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					   Focus on
the Appliance
  of Science
   FROM LEIDEN
                                                                                             Focus on
                                                                                          the Appliance
                                                                                            of Science
                                                                                             FROM LEIDEN




                                        Colofon



Texts                      Design                       With special thanks to everyone
Esther Thole               Ratio Design.nl              interviewed in this book and:
Ionica Smeets                                           BioPartner Leiden
Peter Baggen               Editing                      Communications department LU
                           Anke Klerkx, LURIS           Communications department LUMC
Pictures                   Aurélie Veltema, LURIS       Ratio Design
Aad van Vliet / TwoMoves   Marilyn Hedges, Academisch
Irene van der Plas          Talencentrum Leiden
Marc de Haan
Sander Pardon
                               The Appliance
                                 of Science
    Research is at the heart of the mission of both               Medical Sciences in 1924. To this day the ECG is the
    Leiden University (LU) and Leiden University Medical          best way to measure and diagnose abnormal rhythms
    Center (LUMC). It has been since the creation of              of the heart and is still in use in hospitals all over.
    the University in 1575. However, it is not research
    solely for the sake of research but also so that LU           In 2010, The World University Rankings by the Times
    and LUMC can play their roles in promoting clinical,          Higher Education Supplement put Leiden University
    societal and economic development. This is ‘The               equal first in the world in field of Industry income –
    Appliance of Science’.                                        Innovation. This category is designed to cover
                                                                  an institution’s knowledge­transfer activity. It is
    Much of the research at LUMC is Translational                 determined by the institution’s research income
    Research, meaning that it has a close connection              from industry scaled against the number of academic
    to clinical need. This ensures that the relevance of          staff. An excellent performance from Leiden Univer­
    the scientific research can be directly translated into       sity and the Leiden University Medical Center.
    medicinal and clinical use. Work in the University
    finds application in many fields, ranging from                This book ‘The Appliance of Science’ illustrates some
    Social Sciences, Languages and Cultural studies               of the examples and achievements of LU and LUMC
    to Pharmacology and Plant Sciences through to                 in the area of valorisation of the research base.
    Material Sciences.                                            It demonstrates how fundamental research can go
                                                                  hand in hand with commercial and societal use.
    Excellent research in Leiden is not a new pheno­              It has already lead to the creation of successful
    menon. Since Leiden became a University City, great           clinical treatments, the establishment of new firms
    scientific breakthroughs have been accomplished.              and one of Europe’s most successful Bio Science
    A good example is Electrocardiography (ECG), first            Parks. The current growth in the activity speaks well
    built as a diagnostic tool in Leiden by the Dutch             of the quality of the research base and the entrepre­
    doctor and physiologist Willem Einthoven. He played           neurial nature of the scientists. It bodes well for the
    an important role in the development of electrocar­           future of Leiden and the Netherlands.
    diography and won the Nobel Prize for Physiology of


                                                                In
                                                              focus

         Valorisation
         What is valorisation? If you ask a native English        ministry of Economic Affairs to describe the
         speaker this question you will see question              process by which knowledge is transferred to
         marks in his or her eyes appear. Valorisation is         society via products, processes or services, and
         how the Dutch translate the term ´valorisatie´,          value - economic value or money- is created.
         which was introduced by policy makers of the




4                                                                                                                           5
                                      Valorisation should                                                                                         Valorisation is
                                      be fun for researchers                                                                                     not a dirty word
    Valorisation has become a main theme on national research agendas. Paul van                                           Maarten le Clercq bid farewell to the Executive Board of the LUMC in June 2010, after
    der Heijden, Rector Magnificus and President of the Executive Board of Leiden                                         eight - in his own words - extremely pleasant years. He hopes to have made a valuable
    University, is proud of what Leiden has achieved, and sees even more possibilities                                    contribution, especially on valorisation. When the idea for a technology transfer office
    for the future.                                                                                                       first arose, he immediately became enthusiastic.

    Traditionally, the universities had two tasks: scientific   Maghiel van Crevel has developed high­school books        It started in 2004 when Douwe Breimer, the then           LURIS became the envisioned technology transfer
    research and teaching. Gradually, however, the notion       for Mandarin. And language is just a starting point.      Rector Magnificus of Leiden University, commissioned      centre. Today it is a little bigger than the founders
    of social relevance has seeped in. Van der Heijden:         We could do so much more with our knowledge, such         an investigation into the possibility of a technology     imagined five years ago, and the LUMC also has
    “The government justifiably asked what they get for         as offering courses for companies who are trading         transfer office. Le Clercq: “Naturally, the LUMC was      additional staff working on technology transfer. But
    the 2.5 to 3 billion euro they spend on universities,       with China. And this is just one example; the social      a discussion partner. We already had a rudimentary        Maarten le Clercq believes this is only the beginning:
    besides master’s graduates and scientific publicati­        sciences also have a lot of potential. To boost valori­   organisation that assisted in valorising research, but    “Valorisation is a hot topic for the government and it
    ons. The social partners had a similar question: what       sation activities, we need hubs in which researchers      things were quite unstructured and there was limited      will continue to grow. Besides, it takes about twenty
    could universities contribute to relevant problems          and companies can mix.”                                   experience with legal aspects, intellectual property      years for valorisation to permeate the entire organi­
    relating to energy, water and food?” In the last five                                                                 or contracts.” Le Clercq was already familiar with        sation. LURIS is the leading organisation of its kind
    years, valorisation, meaning generating value from          The Rector emphasises that valorisation should be         professional technology transfer offices from other       in the Netherlands, but can still learn and develop.
    knowledge, has become the official third task of            put in a proper perspective: “Researchers should not      countries, the industry and the UMC Utrecht. “The         Other countries are ahead of us; the technology
    the universities.                                           be forced to become entrepreneurs. They have been         idea really took on in my head. The university and        transfer office of Leuven, for instance, has been
                                                                hired for their specialisations, and valorisation calls   LUMC decided to work together on this. It was in our      around for over twenty­five years. In Leiden the
    Leiden was familiar with this concept long before           for a different kind of expertise. Which is why I am      common interest that our knowledge should end up          number of researchers who are active in valorisation
    valorisation became a political term. “The Bio              so glad that LURIS offers this expertise as a service.    in the right places.”                                     is relatively small and I hope this will increase over
    Science Park has been here for decades. It has pro­         They know about business, patents, legal matters                                                                    the next few years.”
    duced famous examples such as Crucell, which was            and tiny details that can drive researchers mad.”         Le Clercq believes that there should not be too great
    established by university researchers, but is now an        Researchers should not hesitate to contract out           a distance between universities and industry. “For        There are various ways of stimulating entrepreneur­
    independent biopharmaceutical company quoted                tasks: “I always advise grant winners to use part         a long time valorisation was a dirty word to resear­      ship amongst researchers. Le Clercq: “First of all the
    on the stock exchange.”                                     of the money to hire project management.”                 chers. Sometimes the market was seen as a threat          Executive Board should convey the importance of
                                                                                                                          rather than a possibility.” In his view this mistrust     valorising research. Not all researchers need to file
    There are many valorisation activities outside the          Van der Heijden wants to show the fresh crop              is unnecessary as long as clear ground rules are          patents, but those who do should feel appreciated;
    Bio Science Park, but Van der Heijden’s dreams              of students that valorisation is a serious option:        observed. The Dutch Federation of University Medical      for instance, by benefiting from the financial rewards
    reach further: “It would be great to have a business        “They do not see themselves as businessmen, but           Centers (NFU) has issued a brochure ‘Naar een goede       of their discovery. Secondly, there has to be a profes­
    park for the humanities, for example. Leiden has            only 10 to 15% of them will remain in research.           waarde’ (Towards a good value) which establishes          sional service to assist researchers with practical
    expertise on cultures and languages from all over the       And even these ‘pure’ researchers must think              rules of behaviour to guarantee integrity in the colla­   details and to help them foster realistic expectations.
    world. This knowledge is priceless and I would like         commercially in order to find funding for their           boration with industry. Le Clercq emphasises that         And finally, researchers should see examples of
    to see more of it put on the market. Take China,            work. I think valorisation should be fun for them.        this collaboration benefits the university: “There is     successful colleagues who have managed to get
    for instance, which is currently the world’s second         Scientists love competition and are constantly trying     a lot of knowledge in industry. And sometimes the         their work out into the world.” IS
    largest economy. Many people would like to know             to outdo one another. And the market is driven by         market is more energetic, innovative, efficient and
    more about what happens there. Our Professor                competition.” IS                                          even democratic than the government.”




6                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             7
         01             02            03              04
    Platforms         Moving       Service         Strength
      for new       forward by      from       through regional
    discoveries    collaboration   science       development
        page 10        page 18       page 30         page 38




         05             06            07              08
    An inspiring    Successes      Promises         Science
     academic          from         of the       in a broader
    environment      the past       future           scope
        page 46        page 56       page 64         page 74




8                                                                 9
01
                                                                                                                                         The unlimited
                                                                                                                                           potential
                                                                                                                                          of zebrafish




                                               Platforms
                                                 for new                                                                                                    Open
                                                                                                                                                          your mind



                                               discoveries



                                                                                                                                         “I was itching
                                                                                                                                            to start a
                                                                                                                                            company”
     Finding a causal gene, a novel drug target or a compound has in common that it often requires tedious screening procedures
     to find the proverbial needle in the haystack. The limitations in screening technologies trigger many researchers to look for new
     methods. This can result in versatile screening platforms useful for all kinds of screening needs that go beyond their scientific
     interest. By making these platforms commercially available, companies can benefit from these for their R&D.




10                                                                                                                                                                    11
           The unlimited potential
                                                                                                                   made an interesting discovery on the boundary of         The possibilities are enormous, since there are many
                                                                                                                   their respective research areas (cell biology and        fish that do not reproduce in captivity. Spaink and
                                                                                                                   physiology), Spaink: “After Van den Thillart thorough­   Van den Thillart are currently working on pike perch
                                                                                                                   ly explained how eels work hormonally, I realized that   and hope to succeed in having them reproduce within



                of zebrafish
                                                                                                                   we might be able to solve the eel­breeding problem.”     the next six months. “After this, the sky’s the limit:
                                                                                                                   In the wild, the hormone that triggers eel reproduc­     the critically endangered tuna is our great ambition.”
                                                                                                                   tion is only released from the pituitary gland in the
                                                                                                                   brain after the eels have swum thousands of miles to     Spaink spends roughly 10% of his time on ZF­
                                                                                                                   the Sargasso Sea. Spaink managed to manufacture          screens, and the rest of his time on his own academic
                                                                                                                   cells in the zebrafish that produce this hormone.        research. New discoveries have led to more patents
     In 1997, biologist Herman Spaink decided to embark on a new course: he switched                               Once this “artificial pituitary” was implanted in        and to a second daughter company, ZF­pharma,
     his research focus from plants to zebrafish. A good decision, which led to many                               captive eels, they started to reproduce.                 which develops products for pharmaceutical appli­
                                                                                                                                                                            cations and screening purposes based on zebrafish
     publications, several patents and two companies.                                                              Spaink and Van den Thillart saw the market potential     technologies. “Our immune system bears a striking
                                                                                                                   of their discovery and wrote a patent. However, at       resemblance to that of the zebrafish. For certain
     When Spaink first became professor in Leiden, the      completely transparent, so every cell is visible.      the time, no companies were interested, so the           diseases, such as tuberculosis, zebrafish are a much
     university had just bought the most modern micro­      Spaink soon obtained some interesting results.         researchers, who thought it would be a great pity to     better model for human response than mice.” At the
     scope in the Netherlands. Spaink: “This microscope     When a project began in 2000 to sequence the entire    leave their findings unused, decided to start their      time of the interview, Spaink had just submitted an
     was excellent for measuring fast cell movements, but   genome of the zebrafish, he knew he had chosen the     own company. With LURIS’ help they secured a             article that shows that humans and zebrafish react in
     plant cells do not move much. I also had the feeling   right organism. His group expanded, and there are      starting loan. Four years later, their company,          the exact same way to tuberculosis drugs. He is very
     that many of my questions on plants had already        now twenty­five people working in his project team.    ZF­screens, already has ten employees.                   hopeful about the possibilities of this line of research:
     been answered in the research area I was working                                                                                                                       “The only potential problem is that tuberculosis is not
     on. So I decided to look for a new model organism.”    Spaink met Guido van den Thillart, a biologist who     Today, daughter company NewCatch is building a           sufficiently seen as a problem in the Western world.
                                                            was working on eels. Eels are notoriously impossible   huge facility for eel cultivation in Volendam, in        Which is short­sighted, since in the near future,
     Spaink chose zebrafish. These fish lay many eggs       to cultivate. The only possible way was to catch       collaboration with professional fish farmers. The        a multidrug­resistant strain could become a great
     and, at only 1 mm in size, the eggs fit very nicely    young fish and grow them. However, the European        Ministry of Agriculture considers this a model project   danger for highly developed countries, too, and also
     under a microscope. What makes the eggs even           eel is an endangered species and its young are         for aquaculture, and hopes that the Netherlands will     because with more support, it would be possible in
     more suitable for research is that they are            increasingly rare. Van den Thillart and Spaink         become a strong player in this market.                   the long run to eradicate this disease.” IS



12 P L AT F O R M S F O R N E W D I S C O V E R I E S                                                                                                                                                                                   13
                                                                                                                         used to screen for agents that cause DNA damage                of academia and applied research. Van de Water feels
                                                                                                                         and oxidative stress. This project contributes to the          it is important to increase the impact of your scienti­
                                                                                                                         programme of the Netherlands Toxicogenomics Centre             fic work. “In the long run, I think it’s more satisfying
                                                                                                                         (NTC), one of the Genomics Centres of the Nether­              to know that your results contribute to a real­life



                             Open your mind
                                                                                                                         lands Genomics Initiative. Van de Water’s involvement          application; something that reaches beyond the small
                                                                                                                         with NTC, a consortium of academic groups, research            circle of scientists who read your paper ­ and then
                                                                                                                         institutes and industrial parties, again illustrates his       forget about it.” ET
                                                                                                                         commitment to bridging the gap between the worlds

                                                                                                                                                                                      In
     Acknowledge the expertise of others, says Bob van de Water. Academic and industrial                                                                                            focus

     interests are not mutually exclusive.                                                                                    Understanding metastasis of breast cancer
                                                                                                                              Recently, Marjo de Graauw and Martine van                 Although these promising results indicate that
                                                                                                                              Miltenburg in the group of Bob van de Water,              Annexin A1 is a master controller of metastasis,
     “Scientists tend to think that they always know best,     a topic that suits academic and industrial interests.          discovered that the protein Annexin A1 plays a            making drugs that inhibit the action of this
     but I recommend an open mind towards the expertise        “My main research objective is to understand what              major role metastasis, the spread of cancer cells         protein is not an option. Annexin A1 is also
     of others. Collaborating with external parties can give   drives cancer metastasis. We employ these novel                outside the tumor. This scientific breakthrough           important for healthy cells, and treatment with
     you new ideas and perhaps lead to real eye­openers,”      screening techniques to look for genes that play a             was published in PNAS.                                    such a drug would cause too many unwanted
     says Bob van de Water, Professor of Drug Safety           key role in this process. For industry, our work is in­        One of the key processes that transforms a                side-effects. Measuring Annexin A1 in biopsies
     Sciences at the Leiden/Amsterdam Center for Drug          teresting because the genes we identify may turn out           ‘resting’ tumor cell into an ‘invasive’ tumor             of tumors may, however, be very useful for
     Research. He admits that a healthy dose of oppor­         to be interesting new targets for drug development.”           cell that wants to escape from the tumor, is              the diagnosis and treatment of patients with
     tunism also plays a role. “As a scientist, you need       Patents are an essential element in making the leads           a change in motility of this tumor cell. It was           breast cancer. It may serve as a marker in a
     funding for your research. You may choose to stick        revealed by science attractive for industrial parties.         discovered that the Annexin A1 gene is up                 test to predict the prognosis of the patient and
     strictly to public funding sources, but you can also      It is a way of packaging the results from research             regulated in the invasive cells, suggesting that          help in monitoring the success of treatment.
     decide to formulate your projects in such a way that      in such a form that they are useful and accessible             the protein plays a role in motility of these cells       Meanwhile the group keeps looking for genes
     industry may be interested in participating and that      for companies to take them to the next stages of               and the switch from resting to invasive. Indeed,          that play a role in the metastasis process and
     the results will provide added value to their research    development.                                                   when they knocked out the Annexin A1 gene in              that can be targeted with drugs.
     and development.”                                                                                                        an invasive cell, this cell became resting again.
     Van de Water’s research focuses on developing an          A recent example is a patent filed by Van de Water             Other experiments showed that lowering
     advanced systems microscopy technology platform           and Harry Vrieling of the Department of Toxico­                Annexin A1 levels does not stop tumor growth,
     to study the metastatic behaviour of tumour cells:        genetics of the LUMC on cell lines that can be                 but does reduce the occurrence of metastasis.



