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This is Part 4 of the series Campuses in North Brabant. In the next weeks, we will publish the profiles of all 8 innovation campuses that were mentioned in the recent study by Buck Consultants International (BCI). Every Tuesday we highlight one of them. Today we focus on Pivot Park Oss. Here are all the articles that have already been published.

Pivot Park – Oss is the life sciences ecosystem for pharmaceutical innovation. With its first class infrastructure, facilities, and tailor-made solutions, the Campus plays a pivotal role in stimulating further growth in drug discovery and contributing to a healthier society.

Innovation in life sciences

Located in Moleneind, Oss, Pivot Park boasts a long tradition of drug discovery and development and innovation in medication. This is where the multinational pharmaceutical company Organon was established in 1923 and now, almost a century later, Pivot Park offers companies a high-end pharma R&D infrastructure and the opportunity to accelerate in the development of new medicines.

The Campus stimulates innovation in health through its advanced infrastructure and facilities. One example is the Pivot Park Screening Centre where life sciences entrepreneurs can test new substances themselves or have them tested on a regular basis. “This is a screening facility where startups can quickly check if their idea ends up in a hit. We have a collection of over 300,000 compounds that can be identified as a starting point for new medication. Part of the Centre is also available as an open access lab. That enables companies to use specialised equipment for drug discovery and development. The Screening Centre’s robotic system offers companies and universities the opportunity to accelerate drug discovery,” Brigitte Drees, Campus Director, explains.

At the centre of collaboration

Drees considers partnerships and collaboration between large and small companies and research institutes as a significant element in the development of pharmaceutical innovation at the Campus. Hence open innovation extends beyond the gates. Pivot Park Screening Centre is part of the European Lead Factory. “This is a collaboration of more than 20 international companies and universities, such as the University of Oxford and the University of Leeds. Our Screening Centre is the one and only place where the targets are screened using thousands of compounds. So when the universities come up with innovative ideas and targets and they are well enough developed, they end up here at the Screening Centre. We are at the very centre of this collaboration,” Drees says.

In addition to that, the Campus facilitates open innovation on a daily basis. “We provide companies with a quick start by giving them access to specific facilities and equipment that they cannot afford yet. We also try to stimulate as much communication among them as possible by organising meetings and social events so that everyone knows what others are doing.”

Fast growing Campus

Pivot Park is one of the seven growth campuses in the Netherlands and in the period 2014-2018 its number of employees has increased from 350 to 550 while its total of companies has grown from 38 to 56. Drees assigns this growth to one important factor: “We focus. We are in pharmaceutical innovation and nothing else. That means we attract enterprises that are all in that area and by doing that we help them collaborate. If they want to achieve growth, that is easily possible because there are so many companies in that field here.”

Pivot Park is home to a diverse community of startups and growing companies involved in various stages of drug development. Among one of the renowned companies at the Park is ChemConnection, an innovative company with focus on the development and production of novel active pharmaceutical ingredients and nanomedicines. The drugs produced by ChemConnection are used in the clinical trial phase for patients with cancer. At the moment ChemConnection is “a leading centre for the production of nano-medicines worldwide”.

Another big success story from the Campus is Acerta Pharma, a biotech firm with the focus on covalent binding technology which creates novel, highly selective therapies for cancer. In February 2016, AstraZeneca acquired a major share of Acerta Pharma with a $4 billion investment and is now a committed partner in the development of innovative cancer drugs.

Drees underlines: “Companies should consider coming here because we do have tailor-made options. There is a lot of space here in Oss and we want to make it comfortable for any enterprise. We want to make companies happy here.”

Featured image: Pivot Park Oss