The vision of the BIONIAN cluster is to establish Greece at the forefront of biotechnology worldwide in two main areas:
A. Clinical Investigation (CI), with a focus on applied Clinical Research, Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Special emphasis will be paid on the execution of high quality clinical research operations spanning all phases of drug development, including clinical investigation associated with biosimilar and generic drugs, including drugs targeting niche and/or high-growth markets (e.g., oncology).
B. Environmental Health Sciences (EHS), with a focus on the reduction of the burden of human illness and disability through a better understanding of the impact of environmental factors and exposures on disease pathogenesis and progression, as well as on general human health.
To realize this vision, BIONIAN will capitalize on clustering as a means of creating critical mass for sustainable competitive advantages and for competing globally in the CI/EHS areas. The formation of this critical mass will bring together (in close geographical proximity) multi-disciplinary expertise contributed by the cluster members. Specifically, the cluster joins: authorities in clinical investigation, leading pharmaceutical companies (multinational large enterprises and niche SMEs), prominent enterprise and research laboratories in e-health/bioinformatics, health services providers, as well as environmental health experts. The geographical concentration of these enterprises will be facilitated by the emergence of the Metropolitan Innovation Center in Attica (built by one of the members), which will allow for the formation of a true cluster, rather than a loosely coupled virtual alliance.
BIONIAN will introduce a holistic approach to clinical investigation, characterized by: support of clinical studies of all phases, the inclusion of biological/medical/environmental factors, the exploitation of latest advances in ICT, the development of infrastructures/ expertise for CI in various topics/scales/ goals, and alignment to the trend of «personalized medicine». This holistic approach will allow the establishment of BIONIAN as a leading hub in clinical investigation and environment health studies. BIONIAN will also give a significant boost to the development and sales of other products and services of its members, since it will provide an innovation testbed for the development of new products and services that fall within the members’ business activities.
During the first 5 years of the cluster development, BIONIAN will establish itself in SEE (South Eastern Europe) and MENA (Middle East North Africa), given also the absence of biotech clusters in SEE/MENA. BIONIAN has plans for its evolution as a world class cluster in three phases: 1.Launch (2013-2017), 2.Market Growth (2017-2020) and 3. Globalization (2020-2023). To this end, BIONIAN will capitalize on its proven contacts with biotech organizations worldwide.
The BIONIAN facilitator will offer a number of sustainable cluster management and cluster facilitation services, including marketing services (e.g., market research, organization of conferences/exhibitions/roadshows), IPR and ethical management services, business development services (e.g., support for grants and targeted contacts with investors), as well as education and training services (both degree and professional training programmes). These services will be (initially) offered free of charge to the cluster members and the biotech community. Following the first two years, the cluster non-profit entity (to be established in the project) will charge for these services, thereby providing a foundation for the cluster’s sustainability. The provision of these services will ensure the sustainability of the cluster entity, even in the case of very conservative scenarios about their penetration and use.
Close to the end of the 5-year period, the cluster will establish a second legal entity (in addition to the non-profit one), which will undertake commercial activities. This company will involve shareholders (within/outside the cluster) on the basis of their relevant investments. The BIONIAN business plan includes high-growth financial scenarios on the basis of CI/EHS services, which however hinge of the attraction of investments that will enable BIONIAN to establish world-class laboratory infrastructure. These scenarios are very promising, yet not a pre-requisite for sustainability.
In a nutshell, BIONIAN fills existing gaps in biotechnology clusters and CI/EHS markets in the SEE and MENA regions, thereby creating prospects for significant economic development and new jobs. At the same time, the cluster formation and evolution will be associated with significant societal impact directly associated with the provision of high quality health services and products in Greece and neighboring territories.