The EBD Group's Conference Plans for 2009




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Video title: The EBD Group's Conference Plans for 2009
Released on: January 27, 2009. © PharmaVentures Ltd
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At BioEurope 2008 in Mannheim, Carola Schropp, CEO of the EBD Group, took the time to talk to Fintan Walton about recent changes in the industry and the important role that partnering still plays. As the biopharma community looks to the future and starts to assess the damage caused by recent economic events, Ms. Schropp feels confident that partnering conferences will continue to be essential in enabling deal making. She outlines the meetings that are planned for next year, including the new EuroMedtech conference, which will take place in June 2009.
Bio Europe conferences:Focused on partnering and networking
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaVentures business review. In this special interview at Bio Europe here in Mannheim, Germany with the President of the EBD Group Carola Schropp Welcome to the show.
Carola Schropp:
Thanks for having me.
Fintan Walton:
Carola You are as I said you are the president of the EBD Group, you founded this organization and it's is made a considerable name in running conferences every year back over the last 10-years focused on partnering, so how does that all come about and what's changed in the time since it all started?
Carola Schropp:
It started in 94, 95 with you know at the time you had a substantial number of biotech companies in the United States and they had a need to collaborate with the European Pharmaceutical industry. So it started with the trade mission that we then made into a conference by Europe for the first time to place under our organization in 2000-1996.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so the key thing here was clearly was to try and get US companies talking to European companies and that the whole thing what was unique I think was this partnering component?
Carola Schropp:
Right, we came up with the idea of partnering to make it more efficient you know if you have a content driven conference and people, people do meet I mean new networks it's called Network. The difference between networking and partnering is that partnering is prescheduled. You sit down and you know from 2:00 to 2:30 in booth 315.
Fintan Walton:
Right.
Carola Schropp:
But in networking is you go around and you happen to run into people or you have to be introduced by somebody else. We also do networking at our conferences.
Fintan Walton:
So the key thing here was that individuals could pre select meetings with other companies?
Carola Schropp:
Exactly.
Fintan Walton:
And know that they could have a meeting and they know that they had a special time with in a private space effectively. So when you started this did you ever think that may be 10, 12 years later that you would have peoples scheduling 10,000 meeting?
Carola Schropp:
Oh no, I don't remember how many meetings were scheduled the first time around, I would be you know surprised if it was a 100. I remembered clearly that there were a 176 people present and it took place in a hotel in nearby Heidelberg (indiscernable)
The changes in practice of partnering in pharmaceutical industry over the years.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so the key thing obviously as well is that our industry has been changing and when you started in back in 1996 started these BIO-Europe conferences partnering was starting out, but if anything and we all realize that the number of deals have increased and level of value of deals have increased. So it's become much more it's still an important component to how the Pharmaceutical industry is developing. So as an observer as somebody who is participated and observing the changes in the industry what's what's your view now of where our industry is with respect to partnering?
Carola Schropp:
Partnering is increasing, it's not going down even at our conferences meetings per persons is going up much more, then the number of attendees are going up. And the need for partnering is going up as well you know the Pharmaceutical industry they will still need to fill the pipelines. And the biotech companies need money and the traditional sources of financing the Venture capitalists for instance that money is drying up. So it's going actually it's going full circle. In the old days R&D was financed by their Pharmaceutical industry their own internal R&D.
Fintan Walton:
Sure.
Carola Schropp:
And then they started to really outsource in financing to the public at large or to investors.
Fintan Walton:
Effectively.
Carola Schropp:
Yeah and now it's come full circle because the R&D, the Pharmaceutical Industry realizes that they have to shoulder more of the burden of financing the companies.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so what we are seeing then is Pharma companies changing not only the practice of partnering but actually the way they are organized, their internal organizations are changing?
Carola Schropp:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
And so have you seen that translate into these events here that we have here at the BIO-Europe?
Carola Schropp:
And in it only in that there are more people from the Pharmaceutical companies attending we have many several the large like 4 or 5 that have more than 20 people present here to scout out from new opportunities also they really need to open up their traditional ways of thinking. They even people who've had their budgets for ever-and-ever you know that's they need to figure out that outsourcing is or in-licensing is the way to go for the future and you have-to-have both.
Changing financing model in the pharmaceutical industry
Fintan Walton:
Right, the other thing that I I notice is well with these conferences we are seeing not just pharma companies here but also the investors themselves who are trying to work alongside as you said earlier in collaboration with with Pharmaceutical companies so the financing models that are appearing now are changing?
Carola Schropp:
They definitely are, you know there are funds for instance that are not in the United States, they are not honoring their previous commitments anymore because they just think they don't have any more money. The whole industry right now is a little scared of what's happening it'll take a few months in my opinion before people sort out how they're gonna be going forward. The financial industry in general has to be sorted out and once people know what's what and how big the damage is, that's I think when we see a turnaround because the whole game doesn't change. We will -- still need new medicines and the development cycle is still 12-years and it still takes a billion dollars to do it. So the Pharmaceutical Industry has to think forward. And the good thing for them is that they have a lot of money.
New initiatives by EBD Group in partnering processes.
Fintan Walton:
The other thing of course this year at BIO-Europe we are here in Mannheim near Heidelberg with this conference you've actually have had still an increase despite the current economic climate here in November 2008. Just look you've an increase in the number of attendees which is remarkable.
Carola Schropp:
Yes 45% and yeah we are proud of it.
Fintan Walton:
Which underscores the whole thing we are taking about which is this real key need?
Carola Schropp:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
That's still that's still there. The other thing Carola what you've done with your own organization is your expanding the types of conferences you know clearly you don't just only do one here in autumn in Europe you do another one in spring and so forth. Do you want to tell us a little bit about these new initiatives that your organization is taking in along the partnering process?
