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How do corporate partners support Biopôle’s members?

Article from Pierre-Jean Wipff, Innovation Advisor at Innovaud operating the partnership programme for Biopôle.

Pierre-Jean Wipff, Innovation Advisor at Innovaud – which runs Biopôle’s corporate partnership programme – shares with us how corporate partners can benefit our community.

In 2021, the Biopôle community consists of more than a hundred companies and organisations, including a growing number of start-ups. In order to extend our existing ecosystem, in 2020 we launched a corporate partner programme, aiming to connect our developing companies with bigger collaborators outside of our campus. Through these collaborations, our goal is to foster mutually beneficial relationships that accelerate innovation.

Our corporate partners are interested in the innovation capabilities of our community and network. Our community members, on the other hand, are looking for partners who can help them fast-track their projects. Between the two, Biopôle acts as an intermediary, identifying opportunities, creating interest, facilitating interactions, and helping bring potential collaborations to fruition.

Biopôle is particularly well placed to spot new innovative projects or companies. We build up a reservoir of companies that could be of interest to our partners, prioritising our community members. We rapidly assess whether companies fit our partners’ requirements in terms of their therapeutic area, modality, technology, stage of development and so on. For instance, within our current partners, some are only interested in late-stage/clinically validated technologies and others – in the fields of biotech or pharma – are looking for early-stage projects to develop their portfolio. Naturally, this narrows the number of companies that can engage with each partner, but we ensure that the selection is highly suited to their interests. When we identify a potential ‘perfect fit’, we make our corporate partners aware of the relevant start-ups and keep them updated with their latest progress, maintaining their interest until the time is ripe for a potential collaboration. Such relationships can take several forms: they might involve a pilot project, licensing, sales, investment or research and development agreements.

The strength of our ecosystem is built on these valuable opportunities. In the long run, we plan to welcome more Biopôle partners to maximise the collaborative opportunities available to our community members. By doing so, we bridge the gap between corporates and start-ups, thus extending our ecosystem beyond its physical boundaries.


Pierre-Jean Wipff is Innovation Advisor at Innovaud - the platform for the promotion of innovations in the Canton of Vaud. He is also running the partnership programme for Biopôle, acts as progamme manager at DH2, and sits on the board of StartLab. Before that, he founded and led ExCellness Biotech SA. and was the innovation coordinator at the Geneva University Hospital, fostering the entrepreneurial spirit within the institution.