The biomarine industry, under the umbrella of the BioMarine Business Convention, has set up a new international association called BioMarine International Clusters Association (BICA). It launched the BICA in Halifax, Canada, on September 9, 2013 as part of the 2013 BioMarine Business Convention.
The biomarine industry is wider than just aquaculture and the organisers of BioMarine Business Convention, which is held annually in different locations each year, believe that there is significant synergy between the various marine-related industries such as energy, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, etc to warrant an independent association.
“The biomarine industry is an emerging economic sector based on biotechnology and marine bio-resources,” says Pierre Erwes, the chairman and co-founder of BioMarine Business Convention.
“This new transversal industry sector brings a novel approach to economic growth and a large potential for new business opportunities and jobs.
“The world of marine bio-resources is a complex one with fast and changing boundaries effecting on the one hand the industries involved and on the other hand the various innovation processes. I have often emphasised throughout our BioMarine Conventions how the disparity of our activities offer a world of opportunities and synergies.
“By structuring our marine bioresources industry with a transversal approach, we open new walkways for applied research and development of international collaboration, as well as numerous business opportunities. The biomarine sector is a new source of economic development, one where the value chains and the business models are still under development.
“Simultaneously, the oceans are the only remaining truly unexplored resource, a resource we cannot afford to ignore. Since we started the first BioMarine platform in 2008, I have been preparing this next big step forward to structure our industry.”
Bernard Fautrier, CEO of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and co-founder of the BICA says, “The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation is committed, among others, to ocean sustainability and marine conservation.
“Environmental issues in marine bioresources spheres are of considerable importance: energy, health, food and environment. It appears that industry and finance are two fundamental components of ocean sustainability. If we wish to foster the development of ocean conservation we must increase collaboration between marine stakeholders: research community, industry and investment sectors as well as the civil society.”
As a leader in marine bioresources, Norway is in a position to attest to the tremendous added value of public-private partnerships especially when putting research projects on the market.
Øystein Lie, chairman of MareLife, Norway is also a founding member of BICA says access to finance is always the most difficult part for an SME.
“On the other side the investors need to foster their deal flow and make sure the scouting process is accurate, with minimal risk.
MareLife and BioMarine have joined together to provide a unique scouting platform that guarantees minimal risk investment for VCs and private equity. BICA is a unique global organisation that offers both SMEs and the investor a meeting place to exchange, discuss and finalize deals.”
A third player in BICA is the North Carolina Marine Bio-Technologies Center of Innovation. Deborah Mosca, its CEO and founding member of BICA, says, “MBCOI facilitates collaboration on emerging marine biotechnologies between researchers, industry and funding organisations to commercialise new scientific discoveries.
Centered in Wilmington, North Carolina, MBCOI combines a regional focus with a global perspective. North Carolina is a coastal state with a wealth of natural resources and human capital invested in marine science. Pre-eminent marine scientific communities have been established at several campuses within the University of North Carolina system, such as Chapel Hill, East Carolina, State, and Wilmington as well as private institutions such as Duke University.”
Their efforts are supported by multiple state and federal organisations such as NC Sea Grant, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Environmental Protection Agency and National Institute of Environmental Health Science.
Along with a proximity to the Research Triangle Park, one of the nation’s largest and most prestigious biotechnology clusters, MBCOI is centrally positioned to facilitate partnerships between scientists and industry wherever they are located.
“Our mission in partnering with BICA is to provide a conduit for the global exchange of ideas, perspectives and collaboration on a range of projects and programs. BICA is a valuable resource committed to actively supporting and promoting interdisciplinary biomarine research, development, and entrepreneurial opportunities. MBCOI is proud to be a founding member of this organisation.”
Finally, Ilaria Nardello, Marine Biotechnology Research Coordinator at the National University of Ireland, Galway, and founding member of BICA, explains how the new association can help the Irish marine biocluster.
“The Marine Biotechnology Research Coordination unit (MBRC) at the National University of Ireland Galway fosters collaborative research and development initiatives between research centres, industry and development agencies, at the national and international level.
“With the support of national funding agencies and the EU, and in collaboration with various institutes across the Island of Ireland, the aim for the MBRC is to support the development of Ireland’s marine knowledge economy by connecting the actors that, together, can contribute to societal innovation.
“Our focus is on the area of health and well-being, with applications for the biomedical, cosmeceutical and nutraceutical sectors. We believe that BICA can importantly contribute to create awareness of the business opportunities connected with marine biological knowledge and the importance of biotechnology in achieving a sustainable exploitation of our resources. BICA can further support our mission to develop a functionally interconnected marine biotech community by exposing and exploring aggregation models and practices.
“BICA will provide effective mechanisms for Ireland’s marine biotechnology R&D capabilities to connect to the global sphere of sensible entrepreneurs, investors and markets. It is through these connections that innovation occurs to tackle the societal grand-challenges of sustainable food provision, environment protection and increased well-being,”
BICA will provide associates with international business contacts and networking tools to enhance global communication and foster innovation through its think-tank approach.
|Albert II, Prince of Monaco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|