14 P L AT F O R M S F O R N E W D I S C O V E R I E S                                                                                                                                                                                              15
                        “I was itching
                                                                                                                        biotech industry was really booming and I liked the      Siegal. “You definitely need a lot of patience. Within
                                                                                                                        idea of commercialising science. I also found it very    the big companies, things move like molasses on a
                                                                                                                        stimulating to see that many talented people were        cold day. In the meantime, you have to keep moving
                                                                                                                        moving from academia to biotech companies.               and so we also contacted a number of SMEs (Small


                     to start a company”
                                                                                                                        In Leiden, a number of companies had already             and Medium­sized Enterprises, ed.) that were small
                                                                                                                        spun out of the university, so the local environment     enough to make decisions quickly. We also had a
                                                                                                                        offered flexibility and support.” Unfortunately for      couple of lucky breaks and our sales grew rapidly.
                                                                                                                        Siegal, venture capitalists were moving out of plat­     Right now, ZoBio is doing really well.”
                                                                                                                        form technologies at the time. “Grants seemed to
     Gregg Siegal heads a research group on DNA repair and drug discovery technologies                                  be the best way to get financing and, luckily, a         The company is still closely tied to the university
     at Leiden University and is the founder of ZoBio, that provides tools and services in the                          number of appropriate government programmes were         and physically located within the university labora­
                                                                                                                        available.” Teaming up with different parties, he was    tories. And Siegal himself combines his academic
     area of drug discovery and lead optimisation.                                                                      able to secure a grant from the STIGON programme,        position with his position at ZoBio. What about
                                                                                                                        the STW Open Technology Programme and the Inno­          critics who feel that commercial activities and
     The heart of ZoBio is its proprietary TINS technology   on technologies that used immobilised small molecu­        vation Stimulation Programme of AgentschapNL.            academic research don’t match? “It really depends
     (Target Immobilised NMR Screening), a fast and          les to screen for proteins with the desired functionali­                                                            on the area of research. ZoBio develops technologies
     efficient method for screening libraries of small       ties. But what if we just flipped this around? Why not     This combination of grants covered all aspects of        that address problems in drug discovery and drug
     compounds for binding to target molecules. Such         immobilise the protein to fish out small molecules         the company: people, equipment and chemicals.            delivery. Fundamental limitations hamper the tech­
     small compounds usually provide better starting         that could serve as potential drug leads?” From that       “We just had to find clients,” he laughs. But once       nology. My academic group focuses on the basic
     points for drug development than large, complicated     point on, it all went really fast. “Because this is a      everything is in place, how do you attract clients?      science that underlies those limitations. In my view,
     (bio­)molecules. ZoBio was founded in 2005 and its      relatively simple technology, we could quickly per­        “You have to keep on publishing your scientific          we have a clean but synergistic separation of activi­
     history shows that a moment of clarity is sometimes     form feasibility studies and it took little more than      findings. A good track record is critical for young      ties. Our academic work can be rapidly picked up
     all you need. “The research in my academic group        six months to go from the idea to filing the patent.”      companies. And you have to present your work at          by ZoBio, while my students have access to ZoBio
     was fuelled by the limitations of the screening tech­                                                              the right meetings. These offer great opportunities      resources, which is quite unique. Transparency is
     nologies,” says Siegal. “All of a sudden I had this     Siegal did not need to think for long before deciding      for contacting scientists in industry and showing        really important. I always mention my affiliation to
     flash of inspiration about how to overcome all these    to go commercial. “I was itching to start a company.       them how you can help them solve their problems.”        ZoBio when publishing academic work. That way,
     limitations at once. During my postdoc, I had worked    When I was doing my PhD back in the USA, the               A less exciting, but crucial quality is patience, says   readers are free to make up their own minds.” ET



16 P L AT F O R M S F O R N E W D I S C O V E R I E S                                                                                                                                                                                     17
02
                                                                                                                                                                        Understanding
                                                                                                                                                                           the skin




                                                                                                                                          Skipping
                                                                                                                                          the stop
                                                                                                                                            sign



                                             Moving
                                           forward by
                                          collaboration
                                                                                                                                         From blunt
                                                                                                                                        refusal to full
                                                                                                                                           support




                                                                                                                                                          Building on
                                                                                                                                                          a knowledge
                                                                                                                                                            economy
     Changing direction in research is an important tool to give room to new discoveries in the minds of the researcher. When resear­
     chers work together with industrial partners, there is a great opportunity to learn and move forward by crossing the academic
     borders and thinking outside the box. By involving companies in research, the application perspective can lead to ground­
     breaking ideas and insights, and of course products, from which all parties involved and society will benefit in the end.
                                                                                                                                                                         Commerciali-
                                                                                                                                                                        sation requires
                                                                                                                                                                         collaboration



18                                                                                                                                                                                        19
                                                                                                                         for applications, Bouwstra often joins forces with            and know that what you are doing is not just scientifi­
                                                                                                                         the industry. Many of these collaborations are                cally interesting, but also useful.”
                                                                                                                         projects from Technology Foundation STW (Stichting
                                                                                                                         Technische Wetenschappen). STW research is                    Many of Bouwstra’s STW proposals have been accep­
                                                                                                                         pre­competitive. Several companies are involved,              ted. Moreover, in 2005, she was honoured with the
                                                                                                                         each with its own focus, but the research is not              Simon Stevin Meesterschap. Each year, STW grants
                                                                                                                         aimed directly at one of their products. A typical            this distinguished technology award to a prominent
                                                                                                                         project will involve at least three different companies.      Dutch researcher who combines excellent fundamen­
                                                                                                                         Bouwstra: “Every company is expected to make a                tal research with utilisation. Bouwstra was the twelfth
                                                                                                                         contribution; it is not just a paper contract.”               winner of this prestigious award. With the prize money
                                                                                                                                                                                       of 500,000 euro she hired two PhD students who are
                                                                                                                         Researchers often underestimate the amount of time            still working in her group.
                                                                                                                         required to write an STW proposal. Bouwstra: “Some­



           Understanding the skin
                                                                                                                         times it takes a whole year from the initial idea to the      Bouwstra is proud of the broad range of techniques
                                                                                                                         submission of the proposal. There are many details            her group has at its disposal and the possibilities
                                                                                                                         to be taken care of. There have to be interesting fun­        these techniques offer. “We try to look as much as
                                                                                                                         damental questions and good utilisation possibilities,        possible at human skin, rather than using mice, as is
                                                                                                                         and the companies involved cannot be direct compe­            customary in the United States. We have developed
                                                                                                                         titors. What really takes time is arousing the interest       techniques to obtain non­invasive skin samples so
     Fundamental questions and applications are very close together in the field of skin                                 of the companies concerned. Of course, they have              we can carry out studies with human patients. The
     research. This is one of the reasons Professor Joke Bouwstra is so excited about her                                many other things to do and you have to convince              non­invasive method makes it easier to use human
                                                                                                                         them to invest in your project. But these projects            subjects. And we really can do a lot with our array
     research group at the Leiden/Amsterdam Center for Drugs Research (LACDR).                                           are definitely worth the large time investment.               of biophysical techniques; other groups in the world
                                                                                                                         It is very stimulating to work on applications                simply do not have access to the combination of
     Bouwstra has been doing skin research for quite          different lipids fulfil? How are the lipids organised in                                                                 techniques that we have.” IS
     some time: “I started in Leiden in 1985, working on      the skin – more specifically in the stratum corneum,
     polymers. However, I have a background in biophysics     the outermost layer of the epidermis?                                                                                  In
     and I noticed that in this area, skin research was                                                                                                                            focus

     blooming. Since 1989, I have mainly focused on the       It is easy to see how these fundamental questions               Vaccination can be painless
     skin. In the 1980s, skin research was a hype, but my     about the skin might lead to applications. Certain              A frequently applied and promising topic in              Bouwstra: “The skin is very elastic. If you just
     personal fascination was the main reason I chose         skin diseases upset the composition of the lipids,              skin research is painless vaccination through            prick the skin with the needle, the skin will
     this subject.”                                           and a faulty composition causes a disturbance in                the skin. Injecting very small micro needles             simply fold itself around the sharp tip. You can
                                                              the organisation of the lipids (the three­dimensional           into the skin decreases the barrier function.            compare it with a partially inflated balloon: if
     Joke Bouwstra is probably best known for her work on     structure in which the lipids are arranged in the skin).        These micro needles are 300 micrometers long,            you apply a sharp needle to the balloon, it will
     the barrier function of the skin. A healthy skin keeps   Bouwstra’s group studies, in close collaboration                about twice the diameter of a human hair. The            not burst. You have to inject the needle very
     out unwanted elements and ensures that the body          with other groups, both the composition and the                 injection of the needles is painless, since nerves       fast to break through the outer layer.” Once the
     does not lose too much water through evaporation.        organisation of the lipids. Once more is known about            start deeper in the skin than where the micro            barrier function is decreased, it is possible to
     Lipids play a key role in the barrier function, but      the way in which lipids work, it might be possible              needles penetrate.                                       vaccinate directly through the skin. The needle
     many fundamental questions about these molecules         to develop a cream to repair the barrier function               The researchers have developed a special                 pricks are very small and the barrier function
     remain unanswered. What specific function do the         of diseased skin. Since there are huge possibilities            applicator to inject the micro needles.                  recovers almost immediately afterwards.



20 M O V I N G F O R W A R D B Y C O L L A B O R AT I O N                                                                                                                                                                                        21
                                       Skipping                                                                           In the early stages of their work, the researchers
                                                                                                                          met with scepticism from the field. “The general
                                                                                                                                                                                     is willing to pay another company such an amount
                                                                                                                                                                                     for something that your research group started in



                                     the stop sign
                                                                                                                          attitude was that this had been tried before, notably      the kitchen sink, so to speak.”
                                                                                                                          in cancer, and that it would never work. Luckily, we
                                                                                                                          were supported right from the start by the Duchenne        Van Ommen emphasises that focusing on rare disor­
                                                                                                                          Parent Project, so the work could continue.”               ders is not a niche activity, but has a much broader
                                                                                                                                                                                     impact. “If this approach turns out to be successful,
                                                                                                                          The mood changed when in 2001, they published              it will benefit a broader group of patients. Everything
     Even if nobody perceives the potential of your work, it still pays off to patent your                                their tests on patient cells, demonstrating proof­of­      we are learning about now, such as dosage, toxicity,
     results. For all you know, a multimillion-dollar deal might be waiting just around                                   concept. “In 2002, I came into contact with Gerard         efficacy and mode of action, can be used in the
                                                                                                                          Platenburg, who had just started a new university          development of anti­sense therapies for other
     the corner.                                                                                                          spin­off. They were interested in our work, which          disorders. Moreover, it is my strong conviction that
                                                                                                                          is how ProSensa got involved. When in 2003 we              studying rare diseases provides us with many clues
     His active membership of the Human Genome                   In 2000, Van Ommen’s group filed its first patent        showed that our approach was effective in all relevant     for treating the symptoms of common diseases.
     Organisation HUGO, of which he was president from           application, which related to the use of exon skipping   mutations, research groups from all over the world         Rare disorders offer a very good human model for
     1998 to 2000, opened his eyes to the importance             in treating Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).           jumped on board.” To cut a long story short, in 2006       complex disorders. Exon skipping offers potential
     of patenting, says Gertjan van Ommen, Professor of          Basically, in patients suffering from DMD – a rare,      ProSensa initiated clinical trials, first with the LUMC    for developing new therapies for common diseases.
     Human Genetics at the LUMC. “During my time on              lethal genetic disorder characterised by a progressive   and later with groups in Belgium and Sweden, which         If we can programme the body to produce proteins
     the HUGO IP committee, it became clear to me that           weakening of the muscles – there is a misplaced          were successful from the start. In 2009, ProSensa          at a different site or in different quantities, we
     while patents can stifle research aimed at plain disco­     ‘stop signal’ in the gene coding for the protein         entered into a deal worth potentially 450 million euro     might be able to address particular symptoms of,
     very without a clear function – as in the case of DNA       dystrophin. As a result, the gene cannot be properly     with GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s leading           for example, severe migraine, rheumatoid arthritis
     snippets – they are essential when aiming for clinical      processed by the cellular machinery and the protein      pharmaceutical companies, which underlines the             or certain types of dementia, and to do so even with­
     applications of your scientific results. In fact, I would   is therefore not produced. Exon skipping provides a      strong potential of the exon skipping approach.            out having completely unravelled the underlying
     go even further, and say that if you don’t patent your      way to circumvent the stop signal and allow for pro­     A major achievement, according to Van Ommen.               cause of that disease. Patients generally don’t care
     results, your work is at risk of being ignored by the       duction of a slightly shorter dystrophin, which leads    “This was the first deal for big pharma that related       about the cause; they are happy if you can treat
     industry. But you need to learn to think in this way.”      to a much milder form of the disease.                    to a rare disorder. It is really exciting that a company   the symptoms.” ET



22 M O V I N G F O R W A R D B Y C O L L A B O R AT I O N                                                                                                                                                                                      23
                        From blunt refusal
                                                                                                                      to improvements for patients. If we were to publish       The development, production and sales of the
                                                                                                                      our results and leave our antibodies in the freezer,      test kits are now completely the responsibility of
                                                                                                                      we might score a nice paper, but the patients would       Europroxima. In return, the Koning group and the



                          to full support
                                                                                                                      never benefit. A commercial track is the only way to      LUMC will receive advance payments and royal­
                                                                                                                      develop viable test kits.”                                ties. Even though Koning has been involved in the
                                                                                                                                                                                project for almost twelve years, handing it over to
                                                                                                                      Unfortunately, at the time, the LUMC did not share        Europroxima was not a big issue. “We have brought
                                                                                                                      their point of view. A first proposal in 2001 to set up   it this far, now it is up to them. I have no problem
                                                                                                                      a commercial venture to develop the test was bluntly      with that.” Nor is he likely to be bored since there
     Assessing whether food products can be labelled ‘gluten-free’ will soon gain a serious                           refused. Thanks to a European subsidy, the scientific     a several other application­driven projects currently
     quality impulse due to a new type of test method. Frits Koning: “In our case, a commer-                          work could be continued. Koning admits that this          on his plate. “These new test kits are aimed at food
                                                                                                                      part took a lot longer than expected. On the upside,      companies and regulatory authorities. They can use
     cial track is the only way to ensure benefits for patients.”                                                     the general attitude towards valorisation changed         the kits to assess whether a product can be labelled
                                                                                                                      completely. “When we proposed our plans the second        ‘gluten­free’. It would also be nice to have test kits
     Coeliac disease is a chronic intestinal disorder       when we discovered that only certain fragments of         time, we received full support from the LUMC and          that patients can use themselves. We are exploring
     characterised by intolerance to gluten – a family      the gluten cause the inflammatory reaction,” Koning       LURIS. What I really appreciate is that the LURIS         the possibilities of developing such home kits.
     of proteins largely present in wheat. Everyday food    recalls. During the next two years, the researchers       team took a neutral position. That helps, because it’s    Another project focuses on producing gluten that
     products such as bread and pasta, but also biscuits,   were able to reveal which specific fragments are          very tempting to be less than critical when it comes      does not contain the toxic fragments. All in all, it
     beer and numerous other products, are off­limits to    toxic to patients. “That is when the idea emerged for     to your own plans. Once we had them convinced,            is good to see that we can really do something for
     patients suffering from coeliac disease. Consump­      developing detection kits to test food products for       they really got to work for us and helped us with         patients. That’s very rewarding.” With all these ideas
     tion of these foods causes inflammation of the small   the presence of these fragments. We immediately           prior art studies and patent filings, and also with       and commercial opportunities, did he not consider
     intestine, which results in abdominal pain and diar­   recognized the commercial potential of such a test.”      the negotiations with our commercial partner.” That       starting up his own company? “Maybe I will at some
     rhoea, and can lead to malnourishment and growth       According to Koning, their work on coeliac disease        commercial partner is Europroxima, a company speci­       point, but only if I can also remain in research,
     impairment in young children. Since 1995, Frits        clearly illustrates that basic science and commercial     alised in food safety diagnostics. “They managed to       because that’s where my heart really lies.” ET
     Koning, Professor of Immunohaematology and Blood       value are not necessarily mutually exclusive. On          develop our prototype into a commercial test kit
     Transfusion at the LUMC, has been active in coeliac    the contrary: “In our case, commercialisation is es­      within one year. I find that really impressive. The
     disease research. “Our breakthrough came in 1998,      sential to ensure that scientific results actually lead   kits will become commercially available very soon.”



