"Vienna is one of the top five life science locations in Europe. With the opening of Startup Labs Vienna, we can sustainably assert ourselves in the top European research community," says Vienna's City Councillor for Economics Peter Hanke, who is delighted with the move, adding: "By providing this state-of-the-art infrastructure, the start-up teams can immediately concentrate on their core tasks and thus get off to a faster start.
The Vienna Bio Center provides a total of 60 laboratory places combined with 30 office workstations for scientists. The core of this is the so-called "share principle". By sharing the laboratory equipment provided, such as sterile workbenches, nitrogen tanks, bacterial shakers or a laundry room for sterilising laboratory materials, start-ups can avoid cost-intensive investments. This saves time and money, allowing researchers to invest all resources straight into the development of their products.
Boehringer Ingelheim also shows extraordinary commitment with its Innovation Prize. "Cooperation with start-ups from the life science community is an important element of Boehringer Ingelheim's research strategy. We hope to receive interesting food for thought and points of contact with our scientists at various levels," says Dr Guido Boehmelt, Head of Research Beyond Borders at Boehringer Ingelheim RCV. Boehringer Ingelheim is the main sponsor of the Startup Labs and uses the BI Innovation Prize to finance laboratory and office workplaces for selected startups for one year.
The first winner of the BI Innovation Prizes is Proxygen. The company has developed a novel molecular principle that enables the efficient removal of proteins that were previously considered untreatable. This is achieved by a special type of small molecules that can reprogram the natural degradation machinery of cells to selectively degrade those proteins that are the main cause of diseases such as cancer, for example. Proxygen is thus breaking new ground in this field of science.
"The Vienna BioCenter is a unique blend of top biomedical research, educational opportunities and innovative entrepreneurial spirit," says Harald Isemann, Managing Director of the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) and Chairman of the Vienna BioCenter. "In the last 10 years, we have already seen dynamic growth from a handful to currently 35 biotech companies. With the Startup Labs, we are now in an excellent position to accelerate this positive development even further".
Excellence in Vienna as a science location
Vienna has an excellent scientific tradition in biomedical research and has been growing steadily for years. 554 companies and research institutions employ over 37,500 people in the life sciences in Vienna. In 2017, the companies generated a turnover of around 12.2 billion euros.