The tour, meticulously orchestrated by Mayor Henri Lenferink, provided the Chairman a deep dive into what makes Leiden an attractive destination for global pharmaceutical companies. Present at this meeting were representatives from the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency and InnovationQuarter, the economic driving force for the Greater Rotterdam-The Hague region, encompassing Leiden and Delft. Highlights of the visit encompassed cultural and historical exchanges, insights into Leiden’s development and progression, and a tour of the Leiden Bio Science Park.
Bridging cultural ties and business growth
Following the warm welcome, the Chairman was treated to a memorable tour of the SieboldHuis in Leiden, which is a museum showcasing Japanese artifacts collected by physician Philipp Franz von Siebold, housed in the very residence where he lived and displayed his treasures in the 19th century. Mayor Lenferink utilized this occasion to draw attention to the deep cultural and business connections between Japan and Leiden, enriching the Chairman’s understanding of the heritage binding the two nations. The Mayor also highlighted the city’s impressive growth over the last two decades, attributing significant additional employments annually over the past years to the biotech sector’s dynamism.
Leiden’s unique position in the European biopharma landscape
Anne Bechet, the General Manager of JCR Europe, painted a vivid picture of Leiden’s strengths. She emphasized the advantages of being situated in the Netherlands, noting the European Medicines Agency’s recent relocation to Amsterdam, the country’s strategic European location, and the proximity to Schiphol airport. The ease of communication, given the widespread proficiency in English among the labor pool, combined with the rich pool of international talent in the Netherlands, further enhances the nation’s allure. This makes it an ideal base not only for life sciences and healthcare giants but also for the vibrant startup and scale-up community.
Diving deep into Leiden Bio Science Park’s innovations
His experience was further enriched with a minibus expedition to LBSP, which included a stop at the Unlock Incubator programme. The threshold for new companies to participate in these programs is remarkably low, a feature that stands out as unique in the global landscape. Furthermore, during the tour, special attention was given to Plus Ultra – a versatile space offering tenants and laboratories the flexibility to set up as best suits their needs. This facility is a home for innovative companies in the Life Sciences & Health sector. The Chairman’s fascination was evident, particularly with the inclusive and collaborative nature of the LBSP ecosystem, encouraging both start-ups and industry titans to flourish side by side.
Conclusion: Leiden as the European Hub for biopharmaceutical pioneers
Concluding his visit, the Chairman expressed his deeper understanding and appreciation for JCR’s decision to establish their European hub in Leiden. The city’s unique proposition, combined with the collaboration between the local government and industry agencies, undeniably presents an appealing case for international biopharmaceutical companies to consider Leiden as their European home.