24 M O V I N G F O R W A R D B Y C O L L A B O R AT I O N                                                                                                                                                                                25
                         Building on a
                      knowledge economy
     To boost the economy, a number of public-private partnerships (PPPs) have been
     established through Dutch government programmes. These PPPs entail a collaboration
     between academic research groups, university medical centres and industry (multi-
     nationals, SMEs and start-up companies). Leiden University and the LUMC are actively
     involved in a number of these large-scale initiatives.

     Top Institute Pharma (TI Pharma)
     The objective of the academic and industrial parties      decrease in side­effects. Some priority areas of BMM
     that participate in the TI Pharma is to improve the       research include biomaterials for use in cardiovas­
     development of medicines with social benefits.            cular, musculoskeletal and kidney diseases and for
     The research projects are geared towards generating       applications in coatings and drug delivery devices.
     knowledge that contributes to a better, faster and        Leiden is involved in 2 BMM projects.
     more cost­efficient development of new drugs. The
     programme targets diseases that have a major impact       Fonds Economische Structuurversterking (FES)
     on the modern world: immune and auto­immune               Knowledge is essential to be able to compete world
     diseases, infectious diseases, brain diseases,            wide and achieve economic growth. To stimulate
     cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Leiden is             that companies and knowledge institutes together
     involved in 22 TI Pharma projects.                        with the government will invest in the development,
                                                               dissemination and use of knowledge, several subsidy
     Centre for Translational Molecular Medicine (CTMM)        programmes were created. A number of themes
     CTMM develops medical technologies that enable            were chosen as focus areas: high tech systems and
     the design of new and ‘personalized’ treatments of        materials; food and flowers; water, climate and space;
     major disease areas and the rapid transmission of         chemistry and energy; life sciences and health;
     these treatments to the patients. The CTMM research       ICT; creative industry, and education.
     programme builds on four technology platforms:
     Molecular Diagnostics, Molecular Imaging, Patient         SmartMix
     Stratification and Imaging­guided and Activated           In 2007 the ministries of Economic Affairs and
     Therapeutics. Leiden is involved in 3 CTMM projects.      Education made a 100 million euro investment in
                                                               seven consortia for longer term and more in­depth
     BioMedical Materials programme (BMM)                      research, which is expected to lead to breakthroughs
     Worldwide socioeconomic trends drive the need for         that will strengthen the international position of the
     innovations in medical treatment that keep health­        Netherlands. The purpose of the collaboration is to
     care affordable and that meet the demand for a            utilise the whole knowledge chain, from fundamental
     higher quality of life. Biomedical materials fulfil the   and applied research to pre­competitive development
     demand for better medical treatment because they          (prototypes). Leiden researchers are coordinating
     contribute to less invasive therapies, less need for      two of these initiatives and participating in
     revision surgery, shorter recovery times and a            another two. ET




26 M O V I N G F O R W A R D B Y C O L L A B O R AT I O N                                                               27
                   Commercialisation
                 requires collaboration
     LURIS offers a wide variety of services to assist scientists in their commercialisation
     efforts. Maximum benefit requires early involvement, according to Bob Smailes.

     “To me, this volume is a celebration of the success of    for the new company to develop. Smailes: “There          and public­private partnerships. Finally, they support       in turn enhances the research base. Furthermore,
     academics in commercialising their work,” says Bob        are several financial instruments available. We can      researchers in setting up a consortium and can help          both the inventors and the institute share in the
     Smailes, Director of LURIS the Technology Transfer        also assist in identifying external professionals who    to align the expectations of academic and industrial         revenues of the successful exploitation of their
     Office (TTO) in Leiden. “Their stories show that          can strengthen the management of new companies.”         partners.                                                    invention. In addition, building a broader track record
     academic excellence and successful valorisation can       Licensing and company formation are two important                                                                     makes it easier in the future to get funding for new
     go hand in hand. Here in Leiden, especially, where        areas of activity for LURIS. “At any given time, we      The third package of services consists of consultancy        research projects. And it might also open the way
     translational research and life sciences are priority     have somewhere between six and ten new companies         activities. Smailes: “We facilitate the ability of acade­    to new career opportunities.” Whatever the motives,
     areas, commercialisation is often complementary           under evaluation. The figures from last year show that   mics to offer their expertise to companies, both large       researchers shouldn’t wait too long before contacting
     to the academic drive. Commercialisation covers           the number of licences has exceeded earlier expec­       and small, and to government agencies both in and            LURIS. “Collaboration with academics is crucial for
     a whole spectrum of activities such as negotiating        tations. In total, we generated in excess of 5 million   outside the Netherlands. We furthermore facilitate           our services to be of optimal use. No TTO can keep
     the right to publish, handling intellectual property,     euro in royalties. This year we expect the amount will   access to the wealth of facilities and expertise avai­       up with all the work that is going on within such large
     and protecting the right to do future research. It is a   be higher still.”                                        lable within the University and LUMC, which can be           institutions as the University and LUMC”. Scientists
     people­driven process in which diverging expectati­                                                                particularly useful for newly formed companies. This         who are not active in physical and life sciences
     ons have to be managed. If you conduct the process        The second package relates to collaborative research.    service is also available to companies in general.”          or medical research should not shy away, Smailes
     in a professional manner and negotiate all potential      “Collaborative projects with the industry are a major                                                                 stresses. “It would be wrong to think that there are
     issues up front, problems can easily be avoided.”         example of how commercialisation is put into             All in all, a full­service portfolio. But why would          no opportunities for commercialisation in other fields.
     This is why Smailes emphasis the importance of con­       practice. Over recent years, a large number of public­   scientists be interested in commercialisation activi­        My favourite example is Stanford University, one the
     tacting LURIS at an early stage. “Our door is always      private partnerships have been established by the        ties? “There is a particular satisfaction in seeing the      world’s most successful universities in commerciali­
     open to scientists who want to discuss their ideas.       Dutch government, and Leiden has been tremen­            fruits of your work in the form of tangible products         sation. For years, their major royalty flow came from
     The sooner we get involved, the better we can protect     dously successful in these large­scale programmes.       or clear benefits for patients.” But there is more to it     a licence with Yamaha on electric organs. The con­
     your academic rights and responsibilities.”               The value of these programmes comes to over several      than just an altruistic motivation. Smailes: “There are      tract was based on an invention by their Music
                                                               tens of millions of euros per year. In addition to       benefits for the local and national economy, which           Department.” ET
     The services offered by LURIS can be divided into         participating in these initiatives, LUMC has secured
     three packages. The first involves evaluating scien­      over 15 million euro p.a. solely from industrially                                                                  In
     tific findings and taking them to the next level. “We     funded research. This reflects the commercial                                                                     focus
     assist in the evaluation of ideas at an early stage to    relevance of the work at Leiden University and
     ensure that once we file for patents, those patents       LUMC, which in turn justifies governmental support            Leiden University Research &                            New companies/spin-offs
     will have an optimal chance of reaching the market.       for our research.” LURIS’ role in this area includes          Innovation Services (LURIS)                             Kenn Curt Daniël
     With this aim in mind, we pay the costs associated        drawing up contracts and assisting in negotiations            Bob Smailes, Director
     with patent applications and maintenance, and we          on intellectual property (IP). Furthermore, the LURIS         Laura MacDonald, Deputy Director                        Subsidies
     proactively set out to market the technologies. This      team provides detailed information on national,                                                                       Anna Groeninx
     can be done either by searching for parties who may       international and EU funding programmes, and                  Business & IP                                           Anke Klerkx
     be interested in licensing the technology, or by esta­    can assist researchers in the actual writing of grant         Art Bos                 Ivo de Nooijer
     blishing a new company.” In cases where forming a         applications. They also keep up with policy changes           Emilie Levivier         Hester Molenaar                 Consultancy Services
     company is the preferred path, LURIS has a number         and can, at a very early stage, inform researchers            Ehud Hauben             Isabel Wijffels                 Jeroen van der Leijé
     of tools in place to create an optimal environment        about potentially interesting government programmes           Marije Marsman          Alexander Mouret
                                                                                                                             Nicky Vogels            Karin Verzijden                 www.luris.nl



28                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             29
03                                                                                                                                   Show students
                                                                                                                                     entrepreneurial
                                                                                                                                       role models




                                             Service
                                          from science
                                                                                                                                                       The commercial
                                                                                                                                                            side of
                                                                                                                                                         archaeology




     Leiden University has a number of service companies under the Holding LEH, forming a linking pin between research and
     society. These service companies provide services that are developed on customer needs, and which build on already present
     academic knowledge. In this way, academic research finds its application in society. At the same time, customers bring in new
     ideas, questions or views that inspire new fundamental research, showing that applied and fundamental science can really
     work in synergy.




30                                                                                                                                                                      31
                 Show students
           entrepreneurial role models
     Physicist Joost Frenken feels it is his moral duty to share his results and techniques                           kicked in: they first put a low­quality walkman on       having their own company is a serious option. In the
     with society. His specially developed microscopes enable the study of physical, chemical                         the market and used customer responses to improve        United States, many PhD students start a company
                                                                                                                      the product until it was a sophisticated hi­fi device.   and make a flying start. Of course, nine out of ten
     and biological processes at molecular level under rough, real-world conditions.                                  In a similar way we managed to improve our initial       fail, but the tenth one scores big time. Europeans
                                                                                                                      microscope and now we can see the individual             are too afraid of failure.” He sees a huge business
     Professor Joost Frenken tries to find “fruit­flies”:      tures and pressures. “When you heat the material       atoms in the heating material.                           potential amongst students and believes the univer­
     specific model systems or processes that lead to          under a microscope, it expands and at some point it                                                             sity should provide them with more inspiring role
     more generic insights. Catalysis is a hot topic: “It is   becomes impossible to get a clear image. It used to    The equipment Frenken’s group develops is interes­       models. “As it happens, there is an excellent role
     used in the production of about ninety percent of all     be a sacred cow in microscopy that you did not mess    ting for third parties and is sold by the independent    model on our floor at the moment: an entrepreneur­
     the materials around us, from plastics to food. Most      around with the temperature.” Frenken slaughtered      company Leiden Probe Microscopy. This set­up             in­residence. This full­blooded businessman wanted
     well­functioning industrial processes are discovered      this sacred cow and after months of calculations       guarantees continuity and enables university staff       to spend six months in our group and look at the
     through trial and error, but we often do not know         and years of engineering his group made a micro­       to focus on developing new techniques. The company       commercial possibilities of our work. Together, we are
     how they work at molecular level. We can make some        scope that keeps imaging while materials are heated    takes over the production. The university can place      starting up a new company for producing graphene,
     educated guesses, but nature often resorts to tricks      up 1000 degrees. Doing this required letting go of     orders at a greatly reduced price, which is a big        the one­atom thick carbon layer that is the dream
     that surpass even our wildest imagination.”               another dogma: that you should be able to see every    pay­off when the cheapest components start at            material for future electronics. With our advanced
                                                               atom separately. “For many applications it is enough   around 100,000 euro.                                     techniques and his business skills this might turn
     Microscopes have to work under rough circumstances        to observe the material on a slightly larger scale,                                                             out to be a big success.” IS
     to study these processes in real­time. The standard       so with a sore heart, we let go of the aesthetics of   Frenken feels the lack of an entrepreneurial attitude
     equipment is unable to cope with the high tempera­        seeing the atomic level. And then the Sony effect      within the university: “Students do not realise that



32 S E R V I C E F R O M S C I E N C E                                                                                                                                                                                                  33
                                                                                                                      the rest of the project with this commercial client        responsibility to ensure that the archaeological
                                                                                                                      was too big for them. The university did not want to       research is done properly. They feel that public funds
                                                                                                                      take on the entire project control, including the finan­   are well spent on gaining more knowledge ­ especially
                                                                                                                      cial management and the risks of the contracts.”           regarding local history.”

                                                                                                                      The solution was to set up the Holding LEH, with           There is always some tension between the fast,
                                                                                                                      Archol as a company in the holding. Leeflang: “The         commercial world of Archol and the solid science
                                                                                                                      university is our only shareholder, but the fact that      of the university, but both sides see the advantages
                                                                                                                      we are an independent company leaves us with quite         of this set­up. Archol feeds part of the analyses to
                                                                                                                      a lot of room for independent action.” The commer­         university experts, delivers materials for practicals,
                                                                                                                      cial market for archaeology includes many one­man          and finances equipment. In addition, the company




                   The commercial side
                                                                                                                      businesses and a constant number of larger players.        gives students a glimpse of the real world in work
                                                                                                                      The free market system has many opponents, but             placements and fieldwork. Leeflang: “Our employees
                                                                                                                      Leeflang sees its advantages: “A huge number of            also teach classes and we see that more and more
                                                                                                                      excavations have to be carried out and you cannot do       of the innovations and techniques we use end up in



                     of archaeology
                                                                                                                      them all in the same way. It’s heart­breaking to see       the practicals, which is good, because the majority of
                                                                                                                      something go wrong, because there are no second            the students will end up in the commercial market.”
                                                                                                                      chances. But we should also put things in perspec­         Archol benefits from the expertise of the university
                                                                                                                      tive. Human error can never be completely avoided          staff and is able to scout talented students. The link
                                                                                                                      and in the long run the free market yields a wealth        with the faculty makes it easier for faculty staff to
                                                                                                                      of new knowledge.”                                         combine commercial work with research.
     Archol, a university company for archaeological research, met with much resistance at
     the time of its foundation. Faculty staff feared that the science of archaeology would                           There is no fundamental difference between Archol          Leeflang thinks that Archol is a bit different from
                                                                                                                      and purely commercial companies. They respond              other university companies, but would like to have
     be sold to the highest bidder. Commercial rivals predicted that a university company                             to tenders for the same assignments. However, for          more contact with the other companies: “It’s a pity
     would not survive for long. General Manager Caroline Leeflang is proud to say that                               Archol, the focus is always on the increase in know­       I don’t know the other companies in the holding.
                                                                                                                      ledge. Leeflang: “This was the whole idea behind           We must all be running into the same problems,
     Archol proved all of these critics wrong: “We never argue, we just do our job. And we                            the Malta convention. It is not about digging up as        even though the content or the activities might be
     do it well.”                                                                                                     much as you can and writing thousands of reports.          different. It would be nice to exchange experiences:
                                                                                                                      It is about acquiring more insights. Part of our           how do you run your company, how do you handle
     Changes in the archaeological market were the            developer had to pay for the necessary archaeological   added value is that we try to link new projects to         commercial clients, how do you deal with the tension
     indirect cause of Archol’s Foundation in 1996.           research. This opened up the market for commercial      existing research.”                                        between the university and the business world?
     Four years earlier The convention on the protection of   archaeological research.                                                                                           More contact would be good for the companies, for
     the archaeological heritage of Europe (often referred                                                            This approach and the connection with the university       the university and for LURIS. It would also be easier
     to as Malta convention or Valletta treaty) was signed.   The immediate cause of Archol’s foundation was the      are both a blessing and a curse. Some private clients      for start­up companies if there were some kind
     This meant that project developers had to make           construction of the Betuweroute railway line. As part   are put off by the university connection: “They fear       of network. We could advise them on practical
     sure that no archaeological valuables were destroyed     of this enormous project, a number of Stone Age         a lot of fuss and unworldly academics with tooth­          matters such as salary records and the struggle
     on their construction sites. The Netherlands chose       sites had to be excavated. Leeflang: “The university    brushes at excavation sites. On the other hand,            with accommodation.” IS
     an implementation of the convention whereby the          knew exactly how to do the archaeological work, but     local authorities see it as a part of their social



34 S E R V I C E F R O M S C I E N C E                                                                                                                                                                                                    35
Valorisation over time 1984 - 2000                                                                                                                                                                             Gilles van Wezel
                                                                                                                                                                                                               (Leiden Institute of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 This timeline contains
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 some key elements for
                                                                                                                                                                                                               Chemistry) files patent            illustrative purposes.
     INFRASTRUCTURE & SUPPORTING ACTIVITIES
                                                                                                                                                                                                               on the role of a protein
     COMMERCIALISATION BREAKTHROUGH
                                                                                                                                                                                                               called SsgA in cell divi­
     DEAL
                                                                                                                                                                                                               sion and fragmentation
     SPIN-OFF
                                                                                                                                                                                                               of the hyphae.


