HSE University and Business Russia to Establish Bioeconomy Advisory Board
The decision to establish the Advisory Board was made during a meeting between the Investment Club of Business Russia (‘Delovaya Rossiya’, an all-Russia public organization), and the HSE University Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, which launched a new Master’s Programme in Bioeconomics last year. The Advisory Board will include leading researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors working in the fields of biotechnology, environmental studies, and sustainable development. Sergey Nedoroslev, Business Russia Co-Chair, and Alexander Tonevitsky, Dean of the Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology at HSE University, will also serve as board members.
On June 30, 2021, the HSE Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology held a meeting with the Investment Club of Business Russia to discuss investment strategies in bioeconomics. Invited experts and entrepreneurs discussed key trends and investments in biotechnology, sustainable development and ecology, and effective business models and high-potential projects in the field.
Those present agreed to establish a Bioeconomy Advisory Board to support ‘research, project, expert, information, and communication activities in bioeconomics’. The board aims to draw up a plan of action for the rest of the year in addition to a medium-term plan.
Key objectives of the Advisory Board include:
sharing information on contemporary research in biotechnology, ecology, and sustainable development
supporting scientific and analytical research in bioeconomics
developing and supervising academic programmes in bioeconomics
supervising investment projects, regulations, strategies, and programmes in bioeconomics
organizing educational campaigns, expert discussions, and other public events
identifying and supporting high-potential investment projects in bioeconomics
In his opening remarks, Investment Club Chair and Business Russia Co-Chair Sergey Nedoroslev noted that biotechnology projects currently receive support from both the government and the private sector. The participants shared their experience and visions for the future of biotechnology, and spoke about scientific trends and approaches to investments in the field in various countries.
Alexey Konov, Managing Partner of RBV Capital, explained that investment in Russian bioeconomics remains low. He also spoke about RBV Capital’s dedicated venture capital fund for investing in innovative projects in biopharmaceuticals, biomedical technologies and services, bioinformational technologies and medical equipment.
According to Evgeny Zaytsev, Managing Partner of Bering Capital, the biotechnology market is growing rapidly. While investors are showing increased interest in biotechnologies, medicine remains a top priority. ‘Highly diversified startups that operate in niche markets have a better chance of attracting investments,’ he commented.
Mr. Zaytsev believes that the increasingly strict requirements set by US, Australian and Canadian regulators for foreign investments create difficulties in promoting Russian startups in the US market.
Georgy Safonov, Director of the HSE University Centre for Environmental Economics, noted that biofuel is another rapidly developing biotechnology—though he added that the field is still in its infancy in Russia.
According to the Moscow Agency of Innovations, the current value of the global biotechnology market is estimated to be USD 0.6 trillion. Russia accounts for 0.6% of this market. With imports into Russia at 82%, positive trends in the domestic industry can be found only in biomedicine, where imports are down from 78% to 76%.
Stepan Nersisyan, Research Fellow of the International Laboratory of Microphysiological Systems at HSE University, spoke about the discovery of genetic predisposition to severe COVID-19 and the ensuing practical implications. The findings were the result of a joint study between by researchers from the HSE University Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology, the Pirogov Russian National Research Medical University, and Filatov City Clinical Hospital.
The event also featured presentations from Professor Alexander Tonevitsky, Dean of the HSE Faculty of Biology and Biotechnology; Professor Michael Taliansky of the James Hutton Institute (Great Britain); Artem Elmuratov, Co-Founder of the Genotek medical genetics centre and Research Fellow of the Laboratory of Postgenomic Data Analysis, V.N. Orekhovich Research Institute of Biomedical Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, as well as from other entrepreneurs and researchers. The meeting ended with a pitch session for projects in biotechnology, environmental studies, and sustainable development.