Carola Schropp:
Yes, I mean we are doing this because the industry needs to get together more often. There is e-mail and you know telephone conversations but nothing replaces the people getting together we are still and you know we are human beings that's how we work.
Fintan Walton:
Sure.
Carola Schropp:
We would like to get together in the evening for networking and that's why you know we we have started BioSpring two-years ago also to help the local industries in Spain and in Italy for them it's made a tremendous difference to have the meeting there. When you have such a meeting and you make it you include the local community what it does, it helps them get together and come up with new ideas beyond the meeting, as you make them network amongst themselves which is a an important component for them and that's why the impact for this community is so great.
Fintan Walton:
Raises their profile as well.
Carola Schropp:
Yes.
Significant need for Partnering meetings
Fintan Walton:
So this year in 2008 you had it in Madrid and 2009 where it's going to be held?
Carola Schropp:
We are going back to Milan. Our original plan was not to go back to Milan that quickly but they actually wanted us really badly and so we made it happen.
Fintan Walton:
Right.
Carola Schropp:
We will go where there is a demand for our products, our conferences.
Fintan Walton:
Sure, and you also this year in 2008 you did conference in Atlanta?
Carola Schropp:
Yes.
Fintan Walton:
How did that go?
Carola Schropp:
It went very well, I mean the you know in United States as you know very well is the biggest Biotech hub if you will. And we've had requests from the Biotech Business Development Community to do a meeting in the United States. And next year we were gonna go to San Francisco which of course is the birth place of Biotech.
Fintan Walton:
Right, and the other thing the other initiatives you've taken is to move into the devices, medical devices areas. So you're running a conference along the lines in Dusseldorf.
Carola Schropp:
Yeah.
Fintan Walton:
And when is that taking place?
Carola Schropp:
It's going to be in June of next year.
Fintan Walton:
Okay.
Carola Schropp:
June 3rd and 4th.
Fintan Walton:
Of 2009.
Carola Schropp:
Yeah.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so clearly it underscores yet again the points we were making here which is the people amazingly still can't have enough in partnering and the intensity of partnering that's goes on and repeated meetings, thus as you as you pointed out already people need not just one meeting but they need several meetings with the companies and this is a very convenient way of achieving that?
Carola Schropp:
Right, I mean you know it's in a way it's much cheaper and much more time efficient to meet people here and you know if people have started collaborating or they they've started negotiating then they still meet here they may you know rent a hotel room some place and go offsite but they still it's much easier to combine this with other meetings.
Fintan Walton:
Sure.
Carola Schropp:
So it makes it makes sense and the medical device industry although it's a different kind of industry, it works different dynamic they still need partnering and that's why we have, so it's the communities that's asking ask to do meeting in that.
PartneringONE-Software Technology: Its advantages and how other organizations can access PartneringONE.
Fintan Walton:
Underscoring the activities as you have is this software technology called PartneringONE. Can you tell us a little bit about PartneringONE and how other organizations can access PartneringONE?
Carola Schropp:
The PartneringONE we've developed it over the years. We developed the process first before we developed the software which is important, you know when we did our first meeting we had a blackboard and that it was difficult enough to schedule times you know but then the third component which was the rooms we had available I mean it was it was really very difficult. So very early on we knew we need to schedule on and then the systems of course became more-and-more advanced. And few-years ago we were asked that was actually ERBI can we have your system? And first we thought well do we want to compete? This is our advantage. Do we wanna give that to other same advantage to other conferences and then we thought you know this is we really need to help this industry and it's better you know rise in tide raises all ships and so we started doing that and then figured out that we really can help other meetings and so now we've decided to offer it as a service.
Fintan Walton:
Right, so other conferences, other organizations putting together similar sort of meetings can use the PartneringONE?
Carola Schropp:
Yeah I mean let's face it, most of them are much smaller meetings.
Fintan Walton:
Yeah, specialized.
Carola Schropp:
They are regional meetings or they're in adjacent industries, so I think you know it works very nicely for us. plus of course we, it get's our name out and probably we'll also draw more people to our conferences.
Fintan Walton:
Right. Carola Schropp, I enjoyed talking to you immensely. Thank you very much indeed.
Carola Schropp:
Thank you.
Carola Schropp
Chief Executive Officer
Ms Schroppfounded the EBD Group in January of 1993. In the past 10 years, Ms.Schropp has built EBD into one of the leading business development organizations using conferences as a venue to facilitate partnerships. For more than 20 years,Carola Schropp has been a strategic planning and business development consultant to technology firms. In 1995, she started the BIO-Europe Conference together with BIO to provide a forum for the Biotechnology and the Pharma industry to get together. Before EBD, Carola worked for other consulting companies including as Managing Director of ExperConsult, Inc., and Marketing Director at European Marketing and Sales,(EMS) LTD a consulting company headquartered in London. From 1985 to 1989 she held consultant and senior consultant positions at International Data Corporation in Framingham, MA. Ms Schropp has written a number of articles published in industry publications, such as Nature Biotechnology,BioEntrepreneur, Genetic Engineering News, BioPharm, GIT and BioCommerce Data Ltd.
EBD Group
EBD Group.The leading firm for partnering in the life sciences,EBD Group organizes landmark conferences for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Building on this expertise, and with an unrivaled access to major players in these markets,EBD provides partnering services to other event organizers, and hands-on business development consultancy to support strategic partnering worldwide. EBD operates from offices in North America and Europe. Since the firms inception in 1993, EBD people have been partnering experts, driving together biotech innovation with the muscle of big pharma, where partnerships, as much as products, are generating spectacular growth.