                                                                               Medis is founded by                                                                            Archol BV is established                          LAP&P Consultants BV
                                                                               researchers of the LUMC                                                                        within Leiden University,                         starts providing services
                                                                               Laboratory for Clinical                                                                        which provides archeolo­                          for drug development
                                                                               and Experimental Image                                                                         gical research services                           building on their inter­
                                                                               Processing to create                                                                           to third parties.                                 disciplinary expertise
                                                                               software solutions for the                                                                                                                       on pharmacokinetic
          Leiden BioSciencePark
                                                                               medical specialties of                                                                                                                           and ­dynamic modelling.
          is initiated to grow
                                                                               cardiology and radiology.
          into a leading Bio
          Science Park.




      1984         1985              1986     1987            1988          1989        1990                1991              1992   1993            1994           1995   1996           1997             1998            1999            2000




          First business incubator               Centre for Human                                                                                                                                                                               The LUMC department
          is opened by BioPartner                Drug Research CHDR                                                                                                                                                                             of Cardiology starts
          Center Leiden, which is                starts as a full service                                                                                                                                                                       to design intelligent
          supported by the Dept.                 contract research                                                                                                                                                                              electronic patient data­
          Of Economic Affairs,                   organisation (CRO).                                                                                                                                                                            base software, this later
          City of Leiden, Leiden                                                                                                                                              Libertatis Ergo Holding,                                          formed the basis for
          University and LUMC.                                                                                                                                                the Holding for Leiden                                            the establishment of
                                                                                                                                                                              University is established.                                        EPD Vision BV.



          Centocor Leiden                                                                                   LU and SPSS Inc.                       LU researchers and                         Frits Koning’s
          was established after                                                                         agree on an exclusive                       IntroGene together               group (LUMC Dept. of
          Centocor had been                                                                               license to SPSS for                   develop the first manu­               Immunohaematology
          working on monoclonal                                                                         software development                  facturing platform based              and Blood Bank) had a
          antibodies in the US                                                                        and distribution of soft­             on a human cell line. This             breakthrough when they
          since 1979. The plant                                                                        ware analysis routines                 technology together with                 discovered that only
          was opened in 1986.                                                                          developed by the Dept                the acquisition of U­BiSys                    certain fragments
                                                                                                             of Data Theory of              is crucial to the establish­                 of gluten cause an
                                                                                                         Social Sciences with                ment of Crucell in 2000.               inflammatory reaction.
                                                                                                        Jacqueline Meulman.

                                                                                                                                                                                    The Academic Langage                Dutch biotechnology
                                                                                                                                                                                    Center was established        company Crucell discovers
                                                                                                                                                                                      from the Humanities,        and develops antibody and
                                                                                                                                                                                     English Language and           vaccine products against
                                                                                                                                                                                           Culture studies.        cancer, inflammatory and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         infectious diseases.
36                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  37
04                                                                                                                                      The success
                                                                                                                                        story of the
                                                                                                                                         Leiden Bio
                                                                                                                                        Science Park



                                     Strength
                                 through regional                                                                                                                     Visualizing
                                                                                                                                                                        the cell



                                   development
                                                                                                                                                        Sounding
                                                                                                                                                          board
                                                                                                                                                       and sparring
                                                                                                                                                         partner




     Essential to innovative research is the availability of cutting­edge equipment and platforms. The Leiden BioScience Park is a
     central hub when it comes to life sciences, and much of its large scale infrastructure is supported by its companies, knowledge
     institutes and (local) government. This joint effort to build this unique open infrastructure with new facilities like NeCEN and
     the NMC Demonstration and Competence Lab, serves both research progress and economic development of the region.




38                                                                                                                                                                                  39
                   The success story of the
                 Leiden Bio Science Park
     In 2009, the Leiden Bio Science Park was chosen as the best business park in the
     Netherlands. What makes this collaboration between research institutes and
     commercial companies so successful?

     When the Bio Science Park was started in 1984, it                   Leiden University and LUMC are a major reason
     was born out of a conscious decision to specialise                  for the park’s success. Research institutes and
     in biomedical sciences. This was a daring choice at                 university buildings are located within the park,
     a time when most business parks combined a broad                    which makes it natural for researchers to work in
     range of company types. But the cluster of highly                   close co­operation with the industry. LURIS acts as
     specialised companies and research institutes soon                  a mediator between the academic and commercial
     became very attractive for new businesses. With the                 worlds. Ideas from research enable companies to
     consistent policy of concentrating on the biomedi­                  be highly innovative. For the researchers, it is very
     cal sciences, and the co­operative approach of the                  rewarding that their academic work leads to the
     local authorities, the science park was able to thrive.             development of new medicines, therapies and
     Today, the Leiden Bio Science Park is the largest                   medical devices.
     biomedical life science park in the Netherlands
     with approximately sixty companies, from leading                    This fruitful collaboration and strong focus on life
     biopharmaceutical companies like Centocor to                        sciences help explain why the Leiden Bio Science
     fresh start­ups.                                                    Park beat 121 Dutch business parks for the title
                                                                         of the Business Park of the Year. IS




                                                                         Nettie Buitelaar, CEO
                                                                         Leiden Bio Science Park




40 S T R E N G T H T H R O U G H R E G I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T                                                           41
                                                                                                                                 Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the other        present. Sample processing, data collection and
                                                                                                                                 main funding body of NeCEN is the European Fund              data storage are all automated processes. All in all,
                                                                                                                                 for Regional Development. In this context, NeCEN             NeCEN is the first centre in Europe to offer all these
                                                                                                                                 is not only seen as a scientific activity, but also as       possibilities and services.”
                                                                                                                                 an infrastructural means to further strengthen the
                                                                                                                                 development of the greater Leiden area.                      The benefits for scientists interested in biological
                                                                                                                                                                                              processes at cellular and molecular level are obvious,
                                                                                                                                 What is so special about the facilities offered by           but what’s in it for a ‘hardcore’ biophysical chemist
                                                                                                                                 NeCEN? Abrahams: “The NeCEN microscopes will                 such as Abrahams? “NeCEN provides us with an
                                                                                                                                 allow us to visualize molecular structures at very           excellent opportunity to further develop the techno­
                                                                                                                                 high resolution. The current record is 3.3 Angstrom.         logy.” Together with a number of European partners,
                                                                                                                                 To give you an idea, that means that we can visually         including CERN, the Abrahams group is working
                                                                                                                                 distinguish the different amino acids within a protein       on a new type of electron detector. A first prototype
                                                                                                                                 structure. Another major feature is that we no longer        has been developed, which is 20 to 100 times more



                        Visualizing the cell
                                                                                                                                 need crystals, which gives us a real advantage over          sensitive than the most advanced detectors available
                                                                                                                                 conventional x­ray diffraction technology.“ Also,            at present. “Once we can create such a detector, we
                                                                                                                                 automation and high throughput technologies have             will be getting close to visualising a cell and all its
                                                                                                                                 become available in electron microscopy, which               components in molecular or even atomic detail.”
                                                                                                                                 allows researchers throughout the Netherlands to             This is where his true passion lies. Abrahams:
                                                                                                                                 access and use the NeCEN facilities from their               “I want to be able to see things that nobody
     Studying the relationship between health and disease can take many different forms.                                         own labs. “It’s no longer necessary to be physically         else can see.” ET
     One of them is to literally look at the molecules involved in cellular processes using
                                                                                                                                                                                            In
     highly advanced electron microscopes. And very soon, Leiden will be the place to go                                                                                                  focus

     for this type of research.                                                                                                       Medical Delta
                                                                                                                                      The Netherlands wishes to become one of the             healthcare approach, one which contributes
                                                                                                                                      most innovative and competitive knowledge               to effective treatment, quick recovery, or the
     In the spring of 2011, the first measurements                       for advanced electron microscopy. Leiden University,         economies in the world. The exploitation of             prevention of disease manifestation. These
     will take place at the new Netherlands Centre for                   supported by its Medical Delta partners Delft and            scientific knowledge available at and acquired          ambitions are to be realized in partnership with
     Nanoscopy (NeCEN), which will be located beside                     Rotterdam, as well as by the city of Leiden, was             by universities and other knowledge institutes          a range of organizations from industry and the
     the Gorlaeus Laboratory in the Bio Science Park.                    selected to act as host to NeCEN. “The presence of           is essential to achieve this goal.                      social sector, spanning the development chain
     “Advanced research requires increasingly expensive                  the Bio Science Park definitely played a role. NeCEN         Leiden University, Delft University of Technology,      from patient need to healthcare product or
     infrastructure. Such investments are beyond the                     is not only geared towards the needs of academia,            Leiden University Medical Center, Erasmus Me-           service. Synergy between beyond-state-of-the-
     reach of individual research groups or even individual              it also caters to industry. For many life sciences           dical Center Rotterdam and Erasmus University           art technology and the full healthcare chain is
     universities,” says Jan Pieter Abrahams, Professor of               and biopharmaceutical companies, access to such              Rotterdam have given the highest priority to            at the heart of our consortium.
     Biophysical Structural Chemistry at Leiden University               advanced imaging facilities is crucial.” Since the           the interest of our ‘knowledge-based society’.          Based upon the existing strengths Medical
     and director of NeCEN.                                              presence of facilities such as NeCEN is important for        Based on this conviction, they have focussed            Delta chose to focus its activities around three
                                                                         the overall attractiveness of the Bio Science Park,          their research strength with the support of the         technology platforms that will contribute to
     To secure a world­class infrastructure for bio­imaging              the city of Leiden was supportive from the onset.            province of Zuid-Holland to form the Medical            the before mentioned ambitions, being:
     in the Netherlands, Dutch universities decided to join              Their involvement also provided leads to unexpected          Delta Consortium.                                       - Image-Guided Medicine
     forces and come up with a plan for a national facility              financial sources. In addition to the Netherlands            Medical Delta’s goal is to develop and imple-           - Interventions and Care
                                                                                                                                      ment new technology for a more personalized             - Targeted Molecular Technology

42 S T R E N G T H T H R O U G H R E G I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T                                                                                                                                                                                  43
                                                                                                                                   community. The Demonstration and Competence                are now. Our Demonstration and Competence Lab is
                                                                                                                                   Lab provides an ideal environment for the validation       currently implementing and applying six validated
                                                                                                                                   of new technologies, for demonstration and feasibility     platforms, which makes us international leaders in
                                                                                                                                   studies and for training scientists to work with           the public domain. Such a result would normally only
                                                                                                                                   metabolomics. They are at present analyzing the            have been possible within the industry, but access
                                                                                                                                   first larger clinical studies comprising thousands         would have been limited. Because we are a public­
                                                                                                                                   of samples. According to Hankemeier, the Demon­            private partnership, our results are available to the
                                                                                                                                   stration and Competence Lab is a very interesting          public.” There is also the Metabolomics Data Support
                                                                                                                                   model to make new technological developments               Platform, that comprises data processing and hand­
                                                                                                                                   easily available to scientists around the world. “Our      ling in a data warehouse. Together with the Nether­
                                                                                                                                   approach is attracting international attention. We are,    lands Bioinformatics Centre (NBIC), NMC is also
                                                                                                                                   for example, the only competence lab in Europe to          making these tools available to the community.
                                                                                                                                   participate in an NIH Glue Grant proposal on




                    Sounding board and
                                                                                                                                   pharmacometabolomics.”                                     The close involvement of LURIS in the ‘making of
                                                                                                                                                                                              the NMC’ has paid off, says Hankemeier. “Their
                                                                                                                                   Overall, he feels that the way the NMC is organized        approach is refreshing. If I need something parti­
                                                                                                                                   clearly generates added value. “If we had gone for         cular, or if I want to discuss a wild idea, I contact



                      sparring partner
                                                                                                                                   a more traditional open programme with a number            the LURIS team. They are a good sounding board
                                                                                                                                   of individual projects, we would never be where we         as well as a good sparring partner.” ET

                                                                                                                                                                                            In
                                                                                                                                                                                          focus

                                                                                                                                        NGI Genomics Centres in Leiden
     “I first contacted LURIS at a very early stage in our efforts to set up a national network                                         The Netherlands Genomics Initiative (NGI) was         Netherlands Centre for Healthy Ageing (NCHA)
     for metabolomics research. My many discussions with the LURIS team, in particular                                                  founded in 2001 to create an infrastructure for         Living a longer and healthier life
                                                                                                                                        top­level genomics research in the Netherlands.
     with Bob Smailes and Laura MacDonald, really helped us to organize this large-scale                                                NGI has set up a network of 16 large­scale            Forensic Genomics Consortium Netherlands (FGCN)
     endeavour,” says Thomas Hankemeier, Professor of Analytical Biosciences at Leiden                                                  Genomics Centres, five of which are co­                 Increasing the crime­solving rate
                                                                                                                                        ordinated by Leiden University or the LUMC.
     University and scientific director of the Netherlands Metabolomics Centre (NMC).                                                                                                         Together, the five centres have devised a
                                                                                                                                        Centre for Medical Systems Biology (CMSB)             structural approach to valorisation, which is
     “We knew that the NMC was going to be a large­scale                 In this way, the two types of projects are continuously          Improving the diagnosis, treatment and              characterised by close collaboration and making
     public­private partnership and we tried to come up                  cross­pollinating. Valorisation is built in, because             prevention of common and rare diseases              optimal use of the services and expertise offered
     with a structure that generated as much synergy and                 the technology developed by NMC is directly applied                                                                  by LURIS. For this approach, the NGI Centres
     information exchange between the partners and out­                  to address issues in health, food, plants and                  Coeliac Disease Consortium (CDC)                      were awarded the 2008 1 million euro NGI
     side the consortium as possible. One of the results                 industrial biotechnology.”                                       Safer foods, better diagnosis and                   Valorisation Award. According to the jury, “the
     of those discussions is our distinction between Core                                                                                 effective treatment                                 Leiden approach serves as an example of how
     Projects, which focus on tackling key bottlenecks in                Another distinguishing feature of the NMC is the                                                                     scientific findings can be translated into
     the technology, and Associate Projects, which are                   Demonstration and Competence Lab here in Leiden,               Netherlands Metabolomics Centre (NMC)                 benefits for society”.
     driven by concrete biological questions and employ                  where several high throughput technology platforms               Metabolomics technology to improve
     the technology developed in the Core Projects.                      are made available for the international scientific              personal health and the quality of life



