Thomas Brenzikofer

Thomas Brenzikofer

Manager Network and Events, Healthcare Innovation - DayOne

Tel. +41 61 295 50 16

In Basel an Innovation Hub for Precision Medicine is Born


In Basel an Innovation Hub for Precision Medicine is Born

A stakeholder group of healthcare experts from the life sciences industry and research initiated by launches DayOne in close collaboration with Canton Basel-Stadt.

On Monday, 16 January 2017, decision makers from industry, university and the healthcare sector gathered in the Volkshaus, Basel, at the invitation of Christoph Brutschin to attend the launch of DayOne - the Innovation Hub for Precision Medicine. The initiative was dreamed up by, the promoters of innovation and inward investment in the region, together with a core team of industry experts, and in his opening speech the Director of Economic Affairs for Canton Basel-Stadt made it clear what the initiative is all about: namely, the next development stage in the life sciences, where the Basel region should remain a prominent player. That increasing digitalization in the healthcare industry will not only provide for disruption, but also offers huge potential, as long as the right course is set, was also the main theme of the evening.

An introduction to the topic was provided by Peter Grönen, who - together with other industry experts – is one of the initiators of DayOne. The Head of Translational Science at Actelion explained why the linear innovation paradigm - in which tests for clinical relevance are only conducted late on in the process - inevitably ends in the notorious Valley of Death when it comes to the issue of precision medicine. The patient, says Grönen, has to take centre stage in research and development today - and remain included in all interactions. Groenen concluded his presentation with the observation that all the components are actually present in the Basel region to build a novel innovation ecosystem in which the various skills and disciplines operate not downstream of one another but work in constant collaboration.

And it is precisely this that is also the main driver of the DayOne initiative. The projects were then presented that are currently being pursued in the Basel region and are likely to enjoy an added boost as a result of the Innovation Hub in Precision Medicine. Torsten Schwede from the University of Basel reported on the Data Coordination Centre of the Swiss Personalized Health Network (SPHN), which is aimed at making all patent data of Switzerland’s university hospitals interoperable and accessible for research purposes. Christof Kloepper, Managing Director of, presented BaseLaunch, the accelerator for healthcare ventures that will be officially launched at the end of February. And Laurenz Baltzer from Karger presented an ambitious scientific publication project on the subject of digital biomarkers.

Following these presentations, it was left to Frank Kumli, a co-initiator of DayOne from Ernst & Young, to show what the hub involves and how it fits into the innovation landscape of the region and offers added support.

DayOne essentially comprises three functions:

  • a community of experts who meet regularly for workshop events to share new concepts and ideas
  • a lab in which these project ideas can mature into prototypes
  • an open innovation conference that helps to get project ideas up and running on a concrete path

In the second part of the launch event, the invited guests had the opportunity to discuss the objective and purpose of the initiative. The discussion was led by a panel of prominent experts in their field: Domenico Scala, President,; Dr. Tim Jaeger, Global Head of Diagnostics Information Solutions at Roche Diagnostics, Roche; Dr. Bram Stieltjes, Research Group Leader University Hospital Basel and Entrepreneur; Dr. Othmar Pfannes, CEO, Genedata; and Dr. Falko Schlottig, Director of the School of Life Sciences, University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW).

There was unanimity on the question of urgency: the technology is there, they agreed, but what needs to be improved is the collaboration between the disciplines and stakeholders in the healthcare sector. There was also no doubt that the Basel region offers the right breeding ground for this. Deficits were found, however, in the area of ICT expertise and also in the willingness to invest. In this respect, DayOne was certainly expected to be capable of playing a certain pacemaker role. But, as Domenico Scala said in his closing words, very much clearer markers must also be laid down to expand the Basel region in desired direction. In particular, he said, there is a need to seek expansion in the direction of Bioinformatics and Precision Medicine at university level and more venture capital from institutional investors.

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