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"Creating partnerships to expand businesses is essential to SMEs. It can take months, or in some cases years, to see contacts turn into contracts but we continue to see the real impact of our activities with companies launching new products, expanding, securing contracts and finding international markets, all through the support of the NanoKTN," explains Dr Alec Reader, Director at the NanoKTN.
The International NanoMicroClub (INMC) project, a joint initiative between the NanoKTN and Institute of Nanotechnology (IoN) has been a huge success since its launch in 2010. Launched to raise the profile of UK companies abroad, and to foster greater links with overseas suppliers, the missions have helped over 20 UK based companies to expand their profile overseas. The project offered support to SMEs who are short on time and money to organise overseas business development opportunities in nanotechnology which is now a truly global business.
The three INMC missions in America, Russia and Japan have seen several companies secure sales contracts and services abroad amounting to over £150k and many other contracts and license agreements are in the pipeline.
October 13th, 2011
International Activities at the NanoKTN
Mission 1: BioPharm America 2010, Boston, USA
The US is the largest market for biopharma, both in terms of the number of potential partners for UK companies but also in terms of market size. In 2008 alone, the US has spent $2.3trillion on healthcare. To ensure the UK took advantage of the business potential in the US, the INMC organised a mission in September 2010, to BioPharm America™ and to visit various companies in Boston.
"At the NanoKTN we support the exploitation and commercialisation of micro and nanotechnologies. The aim of the US mission was to explore potential opportunities in the major Boston/Cambridge biopharma cluster. This major networking opportunity provided a platform for the UK delegation to present their work in the bio nanotech field, helping to assist these UK companies develop partnerships," comments Dr Mike Fisher, Theme Manager at the NanoKTN.
The INMC took six companies on this mission including BHR Group, Point-2- Point Genomics, Conformetrix, Europa Rx Ltd, Nanomerics and The School of Pharmacy, University of London, which provided unique opportunities to develop business in nano-enabled pharmaceuticals (biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and life science industries). The aims of the mission were to explore opportunities in the Boston Massachusetts region and to assist UK bio-nanotech companies to develop partnerships at the BioPharm America partnering meeting and conference.
Some of the participating companies have already signed non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) and there are on-going licensing discussions. One company is exploring private capital funding to expand their business.
Ray Harrison, CEO, Point-2-Point Genomics, comments, "We found the mission to Boston hugely useful and as a result, several opportunities have come our way including a number of corporations and two venture capitalists looking closely at our platform. The event was very well organised and we were particularly impressed by how much the Americans had a raised fear of antibiotics resistance and as a result showed a great interest in our technology."
Anita Peil, Director and owner of EuropaRx adds, "The mission was irreplaceable. The one-on-one meetings, panel discussions, and presentations of novel products provided us with a broad and detailed view of venture companies, venture capitalists, and pharma industry partners in the US today, all essential for positioning my strategic services in the EU."
Mission 2: Rusnanotech 2010, Moscow, Russia
Del Stark, Business Development Manager of the Institute of Nanotechnology states, "Often UK companies will head to the USA or the Orient when prospecting for new customers, however we are happy to see that Russia is becoming a promising landscape for business development and collaborative growth projects in nanotechnology."
The second mission took six companies to the Rusnanotech 2011 conference in Moscow in November 2010 where the Russian government is investing significantly in nanotechnology - particularly in manufacturing.
The UK mission team comprised Integrated Nano-Science & Commodity Exchange Ltd, Nanomobile Ltd, Vantix Ltd, Cambridge Nanomaterials Technology Ltd, Nokia Research Centre at Cambridge and Magmatech Ltd. The mission team was joined by a representative from Nokia Research who gave a keynote paper.
The mission team held a total of 64 meetings, with 32 opportunities being followed-up and discussed further, and with two of the companies in the process of applying for investment fund in the Russian Nanotechnology Corporation (RUSNANO).
Bojan Boskovic, Director of Cambridge Nanomaterials Technology Ltd, a nanotechnology consultancy, comments, "The mission was an excellent platform to make strategic contacts and to better understand the RUSNANO organisation and the funding initiatives, and I anticipate future business opportunities."
Olga Leonardova, Project Coordinator, Vantix Ltd also attended the mission and adds, "I am grateful to the NanoKTN and Institute of Nanotechnology for organising and supporting the UK NanoMission to Russia. I would not have been able to attend the forum without that support. It was very beneficial for us to be part of the mission. I think it would be more difficult to meet people of such calibre if I had attended the conference on my own."