44 S T R E N G T H T H R O U G H R E G I O N A L D E V E L O P M E N T                                                                                                                                                                                45
05                                                                                                                                It’s not about
                                                                                                                                 getting as many
                                                                                                                                   publications
                                                                                                                                    as you can



                                        An inspiring
                                         academic
                                        environment
                                                                                                                                                        Twice
                                                                                                                                                       the fun




     Fundamental scientific research inspires talented minds that take research beyond what we already know. They ask new
     questions that may not seem immediately relevant at the time but result in answers that open new doors for industry and
     society. A different perspective can help to find new solutions when solving practical issues. Reversely, the environment
     of question­driven science can inspire researchers in all fields to look at the underlying mechanisms and also excel in
                                                                                                                                    “Writing a
     fundamental research.
                                                                                                                                  European pro-
                                                                                                                                 posal is a bit like
                                                                                                                                   renovating a
                                                                                                                                      house’


46                                                                                                                                                               47
                                                                                                                        about family life as an enriching aspect rather than        whether people will actually use these technological
                                                                                                                        as a problem, employees feel better, perform better         innovations, and that is where my expertise
                                                                                                                        at their jobs and are at the same time healthier.           comes in.”
                                                                                                                        This can be measured in concrete outcomes, such
                                                                                                                        as higher sales volumes and lower blood pressure.”          Carbon­dioxide capture and storage is an example of
                                                                                                                        This project showed that theory­driven research can         a situation where political decisions have to be made
                                                                                                                        yield very practical conclusions. ING happily imple­        on technologically complex problems, and where the
                                                                                                                        mented a number of the suggested changes, and               public cannot easily form an independent opinion.
                                                                                                                        an article about this work won the Best Paper Award         In these cases, standard polls often yield pseudo­
                                                                                                                        of the scientific journal in which it was published.        opinions, where respondents literally say: “I have
                                                                                                                                                                                    never heard of this before, but I do have an opinion.”
                                                                                                                        Ellemers’ research is often driven by practical             These pseudo­opinions are useless for political
                                                                                                                        questions. “This makes my work more difficult,              decision­making, since they may change from


       It’s not about getting as many
                                                                                                                        because I try to combine data from perfectly                week to week.
                                                                                                                        controlled experimental settings with more ‘messy’
                                                                                                                        observations from the field. It also means that my          Ellemers investigated which way of presenting



            publications as you can
                                                                                                                        publications are not always eligible for the best           information enables people to form a real opinion.
                                                                                                                        journals. But these are the questions that seem most        Her research showed that the source of information
                                                                                                                        important to me.” She teaches her students that the         is as important as the arguments provided. “People
                                                                                                                        main goal of a researcher should be to find things          trust the anti­pollution movement. If this movement
                                                                                                                        out: “It’s not about making a career for yourself or        argues that something is good for the environment,
     Social psychologist Naomi Ellemers prefers interesting research questions to fast                                  about getting as many prestigious publications as           the public is inclined to adopt it as a fact. If an oil
                                                                                                                        possible. Of course you shouldn’t be naive. You need        company offers the exact same argument, people are
     success. She has often chosen the hard way by examining imperfect data from real-life                              the publications on your CV to help you secure a job        not convinced, because they do not believe that an
     situations. Her 2010 NWO Spinoza Award and her many other prizes show that these                                   or acquire new research funds, but building your CV         oil company is interested in the environment. So our
                                                                                                                        should not be a goal in itself.”                            advice is not only to present the facts and arguments,
     were fruitful decisions.                                                                                                                                                       but to inform the public about the different suppor­
                                                                                                                        She emphasises that university staff should never           ters of the arguments and who was involved in the
     Professor Naomi Ellemers studies how people’s               work is valuable. A successful example is the colla­   forget that they are not a contract research agency.        process.”
     behaviour is influenced by others, often in a work          boration with the ING Bank on their annual employee    “When budgets are tight it seems tempting to do
     context. “To some extent, human behaviour can be            satisfaction survey. Elianne van Steenbergen, a        something for a company, but you should only do             The tragedy of social psychology is that not everyone
     explained through individual choices and competen­          student of Ellemers, developed part of the survey      that if the question is scientifically interesting. It’s    appreciates the value of the research: “Technology
     ces. But this approach has its limitations, because         questionnaire during a work placement. ING was so      not a wise choice to take on an assignment just for         seems very clever, because most people do not
     people often seem to act irrationally. My field focuses     pleased with her work that they decided to pay her     the money.” It is a challenge for researchers to apply      understand how it works. In hindsight our work often
     precisely on this seemingly irrational part by studying     to do a PhD and spend four years on further research   scientific insights to socially relevant questions. Elle­   sounds very obvious when we explain it. But you
     group processes and determining predictable patterns        extending the company data. The topic of the           mers is, for instance, involved in CATO, a programme        do need scientific research to find the key factors
     in behaviour that cannot be explained from rational         research was the work­life balance. One of the main    on carbon­dioxide capture and storage: “Everybody           that affect people’s behaviours.” In that sense, her
     choice models.”                                             findings was that the way supervisors and colleagues   wants to reduce CO emissions. The technicalities of         Spinoza Award feels like a vote of confidence, rather
                                                                 approach this dual commitment has an impact above      capturing and storing carbon­dioxide are very compli­       like being told: “Your work is useful; here is a big
     Companies often assume that their employees are             and beyond the objective conditions, such as the       cated, so it is clear that this problem requires input      bag of money and we trust you to do something
     rational decision­makers and this is where Ellemers’        number of working hours. “If the supervisor speaks     from exact scientists. But public opinion determines        good with it.” IS

48 A N I N S P I R I N G A C A D E M I C E N V I R O N M E N T                                                                                                                                                                                49
                                      Twice the fun
     Gilles van Wezel advocates combining fundamental and applied research. “It creates                                    Although the new company never really took off, the      saw a strong increase in the rate of production of
                                                                                                                           experience was worthwhile. “It gave me interesting       antibiotics, but a host of new types of antibiotics
     interesting leads in both directions.”                                                                                insights into the workings of the industry.” In 2009,    could also be produced.” Considering the current
                                                                                                                           he received a prestigious STW VICI grant, and is one     surge in drug­resistant bacterial strains and the
     Gilles van Wezel, Professor of Molecular Biotechno­         really well right from the start. As early as 1998, we    of the first researchers at a classical university to    complete lack of new antibiotics being developed,
     logy at Leiden University, first entered the world of       filed for a patent on the role of a protein called SsgA   receive such a grant. Previously, almost all laureates   the relevance of Van Wezel’s research is obvious.
     applied research in 1997. He was approached by              in cell division and fragmentation of the hyphae.”        had been based at technical universities. According      “We definitely need new antibiotics, and Streptomy­
     Gist­Brocades, now part of DSM, to help them impro­                                                                   to Van Wezel, this shows that there is increasing        ces shows great potential in that respect. But a lot of
     ve the growth of Streptomyces. This soil bacterium          Van Wezel also became increasingly fascinated by the      recognition of the need for a strong fundamental         work still has to be done before we can exploit that
     is one of the industry’s main sources of antibiotics,       applied aspects of the research. “We got interesting      basis for applied research. “The industry usually        potential. Compare it to oil. All the easily accessible
     but its fungus­like filamentous structure hampers           leads that provided input for more fundamental            takes a ‘black box’ approach, focusing on output         stocks have been consumed; we now need to drill
     large­scale industrial production. The long ‘threads’       research. In my view, basic science and applied           rather than understanding. But if you want to inter­     deeper.” Industrial interest mostly comes from smal­
     or hyphae formed by Streptomyces lump together,             research can coexist really well. Fundamental             fere with a biological process in a targeted manner,     ler players in the pharmaceutical industry, as ‘big
     which strongly decreases the overall growth rate and        insights create new starting points for application­      you really need to understand that process in detail.”   pharma’ is not terribly interested in antibiotics, due
     thus the product yield. The problem did not, however,       driven work, whereas applied research can raise all                                                                to the relatively low profit in this sector, compared to
     immediately appeal to his scientific curiosity, Van         kinds of questions that require new fundamental           His work on ‘sleeping’ stocks of genetic information     anti­cancer drugs, for example. Even so, Van Wezel
     Wezel admits. “But I did see it as an opportunity to        studies.” Since then, his work has been characterised     in Streptomyces again demonstrates the close link        looks forward to working with the industry on this
     study cell division in Streptomyces on a more funda­        by a combination of the two worlds. He was granted        between fundamental insights and new applications.       topic. “I find the interaction with industrial partners
     mental level.” Supported by a grant from Technology         a KNAW fellowship to further study cell division in       “While studying the life cycle of streptomycetes, we     very stimulating. Just as I find it stimulating to
     Foundation STW, he took on the project in collabora­        Streptomyces. Around the same time, he was also           discovered a protein, DasR, which appeared to play       publish good scientific papers. The way I see
     tion with associate professor Barend Kraal, and this        involved in founding a new business called Mycobics,      an important role in regulating the production of an­    it, combining the two worlds leads to twice the
     quickly led to interesting results. “The project went       which aimed at exploiting the ‘fragmentation’ patent.     tibiotics. With the inactivation of DasR, we not only    fun”. ET



50 A N I N S P I R I N G A C A D E M I C E N V I R O N M E N T                                                                                                                                                                                 51
                                                                                                                          The students would also be able to travel during their       to work around the red­tape areas in Brussels.
                                                                                                                          research, for instance to study manuscripts in foreign       They don’t interfere with the content of the proposal,
                                                                                                                          libraries. Warnar: “In other academic disciplines it         but they do ensure your project will not be rejected
                                                                                                                          might be quite common for researchers to go abroad           on a formality.”
                                                                                                                          for their PhD, but in our field it is quite new.”
                                                                                                                                                                                       The revised project was granted funding in 2009.
                                                                                                                          Around the time Warnar and his colleagues were               Today, ten of the twelve students have started.
                                                                                                                          thinking about this network, he received a list of           To give an example of the research being conduc­
                                                                                                                          European subsidies and their success rates. The              ted, one of the students in Leiden is working on a
                                                                                                                          subsidy that best matched their plans happened               fifteenth­century manuscript produced in Hildesheim
                                                                                                                          to be the one with the highest success rate (about           containing eighty sermons, most of which can be
                                                                                                                          10­12%). Warnar submitted an initial application in          attributed to the German preacher Johannes Tauler.
                                                                                                                          2008. The proposal received good reviews, but was            A significant number of sermons are originally from
                                                                                                                          rejected. “We were very close to being accepted, but         the Netherlands The goal of this specific research


      “Writing a European proposal
                                                                                                                          we had focused too much on the research and too              project is to make a transcription and a sound text
                                                                                                                          little on the training aspect of the network.”               edition of the sermons, as well as to find out what
                                                                                                                                                                                       this combination of texts tells us about medieval



     is a bit like renovating a house”
                                                                                                                          Warnar met with Anna Groeninx van Zoelen, who                networks of text exchange.
                                                                                                                          had just started working at LURIS. With her help,
                                                                                                                          he made some crucial changes to the proposal, for            Warnar hopes his success will inspire other resear­
                                                                                                                          instance adding more information about the imple­            chers from the humanities to start similar projects.
                                                                                                                          mentation of the project and the role of a supervisory       “Too often we think that the money will only go to
     The first time literary historian Geert Warnar applied for a European subsidy to start                               board. “Writing a proposal is a bit like renovating a        the natural sciences. Our proposal had to compete
                                                                                                                          house. Of course you can do everything on your own,          with projects from all research areas, and we made it.
     an international training network, his project was not among the winners. But in                                     but it will take you a lot of time to sort out all the       We proved that it is possible to get large European
     the following year, and after some small, but important changes, the proposal was                                    details and get everything right. I am not saying that       subsidies for the humanities. It shows that resear­
                                                                                                                          LURIS is like a building contractor... but it is very        chers in the humanities should not forget that
     successful. In 2009 the training network was granted over two million euro, sufficient                               good that knowledge of how these things work                 there are grant possibilities outside the Netherlands.
     to hire twelve PhD researchers at five different European universities.                                              is available centrally. The people here know how             The budgets in Europe are quite impressive.” IS

     The basis of the project was laid when Geert Warnar         literature, philosophers and theologians all study the                                                              In
                                                                                                                                                                                   focus
     started a small international partnership using the         same texts. Of course they all see different things,
     NWO VIDI grant he received in 2004. “In Medieval            but since they use the same or similar sources, they          FP7
     literature, my field of expertise, it is very natural to    encounter similar problems. Basically they are all            Marie Curie programme is part of the 7th                The second theme is “Ideas” also known as
     seek international collaboration. In the Middle Ages,       specialists in medieval textual culture.”                     Framework Programme (FP7) for Research and              European Research Council, followed by
     there were no nation states like the Netherlands                                                                          Technological Development of the European               “People” also known as Marie Curie actions
     or Germany, and texts were distributed throughout           The plan arose to set up an international network of          Union. It is the only programme dedicated to            and last the “Capacities” theme which consists
     Europe. It therefore makes no sense to study Dutch          PhD students from different disciplines who would             scientific research. It consists of four themes:        of a collection of smaller RTD - programmes
     or German texts exclusively.” Warnar also aimed for         work on related topics at various universities. These         the biggest theme is “Cooperation” which con-           concerning the science system. FP7 has it own
     collaboration between researchers with different            students would each have their own supervisor,                sists of ten pre-defined research programmes            set of rules and regulations and one can
     backgrounds: “Specialists in Dutch and German               but meet up as a group at least twice every year.             ranging from health to Social Sciences.                 participate by means of calls for proposal.



52 A N I N S P I R I N G A C A D E M I C E N V I R O N M E N T                                                                                                                                                                                  53
Valorisation over time 2001 - 2005                                                    The LUMC Dept. of
                                                                                     Urology applies for a
                                                                                                                     Heart Core BV is
                                                                                                              acquired by Bio­Imaging
                                                                                                                                                                                                             This timeline contains
                                                                                                                                                                                                             some key elements for
                                                                                   patent for the Multiple          Technologies, Inc.                                                                        illustrative purposes.
     INFRASTRUCTURE & SUPPORTING ACTIVITIES
                                                                                      Array Probe Leiden
     COMMERCIALISATION BREAKTHROUGH                                                                                                        The Celiac Disease Consortium
                                                                                  (MAPLe) to treat pelvic
     COLLABORATION & RESEARCH INITIATIVE                                                                                                   (CDC) is one of the Genomics
                                                                                       floor dysfunctions.
     DEAL                                                                                                                                  centres supported by the Nether­
     SPIN-OFF                                                                                                                              lands Genomics Initiative (NGI).

                                                        ProSensa BV is               Platform Opleiding,          ISA Pharmaceuticals
                                                 established to ensure              Onderwijs en Organi­         BV is started based on
                                                  further development               satie B.V. (PLATO) is          LUMC research and
                                                  of RNA­based thera­              established from FSW           patents for the deve­
                                                    peutics to patients          to provide research and        lopment of therapeutic
                                                 with genetic diseases              services in education      vaccines for cancer and
                                                for whom currently no                    development for           infectious diseases.
                                                      treatment exists.                     third parties.




                 2001                                                2002                              2003                          2004                                     2005




                                                   BG Medicine Inc.is               Gert Jan van Ommen                                     Leiden Probe Microcopy               The Leiden Leeuwen­
                                                 established and focu­        delivers proof of principle                                  (LPM) was established                hoek Pre­Seed Fund is
                                                  ses on the discovery,            that gene therapy is a                                  from LION as company                 established to stimulate
                                              development, and com­            viable means to decrease                                    offering high­end Scan­              new entrepreneurs and
                                                mercialization of novel               disease severity in                                  ning Probe Microscopes               young companies from
                                                diagnostic tests based            Duchennes disease by                                     and Nano­Technology                  research institutions
                                               on biomarkers for high­       skipping damaged exons of                                     tools for Scientific                 in the Leiden region
                                              value market opportuni­                    Duchenne gene.                                    Research and the Nano­               to become successful.
                                                     ties in healthcare.                                                                   Technology industry.


