSTP’s Incu-Bio program offering biotech mentorship, business matching, entrepreneur-in-residence, and R&D facilities and the Science Parks’ talent pool.