U.S. Embassy Leads Life Sciences Mission in Portugal

The head of the American delegation, Dr. Craig Mello, with Embaixatriz Kim Sawyer and Ambassador Sherman. (Photo: US Embassy)
The head of the American delegation, Dr. Craig Mello, with Embaixatriz Kim Sawyer and Ambassador Sherman.

The Foreign Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon organized a Life Sciences Trade Mission to Portugal on June 1-3, 2015 that included stops in Lisbon, Coimbra, Braga and Porto. The American delegation was led by Nobel Laureate, Dr. Craig Mello. The mission focused on increasing cooperation and creating synergies between U.S. and Portuguese entrepreneurs, companies, investors and research institutions.

The program started in Lisbon with a roundtable on “Cooperation and Synergies between U.S. and Portuguese Research Institutes” at the Gulbenkian Institute of Science, followed by a visit to iBET’s incubation platform for start-ups. The delegation participated in a meeting hosted by FLAD on the Life Science 2020 Program, an initiative focused on developing U.S.-Portuguese research collaboration in the Life Sciences sector. In addition, the group met with start-ups and the leading Portuguese VC and private equity firms funding Life Sciences companies in Portugal. The Secretary of State for Science, and Portugal’s Foundation for Science and Technology, hosted the delegation at the Ministry of Education and Science for a panel discussion on fostering International partnerships to strengthen academic and scientific collaboration.

Signing ceremony of the Leading Cities network. (Photo: US Embassy)
Signing ceremony of the Leading Cities network.

Later in the evening, the Ambassador Sherman hosted a cocktail reception welcoming the U.S. delegation and several high-level Portuguese personalities, from the academic, scientific and political sectors. During the same reception, the Embassy held a signing ceremony of the Leading Cities network (of which Lisbon is a founding partner since 2010) and the launching of the Lisbon Local Advisory Board. Nobel Laureate, Dr. Craig Mello provided the keynote address.

Coimbra was the next stop for the Life Sciences Mission, which started with a tour of one of the world’s most beautiful university libraries, Joanina Library at the University of Coimbra. Delegates had the opportunity to visit Biocant Park, Portugal’s state of the art research center and incubator for Life Sciences companies. Delegates also met with leading Portuguese venture capital firms to learn more about emerging opportunities in the life sciences industry in Portugal, as well as the type of projects supported by local investors.

The next day, the delegation visited Bial, the largest Portuguese pharmaceutical company and one of the largest firms in the Iberian Peninsula. The delegation then proceeded to the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory in Braga, which is the first fully international research organization in Europe in the field of Nanoscience, Nanomedicine, and Nanotechnology. In addition to the visits, the delegation participated in a roundtable promoted by COTEC on “Commercializing Portuguese Technology: From Lab to Market.” This was an opportunity for trade mission delegates to meet with Portugal’s top leaders in the Life Sciences industry and explore opportunities for investment, new business development, and R&D collaboration. The mission aimed at accelerating innovation and bringing ideas, medicine, and technology from the lab to the market.