                                                                                   to­BBB BV is founded            ZoBio BV starts and
                                                                                 in the field of enhanced          develops innovative
                                                                                      drug delivery across      methods using Nuclear
                                                                                   the blood­brain barrier        Magnetic Resonance
                                                                                       based on the work          to screen compound
                                                                                    from institute LACDR      libraries for binding to a   Within the Cyttron
                                                                                    of Pieter Gaillard and     broad range of pharma­      consortium, Leiden
                                                                                             Bert de Boer.            cological targets.   University starts
                                                                                                                                           building the Cell
                                                                                                                                           Observatory, a com­
                                                                                                                                           prehensive and inte­
                                           The Centre for Science and           The Institute for Chinese           Centre for Medical                                          Leiden University Research
                                                                                                                                           grated infrastructure
                                           Technology Studies (CWTS)             studies joins the Digital    Systems Biology (CMSB)                                            and Innovation Services
                                                                                                                                           for bio­imaging and
                                             in FSW establishes CWTS         Archive for Chinese Studies       is one of the Genomics                                           (LURIS) initiated by the
                                                                                                                                           modeling cells down
                                               BV to commercialize the          (DACHS) for research on           centres supported by                                          Boards of LU and LUMC
                                                                                                                                           to atomic detail
                                          products and services in the      social and political discourse             the Netherlands                                          (Douwe Breimer, Willem
                                          field of quantitative science      as reflected by articulations         Genomics Initiative                                          te Beest and Maarten
54                                            and technology research.           on the Chinese Internet.                       (NGI).                                          le Clercq).                                     55
06
                                                                                                                                        “I don’t work
                                                                                                                                            for the
                                                                                                                                           journals”




                                                 Successes
                                                    from
                                                  the past



                                                                                                                                                        Software, too,
                                                                                                                                                        is a scientific
                                                                                                                                                           product
     It may take time before the potential impact of inventions becomes apparent, particularly in the life sciences, and perseverance
     is necessary. But what may start as a curiosity driven research project or chance discovery sometimes becomes a great com­
     mercial success. Successes from the past serve as a great inspiration to future discoveries. And for the inventors themselves,
     whose inventions today and even tomorrow remain very active and alive, it provides a firm financial base for new research.




56                                                                                                                                                                        57
                              “I don’t work
                            for the journals”
                                                                                                                       companies were identified that jointly acquired an        to predict the development of RA at an early stage,
                                                                                                                       exclusive license to the technology. The intellectual     in some cases up to eight years before any clinical
                                                                                                                       property itself remains in the hands of STW, LUMC         symptoms are apparent.”
                                                                                                                       and Radboud University. The test has been on the
                                                                                                                       market for quite some time now under the brand            The topic continues to fascinate him, and just
                                                                                                                       names ImmunoscanCCPlus® and AxSYM®xtra                    recently new results were brought to light. “In the
     Jan Wouter Drijfhout recalls how the search for a new diagnostic test for rheumatoid                              anti­CCP. According to the manufacturers, the test is     meantime, it has become clear that an enzyme called
     arthritis (RA) led to some unexpected insights into the disease itself.                                           one of the world’s most popular automated immuno­         PAD is responsible for modifying the proteins in RA
                                                                                                                       assay systems.                                            type I. Finding a compound that inhibits the action
     “In around 1994 I began working on peptide libraries     27 million peptides in 2.5 years, the researchers                                                                  of PAD could lead to a potential therapy for RA
     for screening purposes, and a couple of years later      found a promising ‘hit’. Drijfhout: “It was a very       This commercial success did not, however, slow down       type I. We have just completed a project in which
     I was approached by Professor Van Venrooij of            good hit. Tests using patients’ serum showed that        the scientific research, which is just as well, because   we identified a modified peptide that looks very
     Radboud University. He was looking for a way to          this peptide was both highly sensitive and highly        their research resulted in a real eye­opener for the      promising as a PAD inhibitor.” As might be expected,
     improve the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis,           specific to RA. This combination is essential in diag­   team. “We were curious about why we failed to             Drijfhout is not planning to leave it at a publication
     because the tests available at the time were not very    nostics. Ideally, you want the test to pick out every    identify the remaining 25% of patients. As it turned      of the results. “Right now, we are working hard to
     effective,” says Drijfhout, who heads the peptide        single patient, and nobody else. In our case, 75% of     out, this had nothing to do with our test; this group     find funding for the proof­of­concept studies required
     synthesis facility at LUMC. “In patients suffering       the patients tested positive and we hardly had any       simply does not produce the antibodies we tested          to take this research to the next level. But it is very
     from RA, certain proteins become modified and the        false positive scores, which is remarkably good.”        for. This led us to the conclusion that RA is not a       difficult. There is a huge gap in funding possibilities
     patients produce antibodies against these proteins.                                                               single disease, but consists of two different types.”     for projects that are too applied for academia, but not
     Van Venrooij’s idea was to look for peptides that bind   Based on these results, a commercialisation track        Altogether, a great example of how working on a           yet sufficiently advanced for the clinic. Our attempts
     to these antibodies and that can therefore be used       was started to develop a reliable and usable test.       practical application can result in a truly funda­        to set up a knowledge­driven economy would benefit
     to diagnose RA.” Drijfhout took on the challenge,        To Drijfhout, this was a perfectly logical next step.    mental discovery. And that is not all, says Drijfhout.    greatly from more and better funding programmes
     and research began, supported by a grant from            “I don’t work for the scientific journals; I want to     “Another unexpected finding was that the test is          for translational research.” ET
     Technology Foundation STW. After screening roughly       work for society.” In collaboration with STW, two        not only capable of diagnosing RA, but is also able



58 S U C C E S S E S F R O M T H E PA S T                                                                                                                                                                                                  59
                                                                                                                   implemented our algorithms into user­oriented soft­       Most of the money is reinvested in updating and
                                                                                                                   ware. In the old days, we used to send huge tapes         developing new software: “This is officially not an
                                                                                                                   with our computer programmes all over the world.”         academic task, and you get very little credit for
                                                                                                                                                                             writing computer code. I think this is a very limited
                                                                                                                   One of the founders of SPSS once spent his sabba­         view of scientific productivity, since a computer
                                                                                                                   tical in the Leiden Political Science Department,         programme can have at least as much impact
                                                                                                                   and heard later through the grapevine about the           as an article.”
                                                                                                                   Leiden Data Theory software. In 1987 Meulman flew
                                                                                                                   to Chicago to demonstrate the programmes there.           Meulman is also responsible for maintaining the
                                                                                                                   Meulman: “We made a deal to keep the intellectual         business contacts of the Leiden SPSS project.
                                                                                                                   property and to sell the licensing rights for a royalty   “We used to tinker around with contracts ourselves
                                                                                                                   of 17.5%. SPSS was not as big as it is now, and they      and it always worked out in the end, somehow or




                         Software, too, is a
                                                                                                                   seemed quite excited about collaborating with Leiden      other. Nowadays, with help from LURIS, things have
                                                                                                                   University.” Retaining the intellectual rights is rare    become much more professional.” Recently SPSS
                                                                                                                   in such cases, but the deal was unique in other ways      was taken over by IBM, and new contracts had to be
                                                                                                                   as well. The Leiden group is the only outsider who        negotiated: “It was fantastic to have Ivo de Nooijer



                         scientific product
                                                                                                                   is allowed to work directly in SPSS’s development         from LURIS check all the details and warn us about
                                                                                                                   environment. “The sales of our CATEGORIES package         hidden catches. And for him it is easier to remain
                                                                                                                   have since boomed. I do not know the exact numbers        strictly businesslike, since he doesn’t know the
                                                                                                                   by heart, but we receive at least 125,000 dollars         people from SPSS personally, the way I do.” IS
                                                                                                                   quarterly.”
                                                                                                                                                                           In
     “I keep saying the sexy job in the next ten years will be statisticians,” declared Google’s                                                                         focus

     chief economist Hal R. Varian last year. Professor of Applied Statistics Jacqueline                                Finding relations
                                                                                                                        Meulman’s SPSS group develops methods for            The methods in CATEGORIES transform the
     Meulman was drawn to statistics long before the hype, and she has a unique deal                                    non-linear multidimensional data analysis.           original variables in a way that preserves
     for developing and distributing statistical software.                                                              “We do grouping of objects while transforming        their important properties and at the same
                                                                                                                        the variables to find hidden relationships. The      time optimises the relationships. Meulman:
                                                                                                                        number of objects and variables can be enor-         “A simple but good example is the number of
     When Meulman first came into contact with statistics     into something much bigger. Today the software is         mous: “I work on biological DNA data and one         car accidents predicted according to age. Young
     during her psychology study she was completely sold.     widely used for statistical data analysis and data        month they have 150,000 variables and the            people who drive recklessly and insecure older
     She thinks many people do not realise that statistics    mining, from market research to biology and from          next month 500,000.”                                 drivers have more car accidents than drivers
     is everywhere: “There is a huge demand for statisti­     government to psychometrics.                              Traditional methods can only detect linear           in other age groups. There is therefore a non-
     cians in the life, behavioural, medical and social                                                                 relations, but the data often contain non-linear     linear relation between the age of the driver
     sciences. This is why we started Statistical Science,    Meulman is the group leader of the Leiden                 relations. This happens, for instance, with          and the number of accidents. By scaling the
     a specialisation master’s programme in mathematics.”     SPSS project that creates software for the SPSS           behavioural, categorial data where respondents       age categories and reordering them, our
                                                              CATEGORIES package. “Our group in Data Theory             are grouped into categories of variables such as     transformation finds a linear relationship,
     Many researchers will be familiar with the statistical   was constantly developing new methods for data            “scale of depression” or “religious background”.     which makes it possible to predict future
     software in SPSS, which was developed in 1968 as a       analysis. We believed it was important to enable          In the latter case there is even no natural order    outcomes.”
     software package for the social sciences. It has grown   others to use our techniques and we therefore             of the categories.



60 S U C C E S S E S F R O M T H E PA S T                                                                                                                                                                                            61
Valorisation over time 2006 - 2010                                                         Center for Entrepeneurship
                                                                                            Holland Program (HOPE).
                                                                                                                                 LUMC Participaties
                                                                                                                                BV is founded as the
                                                                                                                                                          Start construction of
                                                                                                                                                          BioPartner Accelerator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          This timeline contains
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          some key elements for
                                                                                    Establishd to educate students in               holding company       building to house                                                illustrative purposes.
      INFRASTRUCTURE & SUPPORTING ACTIVITIES
                                                                                        high quality entrepreneurship.            for LUMC spin­out       successful start­ups
      COMMERCIALISATION BREAKTHROUGH
                                                                                       In Leiden Harmen Jousma and                       companies.       that need more space.
      COLLABORATION & RESEARCH INITIATIVE
                                                                                        Science Based Business work
      DEAL
                                                                                            closely together in HOPE.
      SPIN-OFF

   Top Institute Pharma,                                LU, LUMC and spin­off                       BMM is the third                 Geert Warnar is      Forensic Genomics Consor­
a PPP dedicated to drug                                  LPM BV participate in                        biomedical Top              awarded 2 Mg for a      tium Netherlands (FGCN)
 development is started.                                the NIMIC consortium,                      Institute initiated,     Marie Curie International     is one of the Genomics
   In 2010, Leiden Uni­                                  which receives 14 Mg                        in 2010, LUMC          Training Network, to hire     centres supported
       versity and LUMC                              from SmartMix to perform                          participates in       12 PhD’s at 5 European       by the Netherlands
      have been involved                              collaborative research on                            2 projects.                  Universities.     Genomics Initiative (NGI).
          in 22 projects.                              making nanometer scale
                                                             structures visible.




                    2006                                                     2007                                   2008                            2009                                 2010




      The Medical Delta                                A zebrafish consortium             Business to Science Portal                  National facility   Stimulation of the immune        The Leiden University
 consortium is set up to                               coordinated by Michael         (B2SP) kicks off with a Pieken           for nanoscopy NeCEN        system can help to eliminate     Observatory and Institute
realise breakthroughs in                         Richardson (IBL) is awarded             in de Delta subsidy to lower        is established in Leiden     a chronic infection with the     for Computational Sciences
  medical sciences and                              14 Mg from SmartMix, to             the threshold for SME entre­                with funding from     human papillomavirus. This       participate in LOFAR, the
  healthcare, to develop                          explore the use of zebrafish           peneurs to find scientists in        NWO­Groot and EFRO.         has been demonstrated in         biggest radio telescope in
      novel technologies                             for developing medicines          Leiden, Delft and Rotterdam.                                       research from Kees Melief        the world.
 and to fuel related eco­                           to combat diseases of the                                                                             (LUMC), which was
   nomic opportunities.                                 elderly affecting bones     NewCatch BV and ZF Pharma BV                                          published in NEJM.
                                                                     and joints.       spin out from ZF Screens BV.


   ZF­screens BV starts                                     CTMM is launched                                                 EPD Vision BV spins out                                       First Chinese pharma company
       based on several                                    for joint research to                                               from LUMC to further                                        in the Leiden Bio Science
      patents generated                                   enable ‘personalised                                               commercialize the deve­                                       Park new Chinese/Dutch joint
 by IBL researchers van                                               medicine’.                                                  lopment of the EPD                                       venture between the Yangtze
den Thillart and Spaink.                                                                                                      initiated in the depart­                                     River Pharmaceutical Group
  The goal is to develop                                                                                                           ment of Cardiology.    ProSensa BV forms                and SU Biomedicine.
                                                            Second BioPartner                                                                             an alliance with Glaxo
   products for pharma­
                                                             incubator is built                                                                           Smith Kline to fight
  ceutical applications.
                                                                at Leiden Bio                                                                             Duchenne Muscular
                                                                Science Park.                                                                             Dystrophy.

            Construction    BioGeneration Ventures           First Leiden ERC             New Faculty of Humanities        Netherlands Metabolomics       Netherlands Consortium for       Maxam Medical BV signs
          new Education     BV is established and           Starting Grants for           originates from respectively         Centre (NMC) is one of     Healthy Ageing is one of the     a license deal with LUMC
       and new Research     based in Leiden to              Tjerk Oosterkamp,                  Humanities, Philosphy,      the Genomics centres sup­      Genomics centres supported       to further develop the tech­
         Building LUMC.     invest in the next              Physics and Petra                Academy of Creative and        ported by the Netherlands     by the Netherlands Genomics      nology MAPLe (2003) into
                            generation of Life               Sijpesteijn, Islam                   Performing Arts and       Genomics Initiative (NGI).    Initiative (NGI).                products for physiotherapy.
                            Sciences companies                         Studies.                     Religious Studies.
 62                         in the Netherlands.                                                                                                                                                                                              63
07
                                                                                                                                               More
                                                                                                                                            than money




                                                                                                                                                              From course
                                                                                                                                                               project to
                                                                                                                                                             medical device
                                                                                                                                                                business



                                                    Promises
                                                     of the
                                                     future
                                                                                                                                            Drugs courier,
                                                                                                                                           Leiden spin-off
                                                                                                                                           crosses blood-
                                                                                                                                            brain barrier




                                                                                                                                                                               Don’t fear
                                                                                                                                                                              the patents
     New products, services and technologies may emerge from scientific research, leading to new ventures or collaborations.
     What promises do we see for the future, developing to become leading in their field? Like seeds that are planted in the soil and
     still need nurturing to grow into full life. By providing a fertile environment in Leiden, we foster researchers to let their ideas
     grow. Here we present only a few of these early stage discoveries that will hopefully reach their full potential in a few years.
                                                                                                                                                                                Use your
                                                                                                                                                                               results for
                                                                                                                                                                              the greater
                                                                                                                                                                                  good



64                                                                                                                                                                                           65
                            More than money
     Building a successful company on promising research findings requires good
     science and innovative ideas, but that’s not enough, says Edward van Wezel of
     BioGeneration Ventures.

