ABN AMRO has partnered the Dutch Life Sciences Conference (DLSC) for some years now. Richard Nieuwenhuizen, Senior Account Manager with ABN AMRO’s Life Science and Healthcare team, sees the DLSC as an important event for the bank.
Leiden Bio Science Park
“We have a lot of clients on the Leiden Bio Science Park – mainly businesses active in medical development and technology. So Leiden is something of a focal point for us. We have sector-specific teams at ABN AMRO nowadays, and the DLSC is a perfect opportunity for us to extend our network within the life sciences sector. Using Leiden as a starting point, our ultimate aim is to establish a strong presence in ten geographical centres of excellence around the Netherlands. Cities with medical universities and universities of technology.”
Leading the way
The Dutch have been achieving great success in this sector. The Netherlands is now recognized as a world leader, especially in the field of medical technology. Nieuwenhuizen anticipates a bright future, but warns that early successes can sometimes have an adverse effect on long-term prospects.
“The challenge now is to consolidate our good position and use it as a springboard. Over the next ten or twenty years, we are going to see a huge amount of innovation. We are an aging population and the cost of providing care is increasing all the time. Unless costs can be brought under control, the situation will become unsustainable. So there’s enormous demand for creative solutions and insight. The sector is well on the way to meeting that demand. In fact, it’s already delivering; advances are constantly being made. But it’s important to go about things in the right way.”
Dare to delegate!
Few sectors are more dynamic than life sciences. Promising concepts abound and there is tremendous enthusiasm amongst young entrepreneurs. However, a good idea is no guarantee of commercial success. Nieuwenhuizen advises start-ups to carefully assess demand.
“You may have come up with something really great, but if there aren’t people out there who want to buy it, you won’t get far. Thorough market analysis is vital, and you always need the right partners. Your bank can help you with that kind of thing. It’s a mistake to think that you’ve got to do everything yourself. Entrepreneurs shouldn’t be wary of delegating responsibility for the things that are outside their field of expertise. We often come across people who are brilliant at developing medical solutions, but lack the financial expertise needed to bring them successfully to market. That’s why we advise a lot of clients to appoint a finance manager. Entrepreneurs can be hesitant about taking such a step, when in fact it would free them up to concentrate on what they excel at: medical innovation.”
ABN AMRO partners many start-ups and established companies in the life sciences and health care sectors. The bank gives advice, provides support in the form of market analyses and makes introductions between businesses and investors. ABN AMRO also undertakes its own research into developments taking place within the industry. Nieuwenhuizen highlights the new sector report, due for presentation in October.
“We’ve been looking closely at the relationship between medical technology and ‘big data’. It’s increasingly viable to gather and process extremely large volumes of health-related data, as a basis for realizing enhanced health care solutions. The potential is enormous. We have interviewed various clients with relevant expertise and insight and built up a picture of how the landscape is changing.”
The sector report on medical technology and big data will be made available at the Dutch Life Sciences Conference.