BII News - First BII advisory board member announced

First BII advisory board member announced

First BII advisory board member announced

BioInnovation Institute is proud to announce that Robert Blazej, director at MBC BioLabs in San Francisco, will join the BII Advisory Board. Bringing experience both as a bioentrepreneur and leader in one of the world’s foremost incubator environments, Robert will advise BII during the three year establishment phase.

In addition to his role at MBC Biolabs, Robert is a partner at Mission Bay Capital, an early-stage, life-science focused venture fund. He is a passionate innovator who co-founded and led Allopartis Biotechnologies from start-up to successful company. Allopartis was acquired by Novozymes in 2013, becoming Novozymes’ Digital Biotechnology R&D unit in San Francisco.

“Needless to say, Robert is a great addition to our group of expert advisors. We have already drawn on his experience during the scoping phase and when he visited BII for a few days to meet and discuss challenges with the team,” says director Thomas Nagy and elaborates on the idea of putting together an advisory board for the BioInnovation Institute.

“In our work with the projects in Business Acceleration Academy and Creation House, we put a lot of emphasis on building strong and diverse teams to ‘enable awesome’ as Robert and MBC Biolabs would put it. The same goes for the BII team and community where we bring together different backgrounds and different cultures to help us succeed in building viable life science start-ups,” says Thomas Nagy.

During Robert Blazej’s first visit to BioInnovation Institute in late June 2018, we asked him three questions about life science start-ups.

What can Denmark learn from the US on fostering successes in life science start-ups?
Before I answer that, let me just say, that what you are doing here at the BioInnovation Institute is absolutely amazing. Having seen the BII Playbook and now the team and facilities you are building, I am certain that BII will succeed in developing Denmark into a leading European center for early life-science innovation.  Now to completely evade your question, I actually think you may not be giving Denmark enough credit. Denmark has built some great biotech companies, so if you look per capita, I think you are already doing quite well. So, let me ask what can you teach us in the US about building great biotechs? My guess is that the answer is in part rooted in the Danish culture of sustainability and long-term thinking.

What is your take on the Danish culture in relation to life science entrepreneurship?
Well, I certainly hear a lot of reasons why entrepreneurship does not come naturally within the Danish culture, but I don’t think that is true. I think the entrepreneurial spirit is universal and given the space to grow, it will thrive. The BioInnovation Institute will provide that space and the support to get entrepreneurs started.

Where does an experienced person like you go to learn new things?
I am constantly learning from the start-ups at MBC Biolabs. I learn much more from them than the other way of around. If I were to recommend a book, it would be “Thinking, fast and slow” by Daniel Kahneman. It’s a fascinating read about instinctive vs deliberative thought and provides insights into making sound investment decisions.

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