     In addition to a solid scientific base, a new venture     taps into its broad network of experts. “These are all
     also needs a sound business strategy, capable             people with in­depth knowledge of particular tech­
     management, an adequate patent position and above         nology areas, the market, the players and the latest
     all, money. The latter proves to be a major hurdle        developments in that field. They can also accurately
     for starting companies in the life sciences. This is      estimate whether a given technology really offers
     especially relevant for companies that have outgrown      something new. That doesn’t mean, however, that
     the stage of government grants and start­up support       we are only looking for revolutionary breakthroughs.
     programmes, but are not yet able to fulfil the require­   Small steps forward are also interesting, as long as
     ments of mainstream venture capital firms. Invest­        there is a clear perspective on value creation.”
     ment fund BioGeneration Ventures was founded in
     2006 to address the needs of these so­called              Although financial motives are usually the main driver
     early stage companies.                                    for starting entrepreneurs to contact BioGeneration
                                                               Ventures, an investment by the fund provides more
     BioGeneration Ventures is backed by the Netherlands       than simply a bag of cash. “When we decide to invest
     Genomics Initiative (NGI) and the Netherlands             in a venture, we actively engage in building the new
     Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), com­          company. Our contribution can take different forms.
     bined with the holding LEH of Leiden University           We might, for example, bring in external expertise
     and ABN AMRO Capital as lead private investors.           to strengthen the management team, re­open nego­
     The fund focuses on the life sciences, but that           tiations with a university or use our network to find
     encompasses a broad range of application areas,           suitable advisers or business partners.” And even in
     says Edward van Wezel, Managing Partner of                cases when BioGeneration Ventures considers it too
     BioGeneration Ventures. “Our scope covers food,           early to invest in a venture, the door is open for aspi­
     pharma, industrial biotechnology and agriculture.         ring entrepreneurs with interesting plans. Van Wezel:
     The main characteristic we look for in early stage        “We are always interested in new, innovative ideas.
     companies is not so much the application itself, but      If the potential is there, we are certainly willing
     the innovative character of the technology proposed.      to discuss the next steps and help starters on
     That is the most important thing.” To assess the          their way.” ET
     potential of a technology, BioGeneration Ventures




66 P R O M I S E S O F T H E F U T U R E                                                                                  67
                                                                                                                    Together with fellow student Fiebke op de Macks, he          Venture Challenge, secured a Pre­Seed Grant also




          From course project to
                                                                                                                    participated in the course ‘Writing a business plan’         from NGI. They also received financial support from
                                                                                                                    organised by YES!Delft and Roland Berger. Voorham:           the Leiden Leeuwenhoek Pre­seed Fund. Presently
                                                                                                                    “That’s when we got the feeling that we should really        they are assessing the international competition
                                                                                                                    follow this through and start a business.” They              in the field. Voorham is actively participating in



          medical device business
                                                                                                                    contacted LURIS with a proposal to obtain a licence          measurements at the LUMC to further refine the
                                                                                                                    for the MAPLe and after almost a year of negotiations,       analysis software and Op de Macks has started
                                                                                                                    MAXAM Medical – the new venture – clinched the               designing the interface of the system. In addition to
                                                                                                                    deal, in spite of other, established parties being           their R&D activities, they are busy formalising their
                                                                                                                    interested as well. Op de Macks: “We were the only           network of experts, who act as a sounding board for
                                                                                                                    ones who proposed covering the whole track, from             the young entrepreneurs. And of course there is the
     Valorisation is hardly ever a straightforward process. The case of MAXAM Medical                               developing the tools for analysis and visualisation          ongoing process of securing financing for the future.
     nicely illustrates how new ventures can emerge when different story lines and                                  to designing a new, user­friendly interface for the          Adjusting to a full­blown business routine has so far
                                                                                                                    physiotherapists to work with.”                              been quite smooth. Voorham: “It’s a different kind of
     seemingly remote worlds happen to meet.                                                                                                                                     discipline compared to a student schedule, but we
                                                                                                                    Moving on to the present, MAXAM Medical has really           have enough deadlines to meet and appointments to
     Story line number one starts in 2003 at the LUMC       the team contacts LURIS to discuss the possibilities    taken off. Supported by LURIS, Voorham and Op de             keep. Getting down to work is not a problem.” ET
     Department of Urology, where urologists and pelvic     for further development.                                Macks have in the meantime participated in the NGI
     floor therapists are confronted with the need for a
     better probe to measure muscular activity in the       Story line number two. In 2008, Jeroen Voorham,                                                                    In
     pelvic floor. Such a probe is used by specialised      then a student at Delft University of Technology,                                                                focus

     physiotherapists to treat pelvic floor dysfunctions.   enters the story, supported by a professor of Mecha­         Leiden LeeuwenhoekStarters
     Disappointed with the performance of the available     nical Engineering who was involved in the hardware           The aim of the LeeuwenhoekStarters program              Leiden Leeuwenhoek Pre-Seed BV was foun-
     probes, Petra ­van der Zalm, Rob Pelger and Theo       development of the probe. “What they still needed            is to stimulate new entrepreneurs and young             ded in 2006 under the LeeuwenhoekStarters
     Ouwerkerk take matters into their own hands and        was a tool to analyse and visualise the data measured        companies from research institutions in the Lei-        Program to facilitate the Pre-Seed loans for
     develop a prototype of a new, improved probe, the      by the probe. I decided to take on the challenge as          den region to become successful. The program            new techno starts-ups. Loans with attractive
     Multiple Array Probe Leiden (MAPLe).                   an extra­curricular course,” says Voorham. While             provides Pre-Seed funding, expertise and infra-         conditions are granted on the basis of a concise
     Test measurements show that their probe is capable     developing the necessary software, he became                 structure for entrepreneurs who wish to start a         business plan with clearly defined milestones.
     of registering much more information, and in 2006      aware of the business potential of the project.              company based on research and technology.



68 P R O M I S E S O F T H E F U T U R E                                                                                                                                                                                                 69
                                                                                                                       Pieter Gaillard, a Leiden­based researcher, has spent     companies became aware of it and are in the process
                                                                                                                       many years exploring ways in which to smuggle             of concluding agreements with them to test the


        Drugs courier, Leiden spin-off
                                                                                                                       drugs into the brain. He discovered that a non­toxic      technology on their drugs.”
                                                                                                                       variant of diphtheria bacterial toxin was capable of
                                                                                                                       crossing the barrier. He also realised that the protein   Currently to­BBB is also cooperating closely with


         crosses blood-brain barrier
                                                                                                                       involved could be used as a vehicle to conduct            the Netherlands Cancer Institute and Antoni van
                                                                                                                       proteins through the blood­brain barrier. “To our         Leeuwenhoek Hospital. The organisations are jointly
                                                                                                                       surprise, many of the components that we required         developing a new drug against brain tumours. They
                                                                                                                       had already been clinically tested but had not been       are mainly using the Taiwanese technology for the
                                                                                                                       patented. Since no one before had been aware of           purpose. Their own technology based on the dipht­
     Brain-related disorders occur frequently. Since the brain is well protected from its                              the situation, we were able to patent the new             heria bacterial toxin proved more difficult to apply.
     environment, however, treating them is difficult. A Leiden-based researcher is                                    combination.”                                             As Willem van Weperen, commercial director of
                                                                                                                                                                                 to­BBB, explains, “That method is still in the pipe­
     developing a method of smuggling drugs into the brain nevertheless.                                               Together with partners from Leiden University and         line but its safety profile is more difficult to develop
                                                                                                                       the business community, Gaillard formed the com­          in commercial terms. Following repeated administra­
     The brain is the most complex organ of the human          Things have been going wrong with increasing            pany to­BBB in order to further develop the inventi­      tion, the diphtheria protein can cause a broad range
     body. Because it is so important, it is extremely         frequency in recent years. The Netherlands Brain        on. Everything went well and potential customers and      of reactions in the body. It is also more difficult to
     well protected. A thick layer of bone and membrane        Foundation calculated that in 2005 almost six           investors quickly showed interest. Gaillard and his       produce and test in terms of effectiveness and
     stands between the brain and the outside world.           million people in the Netherlands were suffering        team then discovered that a Taiwanese research orga­      safety on a large scale.”
     It ensures that all kinds of external things ­ nails,     from some kind of brain­related disorder ranging from   nisation had come up with a more elegant method.
     teeth, poisons, bacteria, viruses and so forth ­ cannot   migraines to brain tumours. That number is rapidly      The organisation in question had developed minute         According to Van Weperen, application of the tech­
     reach the brain. Despite its obvious benefit, the solid   increasing by almost 100,000 a year. In almost all      fat droplets, liposomes, in which drugs could be          nology in the battle against brain tumours is only the
     protective barrier surrounding the brain also has a       cases, treatment with drugs is impossible, since they   packaged. The outsides of these droplets were coated      beginning. “The great thing is that liposomes can
     downside, because if something goes wrong, such as        are stopped at the so­called blood­brain barrier, a     with glutathione, a substance capable of crossing         in principle be filled with a wide variety of drugs,
     a stroke or the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or cancer,   layer of connected endothelial cells that only allows   the blood­brain barrier. “The liposomes function as       ranging from cytostatics and virus inhibitors to drugs
     intervention is difficult.                                specific substances to pass. Most drugs are not         Trojan Horses, as it were, in transporting the drugs      used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.”
                                                               among the substances permitted.                         into the brain. We were able to secure an exclusive       There is therefore hope for patients throughout
                                                                                                                       patent on the method before pharmaceutical                the world. PB



70 P R O M I S E S O F T H E F U T U R E                                                                                                                                                                                                    71
                                            Don’t fear                                                                                Use your results
                                           the patents                                                                              for the greater good
     As a PhD student, cancer researcher Sjoerd van der Burg was educated on the                                          Starting a company has several important advantages, says Kees Melief, emeritus
     importance of filing patents. He emphasises how impossible it is to turn research                                    Professor of Immunohaematology at the LUMC and Chief Scientific Officer of ISA
     into a working medicine without a patent.                                                                            Pharmaceuticals.

     Van der Burg’s main task at the LUMC is bringing           the ultimate goal.” Researchers need to learn to          ISA Pharmaceuticals was founded at the end of 2004,      response by T cells (the ‘killer’ cells) to tumour cells
     ideas from research to the bed of the patient. His         recognize when they have made a discovery that can        and focuses on therapeutic vaccines for various types    than short peptides, which up until that point were
     specialisation is using the human defence system           be exploited. They need not be afraid of the actual       of cancer. “A small, dedicated company is flexible       used in therapeutic tumour vaccines. This finding
     for cancer treatment and prevention. He did his PhD        writing of a patent: “LURIS can help with that and        and allows you to be decisive and take matters into      was further developed into the Synthetic Long Pep­
     with Kees Melief and although he now has his own           arrange for the patent to be written with all the legal   your own hands,” Melief explains. “In our case,          tide concept SLP®. Both breakthroughs have been
     laboratory, he still collaborates intensively              language, leaving the researcher free to focus on the     it allowed us to quickly initiate clinical trials with   patented, as well as a number of related findings.
     with Melief.                                               description of the innovations and the applications.      our new Synthetic Long Peptide concept.” A sharp         “It is crucial to be very precise when drawing up
                                                                The people who write these patents are very good at       contrast with the attitude they experienced in their     a patent application. More general patents on
     One of their recent joint successes is a vaccine that      discussing substantive details thoroughly with the        dealings with established vaccine manufacturers.         methods or strategies are not particularly valuable.”
     cured people who developed a pre­stage of cancer           researchers.”                                             Melief: “Big companies tend to overestimate the
     after being infected with HPV (Human Papillomavi­                                                                    value of their own technology and they do not have       To Melief, the need for patenting results and initia­
     rus). Van der Burg: “We had an idea, started testing       A disadvantage of early patenting is that the ideas       much faith in the abilities of outsiders. It is very     ting a commercial development track is clear. “The
     mice and ended up with cured human patients. It is         might not be sufficiently developed. Van der Burg:        difficult to convince them to try something new.”        costs of clinical trials cannot be borne by hospitals.
     exceptional to be able to experience every step of this    “You can end up in a Catch 22 situation: you need         However, now that ISA Pharmaceuticals has demon­         Starting a company was in our case the only way
     entire process; researchers usually only see a small       to improve the patent to get money, but at the same       strated the value of its technology with a highly        to secure the financial resources to start clinical
     part of it. And of course, it often simply fails at some   time you need money to improve the patent.” In such       successful phase II clinical trial with a therapeutic    development of our therapeutic vaccines.” He is
     stage.” He dreams of taking the process even one           cases, Van der Burg’s advice is not to wait too long      HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) vaccine, that attitude       convinced that, in the end, this approach serves the
     step further, and turning their idea into a medicine.      with the patent, because there is always the risk of      may change. Interest in ISA Pharmaceuticals is           interests of all parties. Academia can remain focused
                                                                being scooped. “I once filed a patent on December         increasing, says Melief.                                 on research, patients benefit from new therapeutics
     Van der Burg believes the university should train          5th. On December 6th an article appeared that might                                                                entering the market, and a successful company
     researchers in filing patents. Without patents, it         have harmed my patent.” A good strategy is to file        ISA Pharmaceuticals is built on two major break­         contributes to economic growth. “There are still
     is impossible to spark the interest of the industry,       many small patents: “The patents for ISA Pharma­          throughs made by Melief’s research group. The first,     many scientists who feel that once you score that
     and without the industry it is impossible to produce       ceuticals work like that. Individually, they are not      published in Nature in 1998, concerns the identi­        one publication in a top journal, you have achieved
     working medicines, “which should, in the end, be           very strong, but as a group they are.” IS                 fication of – simply put – a ‘master switch’ in the      the highest goal. But at that point, the work is just
                                                                                                                          immune system, which can be triggered by                 starting. Once you have strong clues that your results
                                                                                                                          monoclonal antibodies to generate an enormous            can lead to clinical benefits, I see it as a duty to do
                                                                                                                          boost in the body’s immune responses. The second         something with them.” ET
                                                                                                                          breakthrough relates to the induction of specific
                                                                                                                          immune responses with therapeutic benefits in
                                                                                                                          already established diseases. The group demonstrated
                                                                                                                          that long peptides result in a much stronger specific




72 P R O M I S E S O F T H E F U T U R E                                                                                                                                                                                                      73
                                                                                                                                                         Hands-on




08
                                                                                                                                                        knowledge
                                                                                                                                                        for policy-
                                                                                                                                                          makers




                                                 Science in
                                                 a broader
                                                                                                                                            Legal
                                                                                                                                        challenges of
                                                                                                                                       space tourism
                                                                                                                                         explained

                                                   scope
                                                                                                                                                                       Everything the
                                                                                                                                                                      European Union
                                                                                                                                                                       wants to know
                                                                                                                                                                        about labour
                                                                                                                                                                            law




                                                                                                                                                                       Valorisation
                                                                                                                                                                        should be
                                                                                                                                                                      custom-made
     Not all research can be translated into commercial products or economic benefit. Sometimes the value of science for society
     becomes visible in changes in public processes or the way people interact. It can be argued that valorisation is not only about
     patents in the beta sciences, but also includes social and humanities research which has a clear focus on societal problems.
     Here are some inspiring examples of researchers that try to serve society by looking at it from a scholarly perspective.




74                                                                                                                                                                                      75
                 Hands-on knowledge                                                                                        Legal challenges of
                  for policy-makers                                                                                      space tourism explained
     Can civil servants develop policies aimed at religious    The above is just one example of how Berger           Air and space law is a specialised field, with a limited   Tanja Masson­Zwaan, deputy director of the IIASL
     organisations? Or would that interfere with the consti­   translates academic thought into practical tools.     number of academic institutes world­wide capable of        explains: ‘Orbital means that an object, often a
     tutional separation of Church and State? The City of      He has also recently contributed to an improved       providing qualified legal advice on complex matters.       satellite, is launched on a trajectory around the
     Rotterdam struggled with these issues and ap­             health education campaign aimed at Turkish            The Leiden Institute for Air and Space Law (IIASL)         Earth; suborbital means there and back again.
     proached Maurits Berger, Professor of Islam in the        immigrants in Rotterdam and has undertaken a          is considered one of the key players in this area. Its     And this is what space tourism is about: a flight
     Contemporary West at Leiden University, to shed light     comparative study on Muslims in the Netherlands       staff members are often approached by governments,         of a number of hours to a height of about 100 km,
     on the matter. Berger organised a Master Class on         and Macedonia (FYROM). The latter was commissi­       international organisations, private practice and          where the travelers can experience weightlessness
     the concept of the separation of Church and State for     oned by the Dutch Embassy in Macedonia in order       industry for expert advice and consultancy. Over the       for a short period of time. It is a grey area up
     policy­makers in Rotterdam and provided them with         to see whether Dutch insights could be of relevance   years the institute has organised conferences and          there between air and space, and in legal terms,
     the necessary insights to be able to deal with this       to the situation in Macedonia.                        colloquia and other activities where they meet and         therefore, between air law and space law.’
     issue in their everyday work.                                                                                   get together and try to move the law ahead.