Mission 3: Nano Tech 2011, Tokyo, Japan
Alec Reader, Director of the NanoKTN comments, "The level of interest and acceptance in Asian countries for nanotechnology is very high, with many of the Asia Pacific nations running nanotechnology initiatives which are very advanced and well-funded. They are building integrated innovation hubs which contain all requisites of the supply chains necessary for successful commercialisation and it is crucial that UK SMEs attend international events like nano tech, to ensure the future of UK nanotechnology is securely embedded in the global market."
The third and final mission visited the world's biggest nanotechnology conference in Tokyo, Japan in February 2011. This event attracts over 40,000 attendees and many business exhibitors from around the world in many fields of technology mainly in the materials and electronics fields. Mission delegates included Oxford Advanced Surfaces, BHR Group, Mantis Deposition, Promethean Particles, Mode Diagnostics, Engrid Consulting, Bio Nano Consulting and Izon Science.
The Mission team liaised with Birmingham Chamber of Commerce who ran the official UK stand on behalf of UKTI this year and filled the UK pavilion with companies to ensure that a credible and useful presence was maintained throughout the conference. In addition to the mission delegates, other members on the UK pavilion were Nanofactory and Kelvin Nanotechnology who took an adjacent stand.
In total, the mission team had 59 meetings, some of which have already yielded sales worth over £100K, three opportunities have also been highlighted for further business development from Japan, and one company has also secured a distributor in Japan as a result of attending meetings on the mission. Other companies have secured NDAs, promising business leads and potential collaborative projects. Two of the companies have since made equipment sales and research and development services from the meeting worth over £100k and are planning to go back to Japan to secure further deals, whilst another company secured an important distribution deal for its nanoparticle measuring instruments in Japan.
Dr Sandy Gordon, Business Manager, Promethean Particles added, "We found the mission incredibly useful, yet again allowing us to maintain contact with our existing customers, as well as develop relationships with new potential customers. Whilst these new contacts are still developing we view the event as crucial in contributing to our success in the Japanese market and fully intend to return to Tokyo Nanotech again next year to build on our initial successes."
Brian Borrill, Sales Manager, BHR Group said, "As a direct result of our attendance at the exhibition we are now in negotiation with a large multi-national Japanese company for them to represent us in Japan and we have made contact with a Spanish company with whom we are discussing an FP7 collaboration."
Dr Vincent Benoit, R&D Manager, Mode Diagnostics Ltd, "The seminars, conference streams and networking opportunities were useful in the context of our technology and business development activities and a partnering relationship has been established as a direct result of a meeting at the event."
NanoMed Mission Switzerland
In May 2011, the NanoKTN, in partnership with the HealthTech and Medicines KTN, FOC Science & Innovation Network and the Swiss Embassy London, took a mission of the UK's leading companies and academics applying nanotechnology to healthcare, to visit the centres of research excellence in Geneva/Lausanne, Basel and Zurich in Switzerland.
The four day mission provided an excellent opportunity to explore the nanomedicine strengths in Switzerland, network with Swiss counterparts and gain exposure to the Swiss nanomedicine market. The mission was led by Prof Lord Alec Broers, previous chair of the House of Lords Science & Technology Committee and a well known figure in nanotechnology.
The UK delegation comprised of the UK's largest pharma company GSK, plus Applied Nanodetectors, Aseptika, Izon Science Ltd, Pharmidex, QuantuMDx and Swiss Precision Diagnostics, as well as a number of academics representing the Bristol Heart Institute, London Centre for Nanotechnology, the Centre for NanoHealth at Swansea, and the Universities of Leeds and Sheffield.
During their travels, the UK delegates visited the three major nanomedicine clusters of Geneva/Lausanne, Basel and Zurich, to assess the experise in these centres and the potential for collaboration with the UK. They met with a number of Swiss companies, small and large, and also academic and research institutions.
On the third day of the Mission, the delegation attended the international nanomedicine conference, CLINAM (European Foundation for Clinical Nanomedicine), where they were represented through an exhibition stand and a presentation slot showcasing each company.
Adam Hajjar from Swiss Precision Diagnostics comments, "I'm sure everyone will agree [this] was an extremely successful mission to Switzerland."
Paul Beales from the University of Leeds added, "An excellent and successful networking trip to Switzerland. I greatly appreciate having had the opportunity to take part in this."
Anne Barnett from Izon Science Ltd attending part of the mission and commented, "Even just doing one day was great! I have a lot of leads to follow up on."
A dissemination event on the mission was held at the Glaziers Hall in London in July 2011, which presented the information gathered and collaborative opportunities to a wider UK audience. It aimed to build on the relationships made during the Swiss visit and stimulate new collaborative opportunities within the UK community.
Further information about the NanoKTN's international activities, including the reports from the missions, can be found at www.nanoktn.com.