Helping life sciences companies collaborate across borders

The challenge

To survive and grow, medical technology and life science companies must continually innovate. However, finding the right resources, funding, and facilities to engage in innovation can be challenging, expensive, and time consuming.

Key bottlenecks for many SMEs result from issues of financing or getting a product to market, therefore there is a need to help SMEs innovate across borders, speed up their business processes and facilitate lasting relationships.

The project in brief

To help SMEs overcome such barriers and shorten their product life cycles, eight leading life science regions in North-West Europe joined forces to set up the IN2LifeSciences project.

The IN2LifeSciences project’s transnational approach is designed to help life science SMEs find the right partners to develop their products by enabling them to identify expertise in other European regions, either through an online database or via a regional access broker.

IN2LifeSciences supported numerous successful collaborations through an incentive scheme. By its close, the project had enabled 151 SMEs to work on projects with 83 providers, and 86% of these planned to continue cooperating with their newfound partners. Additionally, they created an online database of technological, financial and market suppliers, a network of international 'Access Brokers,' and 151 marketable products, processes and services.

The project facilitated access to organisations abroad with the tools, expertise and resources needed to overcome innovation bottlenecks. With support from project partners, SMEs were able to collaborate with entrepreneurs and knowledge institutes in other European regions, accelerating their transition from research to market.


The project enabled us to share the expertise present within our region more widely, by working with businesses in other areas of North-West Europe.

Céline Queron, Regional Access Broker

The impact

The advancements made by the project facilitated long-lasting transnational collaborations between SMEs, the development of innovation, and assisted in the introduction of these products into the market.

One of the regional ‘Access Brokers’, Céline Queron, explained the benefits of her participation: “IN2LifeSciences allowed us to offer more opportunities, by sourcing cutting-edge expertise outside of France. This also enabled us to share the expertise present within our region more widely, by working with businesses in other areas of North-West Europe.”

Another successful example was an SME in Hemarina, France. The company developed an additive for donor organ preservation solutions that allowed oxygenation and minimised the risk of rejection. However, before it could be marketed, the company had to ensure it would be sterile, and needed a connection to a company that provided sterilisation services. In Belgium, a company called Sterigenics could supply a sterilisation technology known as irradiation, but they needed a link to other Life Science companies working in medical technology innovation.

Using their incentive program, the IN2LifeSciences project helped the two companies meet and work together. Hemarina was then able to test the technology and proceed with manufacturing. The result was a new, transnational collaboration, a decrease in the amount of time it took to take their innovation to market, and better access for consumers and health care providers to life-changing new services.

In each case, IN2LifeSciences stimulated cross-border cooperation and innovation, created new opportunities, and helped important medical technologies and life science companies gain a competitive advantage.



providers working with 151 SMEs


leading life science regions


marketable products and services

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