                                                                                                                     The IIASL carries out studies in the context of the
                                                                                                                     EU FP7 programme. One of them concerns CATS,
                                                                                                                     which is designed to draw up a contractual relations
                                                                                                                     between parties to the provision of air navigation
                                                                                                                     services, that is, airports, airlines and air traffic
                                                                                                                     controllers.




76 S C I E N C E I N A B R O A D E R S C O P E                                                                                                                                                                                      77
                                                                                                                       In 1997, Heerma van Voss became a professor in             Commission unit for labour law in which we dis­
                                                                                                                       Leiden. Together with a former colleague from Trier,       cussed what kind of proposal might be successful.
                                                                                                                       he decided that an international network of experts in     We discovered that the Commission intended to set
                                                                                                                       labour law would be a good idea. From their previous       up a network for information about labour laws in
                                                                                                                       work, they already knew many international experts         different countries. Gathering this information was
                                                                                                                       and they slowly expanded their network to thirty           already part of our research plan and we decided to
                                                                                                                       European countries.                                        try to become their network”.



      Everything the European Union
                                                                                                                       In 2005, they organised a conference to kick off the       “In 2007 the European Commission issued the ten­
                                                                                                                       network. “Our plan was a restatement of European           der for the network and with Deloitte’s help we made
                                                                                                                       labour law. There is no such thing at present, only        an application. There was one competing proposal,


      wants to know about labour law
                                                                                                                       European Directives on some specific subjects. We          and we won by a very narrow margin. Without the
                                                                                                                       wanted to show what a European Labour Code might           external help we would never have succeeded. They
                                                                                                                       look like. This is a very sensitive topic; many citizens   taught us to be meticulous and complete, which is
                                                                                                                       are strongly against an increase in European legisla­      very important for European proposals. And they were
                                                                                                                       tion. But we looked at it as an interesting scientific     bold; for us it would have been very hard to find out
     Guus Heerma van Voss and a group of his European colleagues started a network for                                 project. Which factors do the different law systems        why our first proposal was rejected or to set up a
     research on labour law. But when they discovered that the European Commission had                                 have in common? And how might the rules on various         meeting with the European Commission.”
                                                                                                                       subjects be stated in a way that would allow a majo­
     plans for a slightly different kind of network, they decided to become that network.                              rity of countries to agree with them?”                     The network receives over one million euro per year
                                                                                                                                                                                  and is fully functioning. Each year it delivers a report
     Guus Heerma van Voss became interested in labour         internationalisation. Traditionally, law schools were    The network started without any funding. Confe­            to the European Commission on a specific theme.
     law as a student, when he worked for a law shop.         not very international. Since legal practice is orga­    rences were organised with ad hoc sponsors and             This year the report concerns the way in which eco­
     The law shop assisted people who could not afford        nised locally, students were expected to learn how       research was carried out within existing jobs. A first     nomic crisis influences labour law. The network also
     a lawyer, and many of the cases turned out to be         to work within the national system. Research was         application for a subsidy from the European Union          has many other tasks: it makes quarterly flash reports
     related to labour law: they were about discharges,       mainly providing publications that were useful for the   was rejected. At that time, Leiden University asked        about recent domestic developments, organises a
     holiday allowances, dangerous work circumstances,        practice of law. But times were changing: law became     consulting firm Deloitte to trace favorable projects       yearly seminar, and answers questions from the Com­
     etc. Heerma van Voss: “I became interested in            more international because the European economies        for European subsidies. They chose the labour law          mission. Heerma van Voss: “Officially, this network is
     these cases and decided to specialise in labour law.     became increasingly interwoven. In addition, science     network as a candidate, and Deloitte was contracted        only for collecting information, but of course we also
     The field is very wide and almost everyone is affected   demanded comparative and long­term studies, which        to help the researchers submit a new proposal.             continue our own research in addition to the tasks we
     by it. Every day there is something about labour law     led to international publications. Heerma van Voss                                                                  perform for the Commission. When all the internatio­
     in the newspapers”.                                      noticed these trends and decided to act upon them.       Deloitte soon discovered that the first proposal had       nal experts meet for a seminar, we stay an extra day
                                                              He started visiting the Institute for Labour Law and     been rejected because it sounded too academic, too         to discuss our academic work. Hopefully, the first two
     In the 1990’s, Heerma van Voss was working at            Industrial Relations in the European Community in        far removed from direct needs. Heerma van Voss:            volumes containing our results will be published by
     Maastricht University, which focuses strongly on         Trier. He met experts from other European countries      “Deloitte organised a meeting with the European            the end of 2010.” IS
                                                              and carried out some comparative studies.

78 S C I E N C E I N A B R O A D E R S C O P E                                                                                                                                                                                               79
              Valorisation should be
                  custom-made
                                                                                                                         In her view, communication is a key aspect of the           Moreover, Ineke Sluiter thinks that every researcher
                                                                                                                         humanities. “In addition to fundamental research,           should ponder the question of who might benefit
                                                                                                                         we need a dialogue about the results. This is an            from his research. “Not all researchers are suited
                                                                                                                         important way of valorising research. Valorisation          to go out into the public arena. In which case, they
                                                                                                                         needs to be custom­made, different disciplines              should stick to academic work and try to find others
                                                                                                                         cannot be judged by the same standards.” It is hard         to spread their work. This kind of division of labour is
     Ineke Sluiter, Professor of Greek Language and Literature, is one of the four winners                               to express the added value of individual projects in        not a problem, but researchers should at least think
     of the 2010 NWO Spinoza Prize. Her research focuses on ancient ideas about language                                 the humanities in terms of economic profit; the             about the value of their work for the rest of the world.
                                                                                                                         added value of the Humanities should be measured            Those who do want to make their work accessible
     and their social impact, but she stands out in connecting these ideas with contem-                                  differently. “We teach a great number of students,          to non­academic users should think about the most
     porary debates. International referees call her an out-and-out humanities scholar.                                  who get into university with a trivial earning potential.   effective way of achieving this.”
                                                                                                                         We send them away with essential and extensive
                                                                                                                         skills, such as reflection, reasoning, and critical         In the Humanities, the most effective way of making
     Sluiter is very passionate about the importance of        there is also a certain distance.” Another advantage      debate. They end up as valuable academics in                research available to non­academics is often less
     ancient texts: “The humanities study the position of      of discussing modern problems through considering         every nook and cranny of society: from news­                clear than, for example, in the life sciences. Sluiter:
     man in the world. Literature presents all kinds of pos­   classical examples is that all Western thinkers have      papers to schools and from museums to television.           “We are all afraid of dying, so it is easy to appreciate
     sible scenarios, and invites readers to view the world    written about them, so these ideas can be tested          The humanities equip them with a broad view on              a researcher who holds out the prospect of curing a
     from different perspectives. Right at the beginning       against those of different eras.                          life: we contribute to the quality of our society at        deadly disease. But the humanities can help us to
     of our Western­European history, classical antiquity                                                                large and provide the added value of the difference         come to terms with the fact that we are all inevitably
     offers a complete and highly developed literature,        Sluiter is highly motivated to make the classics          in earning potential between novices and graduates.         going to die.” Laughing, she adds: “In that sense the
     that addresses all the major problems of human life.      accessible to others and to share her views. She          That should be to our credit, and it should be              Humanities are able to take the Life Sciences on. IS
     Classical stories are still very recognisable for the     organises interdisciplinary workshops, writes articles    assessed at system level. In return, we need a
     modern reader. But at the same time they offer a          for newspapers, gives lectures for a general audience     decent level of research funding that guarantees
     safe arena for discussing sensitive topics, because       and talks with politicians about language and identity.   the quality of our work.”



80 S C I E N C E I N A B R O A D E R S C O P E                                                                                                                                                                                                  81
     The passion of academic entrepreneurship
                                                                                                                            Park. It is rated as the fourth Bio Science Park in
     Some 15 years ago I sold the shares in the                 the university became a shareholder. I was also director    Europe, and its strengths are immediately apparent.
     businesses I had built up and exchanged entrepre­          of the Holding B.V., in which the shares were managed       As a regular visitor to Silicon Valley and Stanford
     neurship in the private sector for a career as an          and through which the Science Park was established          University in the US, I can say that when you visit
     administrator in Higher Education.                         and expanded, in partnership with the municipality of       these world­famous Science Parks there’s no mis­
                                                                Enschede and the municipality of Overijssel. At the         taking the energy they radiate. And you can sense
     My first job in this new environment was as Chair­         same time I was Chairman of the Board of the joint          the start of a similar energy in Leiden, in the Life
     man of the Executive Board of a polytechnic in the         so­called valorisation strategy group of the Federation     Science Cafés, for example.
     agricultural sector, that had close links with the         of the three Technical Universities. Together we made                                                                 to work closely together with my colleague Maarten
     University of Wageningen. Given my business­oriented       enormous progress in terms of stimulating the               The concentration on dedicated development within         le Clerq of the LUMC, not only within LURIS, but
     background, I immediately recognised the value of          universities’ contribution to innovation in society.        the Science Park reaps its own rewards. Leiden            also in the Leiden BioPartner Centre.
     the knowledge and experience, the ambition and the                                                                     University has the major advantage that the land is
     enthusiasm of the lecturers and students. We imple­        Some five years ago I was approached by Leiden Uni­         owned by the University, so there is no requirement       All in all, the achievements so far have been fantas­
     mented a strategy and built an organisation aimed at       versity regarding the position of Vice­President of the     for an annual appreciation of the land value. This        tic. But, it is still possible to do better, maybe even
     applying these strengths to resolve real­life problems     Executive Board. At the time the Board was looking          means that we can permit ourselves to operate a           much better. If I summarise my experiences over the
     in industry. Lecturers and students carried out a          for someone with a background in business and also          policy whereby we can wait patiently for dedicated        past 15 years, I arrive at three real opportunities for
     diverse range of projects at real market rates, varying    with experience as a manager within the polytechnic         Life Science businesses to establish themselves           improvement.
     from market research, product and taste testing and        system and in the university world. They came to            within the Science Park. As a result, the focus of the
     organising production processes to setting up pilot        the conclusion that there was only one person who           Park is not diluted by such cash­generating concerns      In the first place and possibly also the biggest
     plants. The results achieved were excellent. Students      combined all the appropriate skills. I recall vividly my    as a multi­screen cinema or a football stadium, for       challenge, it would be good to broaden the commer­
     and lecturers gained real­life, practical experience,      initial hesitation. Why would I, as Vice­President of       example. I have seen elsewhere the frustration that       cialisation of our scientific activities to other research
     based on the need to achieve results. Lecturers (70%       the Executive Board of ‘the entrepreneurial University      this can cause. The University and the municipality       areas than the scientific and medical fields.
     were involved in the practical assignments) were able      of Twente’, want to become part of such a venerable         of Leiden have always agreed on this principle. For       Experiences with setting up companies within
     to introduce the most up­to­date developments from         university as Leiden? True, Leiden might be the first       me, chairmanship of the Leiden Bio Science Park           Archaeology and Social and Behavioural Sciences
     practice in their teaching. There was a tangible team      and oldest university in the Netherlands and indeed         Foundation is something I consider both a great ho­       and for example with the Language Centre within the
     spirit (an attitude of “Yes, we can do it!”) among         a ‘bastion of freedom’, but it was by no means known        nour and a true enrichment of my position in Leiden.      Faculty of Humanities and with (highly successful)
     students and lecturers. With the profits generated         for its entrepreneurial spirit. Just how wrong can                                                                    commercial teaching programmes within the Faculty
     we were able to appoint 25% more lecturers (all with       one be! My start in Leiden coincided with the arrival       By now, I think I can safely say that it is widely        of Law, clearly demonstrate that there are opportuni­
     experience in practice) than would have been possible      of Bob Smailes, who was recruited as Director of            recognised that we have in Leiden one of the best –       ties enough, provided there is also enough manage­
     with government funding alone. And, last but               LURIS, Leiden University Research and Innovation            if not the best ­ Tech Transfer Offices in the Ne­        ment attention and inspiration.
     not least, the polytechnic was regarded by its             Services. Bob was appointed by the previous Execu­          therlands and an impressive Science Park. We are          Secondly, there is the consultancy aspect. Faculties
     environment as a serious, professional partner.            tive Board to shape their ambition to make a distinct       held up as an example by many official institutions.      and institutes are by no means all able to protect
                                                                difference in the world of Dutch universities. It proved    Personally, when paying foreign visits I find myself      intellectual property by means of patents that can be
     I then became member and Vice­Chairman, first of           to be an excellent decision. The commercialisation of       making comparisons between our Science Park and           licensed to fee­paying companies. But they do have
     the Executive Board of the Technical University in         university knowledge was a hot item in the Nether­          international equivalents. In Leiden we have a TTO        knowledge that has a financial value, knowledge that
     Eindhoven and then of the University of Twente.            lands, but it was still in its infancy. In fact, although   of the same size and with the same deal flow as           can be capitalised in a professional and secure way
     Exploitation of academic knowledge was handled             I was regarded as a ‘front­runner’, I was actually just     Berkeley University in California. And for each euro      through a Consultancy BV.
     completely differently in these universities than it had   a willing amateur. Bob, on the other hand, was a            of research funding we are in relative terms doing        And finally there is the discovery and marketing of
     been in the polytechnic. Here the focus was on pro­        professional who had earned his stripes in Edinburgh        remarkably well.                                          ‘inventions’. It is vital that every institute that can
     tecting intellectual property by patenting inventions      and before that in other positions in the UK. He came       In the most recent Times Higher Education Ranking,        achieve a relevant transfer of knowledge into IP
     and licensing or selling patents to existing companies     with Laura McDonald as his right­hand woman and             Leiden University is among the top five in the world      should introduce and maintain the position of Busi­
     or university spin­offs, as well as providing commerci­    in no time at all had assembled a professional team         for one particular aspect ­ industrial relations – that   ness Development Manager. From my experience at
     al teaching programmes. The creation and expansion         around him. Petra van den Berg was the key player           counts for only 2.5% of the overall ranking. Leiden’s     the University of Twente I know that such a position
     of so­called Science Parks was an integral part of the     from the Dutch side. In short: a motivated                  position in this ranking is undoubtedly attributable to   works as an important catalyst in marketing succes.
     strategy to give spin­off companies a                      and professional team.                                      the University’s involvement with the companies on
     place within the university.                                                                                           the Bio Science Park.                                     In conclusion I can justifiably say that all our support
                                                                Leiden has an important strategic asset unparalleled                                                                  systems in Leiden have been positioned for optimum
     Once again, my background came in useful. I held           in the Netherlands: the Leiden Bio Science Park. The        LURIS is a joint activity between the University and      effectiveness. We have set our sights on being the
     positions on the governing boards of a number of           Leiden Bio Science Park has been in existence for 25        the LUMC; it has bound the two organisations for          best – and we have every intention of making it happen.
     companies in Twente that were set up on the basis          years and in my opinion there is no Science Park in         many years in a way that would not be considered
     of university knowledge, in exchange for which             the Netherlands that even comes close to the Leiden         possible for other aspects. I have had the opportunity    Willem te Beest

82                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 83
   Focus on
the Appliance
  of Science
  FROM LEIDEN

				
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