Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus opens base in life science hotspot California
Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus opened a base on the West Coast of the US on Monday 29 April, at the University of California’s business accelerator in Irvine. The new office is the result of the partnership agreement signed in October 2018 by Maastricht University president Martin Paul and his counterpart at the University of California, Irvine. The agreement focuses on joint academic research in regenerative medicine (such as growing cells, tissues and organs in the lab), a field in which both universities excel.
For Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus, the research partnership is also aimed at valorisation with social and economic benefits, which often takes place in the form of start-ups. The newly opened hub will help these start-ups with their plans for expansion in the US.
The research institutes MERLN and M4I at the University of Maastricht have an excellent reputation and they work in a field in which international cooperation is vital. Marianne van der Steen, professor of Entrepreneurship in Healthcare at the UM institute MERLN, specialises in regenerative medicine. As the director of the Global Scale-up Program and Global Investor Forum, which put medtech and biotech companies in touch with industrial partners and international investors in Europe and the US, she has played a key role in establishing and developing this partnership.
The partnership was confirmed by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on 29 April by Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus and UCI Innovation, the business incubator at the University of California, Irvine. This forms the basis for the future collaboration between the two organisations.
California was chosen because the southwest of the US – and particularly Orange County, where Irvine is situated – is seen as the mecca for regenerative medicine in the US, and perhaps the entire world. Southern California also offers a plentiful supply of venture capital.
The new Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus office at The Cove, the Technology Transfer Center in Irvine, is initially designed to be a base of operations for entrepreneurs and start-ups associated with Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus. Start-ups in regenerative medicine will be a special focus. In addition, Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus will offer services to US start-ups with ambitions to enter European markets.
Guests at the opening included Gerbert Kunst, Consul-General of the Netherlands in the US; Henk Haselaar, entrepreneur, investor and Honorary Consul in San Diego; Carola van der Weijden, Managing Director of the Province of Limburg; and Joost van den Akker, Provincial Executive representative for Economic Affairs and Knowledge Infrastructure of the Province of Limburg.
Joost van den Akker, Provincial Executive representative for Economic Affairs and Knowledge Infrastructure of the Province of Limburg.
'The opening of the Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus in the US is good news for the economy of Limburg. The intensified collaboration will benefit knowledge sharing, and joint academic research will produce more applicable knowledge for medtech companies. And I can only applaud the fact that this will also offer new opportunities for start-ups who want to do business in the US.’
Prof. Martin Paul, President of the Universiteit Maastricht
‘For Maastricht University, the partnership with the University of California, Irvine is a firm step to advance our innovative medical research, for example in the field of regenerative medicine. The exchange of academic talent is an enrichment both for UM and UCI. We will also work to build a strong joint ecosystem for knowledge valorisation.’
Prof. Marianne van der Steen, Professor of Entrepreneurship in Healthcare at Maastricht University.
‘The opening of a physical Brightlands Health Campus office in the US is a logical next step. Successful research in the labs and clinical trials are followed by valorisation. Companies want to produce concrete medicines and tissues. Americans want to come to Europe, and European entrepreneurs want to go to the US. Our office will provide them with support.’
Prof. Jan Cobbenhagen, CEO of Brightlands Maastricht Health Campus
‘Thanks to the partnership with UCI Innovation, we can provide a springboard for start-ups and entrepreneurs who want to enter the US market from the Limburg region. Equally we will be supporting US start-ups and scale-ups who are looking for a springboard into the European market, so it’s two-way traffic.’