In December 2017, the Novo Nordisk Foundation decided to establish the BioInnovation Institute (BII) to promote collaborative, interdisciplinary research-based innovation in the life sciences. The implementation activities are now well underway with BII operating as a department within the Novo Nordisk Foundation during the establishment phase from 2018 to 2020.
BII is now announcing the chairman and vice-chairman of the new board of directors during the 3-year establishment phase, representing high-profile life science industry leaders with proven experience in entrepreneurship, research, innovation and seed and venture investments.
The BII chair and vice-chair of the board of directors under establishment, mandated by the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s board of directors, are Sten Scheibye (Chairman) and Bo Ahrén (Vice-chair).
A unique opportunity for ambitious researchers and life science entrepreneurs
Sten Scheibye, chair of the board of directors under establishment of BII, says: “The Institute is a unique opportunity for ambitious and talented researchers and life science entrepreneurs to develop and mature their research projects that can potentially combat disease, improve health or conserve natural resources to benefit people and society around the world. It’s our ambition that this new initiative will promote many more start-ups in the life sciences in Denmark.”
Thomas Nagy, director of the BioInnovation Institute, says: “Along with advancing health and well-being, BII will position Denmark as a leading international research and innovation center within life sciences to promote research of the highest quality and translate discoveries into new treatments and solutions. It’s of great value to have a chairmanship of such a quality and experience in the start-up phase.“
Meet the chairman and the vice-chairman of the board of directors under establishment below.
Sten Scheibye, Chairman, Ph.D., Chemistry and BComm, CBS
Sten Scheibye was a member of the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s board of directors and Chairman of the board from 2013 to 2018. He holds a MSc in Chemistry and Physics from 1978 and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from 1981, both from the University of Aarhus, Denmark. In 1983, he obtained a BComm from Copenhagen Business School. From 1995 to 2008, Sten Scheibye was President and CEO of Coloplast A/S, Denmark. Before joining Coloplast in 1993, he served as Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing in Leo Pharma A/S, Denmark. He joined this company in 1981. Sten Scheibye is Chairman of the Danish Industry Foundation, RMIG, Knud Højgaards Foundation, Højgaard Ejendomme A/S and Healthcare DENMARK.
Bo Ahrén Vice-chair, Professor, Lund University, med.dr.
Bo Ahrén was a member of the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s board of directors from 2005 to 2017. Bo Ahrén is pro-vice-chancellor of external engagement and professor of clinical metabolic research at the Department of Clinical Sciences in Lund. He conducts research on diabetes and has been involved in developing new drugs to treat type 2 diabetes. He has previously been chief of medicine at Region Skåne and head of the research clinic at Skåne University Hospital in Lund.
The 3-year establishment phase of the BioInnovation Institute
The 3-year establishment phase will focus on building the transition phase that takes life science projects through a detailed business acceleration process and the incubation phases that support life science projects and start-ups towards becoming financially stable. This will enable existing research in the life sciences to benefit quickly from the opportunities offered by BII. During this period, BII will be anchored in the Novo Nordisk Foundation.
After the establishment phase is evaluated, the Novo Nordisk Foundation’s Board of Directors will decide whether to establish BII as an independent foundation for years 4–10. When this happens, all activities and results from the first 3 years of operating BII will be available to the new foundation. This enables the first 3 years to be used to build a solid framework to ensure that BII starts well.