'Collaboration is crucial'
  • Life Sciences & Health
  • Innovate

'Collaboration is crucial'

Successful first edition of LIFE Science Conference with Ben Feringa in packed Forum Groningen.

'Regional, national and international cooperation is crucial for bridging the gap between science and industry and the realization of sustainable drug development,' said keynote speaker Prof. Dr. Ben Feringa, Nobel Prize winner in Chemistry, at the first LIFE Science Conference on Tuesday, Sept. 27. This new event, organized by the LIFE Cooperative, took place in a packed hall in Forum Groningen. The focus was on collaborations within and from the LIFE Cooperative, from diagnostics and drug discovery to the clinic and medical technology. During the conference, the LIFE Science Innovation Award was also presented to winner Detact Diagnostics.


The LIFE Science Innovation Award rewards the innovation with the most impact in life science and health, originating in the Northern Netherlands. The prize is a check worth €5,000. From twenty entries, four finalists were selected: Detact Diagnostics, TRACER, ICON and Sulfateq. These four companies pitched their innovation during the exciting final of the Award during the conference. The jury, composed of representatives of the Municipality of Groningen, the NOM and Pharma Connect Capital unanimously chose Detact Diagnostics.

On behalf of NOM, Investment Manager Ytsen van der Meer participated in the jury. Ytsen van der Meer: 'NOM is a proud sponsor of this first LIFE Science Innovation Award. The pitch competition had incredibly innovative participants. As jury we looked at the impact of the innovation, the fit in the Northern Dutch ecosystem but also at the presentation of the pitch itself. In the end, Detact Diagnostics with its Viper technology went home with the trophy and €5,000!'

Detact Diagnostics is developing the VIPER® technology (Visualization by Infrared PEptide Reaction), which allows quick and easy detection of bacteria and viral infections. This technology is used for several applications including the RenoTact and SynoTact tests. Dialysis is a treatment for kidney failure. Through hemodialysis in the hospital or peritoneal dialysis at home, waste products are filtered from the blood. RenoTact with VIPER® technology allows patients to test their dialysis fluid easily and quickly at home. In this way, peritonitis can be detected at an early stage.

'Collaboration is crucial'

Photo: Geert Job Sevink

'Looking for a larger venue'

That the conference meets a need was evident from the many registrations, so much so that a registration freeze was required. The first LIFE Science Conference brought together 180 regional and national players in the life sciences and health sector and regional authorities. The program included panel discussions, keynote speaker Prof. Dr. Ben Feringa, several pitches from companies in the life science and health sector, the award ceremony of the first Innovation Award and plenty of room for networking. The result was a very lively and successful event for visitors and organizer, the LIFE Cooperative. Ton Vries, chairman of the LIFE Cooperative: "Our ambition was to organize a valuable event for our sector in the Northern Netherlands, which, by the way, is growing faster each year than the national average. We also wanted to highlight the success of the cooperative and stimulate new collaborations. Given the overwhelming interest and the inspiring day, we can say that our plan succeeded and I am proud of that. For the next edition we will just look for a bigger venue."


Both content and attendance and impact of the first LIFE Science Conference and Innovation Award make one taste for more. Initial plans for a second edition are therefore in the works. In addition, the LIFE Cooperative is currently working on a Human Capital Agenda. The purpose of this agenda is to identify the specific problems regarding talent in the life sciences sector in the Northern Netherlands and then to develop meaningful interventions. The presentation of this agenda is expected in the fall of 2022.

About the LIFE Cooperative

The LIFE Cooperative is the northern partnership in the field of life sciences and medical technology. The cooperative, founded in 2015, aims to strengthen innovation power by working together effectively and efficiently. The impact of the LIFE Cooperative on the Life Sciences & Health sector in the Northern Netherlands is significant. More than 45 companies - from startups, SMEs to international players -, 4,250 FTE and 450 million in turnover are represented in the cooperative. More information: www.lifecooperative.nl

The LIFE Science Conference and Innovation Award are made possible in part by NV NOM, Municipality of Groningen, Business Association WEST, Province of Groningen, Campus Groningen and the LIFE Cooperative.