3rd Annual Workshop on Startups and Technology Transfer “Developing an Innovation-Driven Economy

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3rd Annual Workshop on Startups and Technology Transfer “Developing an Innovation-Driven Economy

3rd Annual Workshop on Startups and Technology Transfer “Developing an Innovation-Driven Economy: Biodiversity and Technology in Panamanian Development Strategy

June 12-13, 2019, Panama, Republic of Panama


The Institute of Scientific Research and High Technology Services (INDICASAT AIP), with the support of the Secretariat of Science, Technology and Innovation (SENACYT), the Ministry of Environment (MIAMBIENTE) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), organized the 3rd Annual Workshop on Startups and Technology Transfer “Developing an Innovation-Driven Economy: Biodiversity and Technology in Panamanian Development Strategy”, on June 12 and 13, 2019, at the Radisson Summit Hotel Golf & Spa, Paraiso, Panama.

This event gives continuity to the program conceived and initiated by INDICASAT AIP in 2017 with the aim of creating and stimulating local entrepreneurial capacities within the academia. This year a special interest was given to industry based on biodiversity, given the long history of Panamanian scientists investigating the medicinal potential of this country´s biodiversity. Specific topics included: creating a strategy of economic development driven by innovation, information and communication technology based industry in Panama, case study of model life sciences entrepreneurial institution, case study of a Start Up based in bioprospection, and major challenges in bioprospection in Panama.

For this two-day training, entrepreneurial leaders with vast experience with academic sector of the United States were involved. Dr. Thomas Richardson is president of a successful consulting company specializing in the creation of startups. He is currently the president of the Institute for Life Sciences Entrepreneurship, a non-profit research institute, business accelerator and incubator of life science discoveries to improve human health, including new medicines, devices and transformative technologies. Dr. David Martin is the Principal and Founder of Martin Pharma Consulting, LLC, a niche consulting company focused on assisting small biotech companies develop and execute strategically sound pre-clinical, clinical, and regulatory development plans. He is an experienced development scientist in all phases of drug development and a successful private and public fund raising agent.

This annual workshop is an excellent forum for academic, industrial, and governmental leaders to share ideas and develop strategies to promote economic development through science and technology.  The Panamanian ecosystem has so many unique resources and I have been very impressed by the progress over the past 3 years toward developing common goals to capitalize responsibly on these assets.  Continued financial investments in basic and applied research and commitment from the leaders in the ecosystem present an exciting opportunity for economic and job growth. INDICASAT AIP has done an outstanding job developing this series of workshops”” – said Dr. Richardson.

More than 40 people representing more than 17 universities, companies and government institutions were registered and up to 100 viewers followed this workshop on INDICASAT´s YouTube channel.

Among the participants were the Vice Chancellor for Research and Postgraduate Studies of the Autonomous University of Chiriquí, the Manager for Scientific Affairs of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute as well as the Research Director of the Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health Studies and the Director of Protected Areas and Wildlife of the Ministry of Environment.

The 3rd Taller Anual en Startups y Transferencia de Tecnologia was a showcase for Panama’s growing entrepreneurial movement in the biotechnology space. Using the biodiversity found in the Panamanian ecosystem, scientists are looking for the next generation of treatments against diseases that can not only be used locally but also on the global stage.” “This movement is being fostered by INDICISAT AIP, and the conference, as organized by Dr. Catherina Cabellero-George, included local representatives from academia and government as well as international speakers with expertise in business and drug discovery. Given the enthusiasm and passion of the attendees, significant progress in cultivating and developing biotechnology business opportunities should be expected over the coming years.” – pointed out Dr. Martin.

The attendees had the opportunity to evaluate the event. Among the comments, the following were highlighted:

“It helped me a lot to establish alliances with other institutions, to obtain new perspectives from the presentations and above all it allows as a group to present concrete proposals to the decision-making entities at the governmental and private level.”

“I think the workshop was a success. The themes were a guide to refine the elements and criteria for a national diagnosis on entrepreneurship. The exhibitors were successful in adjusting the scenario of their presentations to the local / national reality, to give way to the proposition with the participants … In addition, I think the aim should look for a strategy to capture, a vision of the National Bioprospecting plan as a “process” subject to review and update periodically.”

By: Dra. Catherina Caballero-George, Coordinator of the Center of Innovation and Technology Transfer, INDICASAT AIP; E-mail: c.caballerogeorge@gmail.com, Tel. +(507) 517.0737

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