Biotech made in Vienna:
»From Landsteiner to global products for infectious disease control«

6th Semmering Vaccine Symposium, October 11-13, 2018 – Fleming’s Conference Hotel, Vienna

The Semmering Symposia organized by the non-profit organization, Vienna Vaccines (www.viennavaccines.com) between 2003 and 2011 in the vicinity of Vienna, have been internationally recognized, as a good praxis exchange platform for biotech innovations facilitating novel products and services.

The hallmark of the events has been to drive innovation by virtue of interlinking – in an interdisciplinary fashion – top quality science, competence in product and business development, regulatory skills, intelligent investment, health care foundations and entrepreneurial spirit.

The past five symposia addressed the need for novel vaccines to control infectious diseases, but included neighbouring fields, like immune therapy and therapeutic antibodies, societal acceptance of new treatments and their global uptake in less developed countries.

The goal of the upcoming symposium is to shed light on ecosystems that foster innovation in the health care and biotech arena, with a specific focus on infectious diseases. Using the Vienna biotech cluster as paradigm, the event will present companies, biotech players and products in various developmental stages. Many of these emerged from the Campus Vienna Biocenter, originally founded in 1987 by a joined venture of Boehringer Ingelheim and the University of Vienna, with the aim of creating a centre of excellence in biomedical research.

Since 1998, the Campus has given birth to a plethora of start-up companies. Intercell was the first to be launched. In 2013 it merged with the French enterprise, Vivalis to give rise to Valneva. Valneva, a trans-European globally operating vaccine player with two traveller vaccines on the market, employs today a work force of more than 400 worldwide. As a role model Intercell inspired former co-workers, but also academic colleagues in and outside of Vienna to become entrepreneurs and to start their own businesses. To this end, the smooth collaboration between institutions of the City of Vienna, ministries of the Republic of Austria, local universities, companies and investors has stimulated the implementation of a strong public start-up seed program. This includes setting up a university incubator, INITs, in 2002 that ever since has been breeding spin-offs and commercialized hundreds of fresh ideas. INITs belongs to the 6 best global players in its class. Thus, 30 years after the foundation of the Campus and 20 years after its first spin-off, Valneva (Intercell), Vienna and Austria have become an attractive and respected venue for biotech enterprises.

At the upcoming symposium, companies, start-ups and innovative health care projects will be presented. They are interspersed by speakers underpinning the scientific fundament or by biotech protagonists who have been pioneering biomedical innovations. In this context, the trans-European EIT Health consortium will be introduced, as well. It is one of the largest healthcare networks worldwide, which is leveraging the expertise of nearly 140 leading partners from key areas, such as pharma, medtech, payers, investors, ICT, diagnostics and consumer products, as well as, some of the most renowned academic players, healthcare providers and public administrators.

In addition, panel discussions will highlight innovation strategies leading to the formation of successful ecosystems, breeding novel products and services at regional, trans-European and global level. We will invite relevant political decision makers from the EC and the European member states, particularly in light of the fact that Austria is running the EC presidency for the second half of 2018.

About Vienna Vaccines

Vienna Vaccines is an independent non-profit organization devoted to building networks in the vaccine and biotech sector. Through the past five Semmering Symposia, the organization has succeeded in establishing an interactive forum for leaders within the vaccine and biotech arena.