Foreword of Hans Schikan

Summertime… and the livin’ is easy…

It is my pleasure to write the foreword of this summer version of the Health-Holland Update. And summer it truly is! “…fish are jumping, and the cotton is high...”

Summertime is a song composed in 1934 by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. Since this song was written over 80 years ago more than 25,000 recordings have been made of it. Health~Holland is evidently much younger, but the lyrics of this famous song apply to our thriving top sector in many aspects: “…and you spread your wings and you’ll take to the sky…”. The progress in the Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (LSH) is remarkable. The sky is no longer the limit thanks to groundbreaking innovations. The collaboration between knowledge institutes, health foundations and industry, mostly small and medium-sized enterprises, is truly coming off the ground, to a large extent thanks to an excellent support by the government. This quadruple helix consisting of science, citizens, entrepreneurs and government has led to numerous new public-private partnerships which will eventually lead to significant societal and economic benefits. At a recent visit to the largest life sciences conference in the world, the BIO convention in Boston, it again was confirmed that our country has all the ingredients to become a global life sciences hub.

The arrival of the European Medicines Agency in the Netherlands in March 2019, thanks to an outstanding ambassadorship of Wouter Bos, will not only lead to a highly qualified regulatory workforce of some 900 EMA employees or an expected 35,000 visitors annually, but also to companies setting up their European headquarters close to the centre of regulatory science and innovation. Kite Pharma, now owned by Gilead, one of the largest biotech companies globally, announced in May that they will set up their European CAR-T manufacturing facility close to Schiphol airport.

The same Wouter Bos who played a key role in attracting EMA to the Netherlands, will become the top executive of Invest-NL. This new government-initiated organisation is expected to become fully operational with effect from 2019 and will inject EUR 2.5 billion into our economy and will also put start-ups and scale-ups in the spotlight. Summertime it is! “…your daddy is rich and your mamma’s good lookin’…”

The Dutch life sciences and health sector is flourishing. But we need to foster and nurture what we have built in close collaboration with multiple stakeholders. We are at the threshold of a new golden age in LSH, but we have to remain focused and continue to approach this top sector as one of our top priorities: “…there ain’t nothin’ can harm you, with daddy and mammy standin’ by…”

I wish you a great summertime!

With kind regards,

Hans Schikan, Chairman a.i. of the Top Sector Life Sciences & Health

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Health~Holland Update July 2018
This summer edition shows that remarkable progress is taking place in the Life Sciences & Health sector. All kinds of collaboration are kicking off or evolving, for example on stroke treatments, chronic illnesses or citizens’ initiatives. New funding opportunities play a key role in this, such as the Translation Research Call, HHINT Kickstarter or NWA call. You can also read about national developments around the EMA, Kite Pharma or collaboration with India. Check out how all of these developments can inspire you during the summer.