Neurophase - BioInnovation Institute



About the Bio Studio program

Kristian Strømgaard
Professor at University of Copenhagen

"Kristian Strømgaard obtained an MSc degree in Chemical Research from University College London and continued as a Ph.D. student in medicinal chemistry, part-time at H. Lundbeck. He did a postdoc at Columbia University (New York), and shortly after, he was appointed H. Lundbeck Professor at the age of 36 to establish research in Chemical Biology. He won the ‘Teacher of the Year’ award from the Faculty of Pharmac..."

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Nikolaj Petersen
Principal at BioInnovation Institute

"Nikolaj works as an Entrepreneur in Residence in BII's Bio Studio program. Nikolaj has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Copenhagen and has worked in academic groups studying lipid biology in Molecular Plant Biology and Oncology. Before becoming an Entrepreneur in Residence, he worked nine years with rare lysosomal and neurodegenerative diseases in a Danish startup, Orphazyme. Here, he worked wi..."

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Interview with Nikolaj Petersen:

Why have you decided to join the Neurophase project as an Entrepreneur in Residence?

Neurophase resonates well with my background in working with rare and orphan central nervous system diseases. I have a passion for investigating and driving innovation in this area. I have followed the field of biomolecular condensates since the first studies indicated a link to neuronal diseases. Equally important is the team, and I look forward to working with Professor Strømgaard and benefiting from his previous experiences with company creation and invaluable knowledge about biomolecular condensates. An important aspect is that this project can contribute to the entrepreneurial culture at the University of Copenhagen to strengthen the ecosystem we are building in Denmark generally and at BII precisely.

What is your role as an Entrepreneur in Residence?

The role of the EiR is multifaceted, and that is a big part of why I am attracted to it. In Neurophase, I will manage the scientists hired at BII while facilitating coordination and communication with the Strømgaard group at the University of Copenhagen. I am responsible for driving the project towards company creation, ensuring we generate a coherent and convincing data package that can be used when talking to potential investors.

What attracted you to become a part of BII’s entrepreneurial community?

That is relatively easy to explain: The depth of commitment and ambitions is palpable when you enter BII’s premises. Creating benefits for people and society is at the heart of everything. Perhaps even more important, though, are the people who work here. So many competencies and overall great minds are concentrated in one place, in all the startups and the core BII staff.

What are some of the biggest learnings from your career that you bring to your position as an Entrepreneur in Residence?

My journey towards becoming EiR at BII is perhaps a bit different. I have been employed at BII for just over a year in a different role, where I helped build the infrastructure of the Bio Studio program and served as an anchor for some of the first projects in the program. That gives me a head start in understanding a Bio Studio project’s setup, goals, and ambitions. Outside of that, I have previously had a long stint in a start-up company that went from early research to regulatory submissions in the US and EU, ultimately serving as Senior Director of Non-Clinical Research. Those experiences taught me a lot about the ups and downs of scientific projects and the importance of early data in shaping the journey toward the final product.

What are some of your near-term plans for this new role?

The first step is to establish the team. Everything starts with getting the right people and competencies to be part of the team and ensuring they complement each other across roles and personalities. Secondly, we need to establish the technology here at BII while revisiting the project continuously and making the project plan more detailed as we move forward. Lastly, I need to ensure that employees think it is a fun and inspiring project to be a part of.

 How have previous experiences shaped your approach to the role of Entrepreneur in Residence?

Being in a start-up can be so much fun, especially if you remember to stop and reflect on what has been achieved. This becomes even more important when faced with the inevitable setbacks and surprises of being part of an entrepreneurial journey. Furthermore, the sense of unity that comes with working together to achieve a clear goal shouldn’t be underestimated.

About the Bio Studio program

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