NEW LIFE SCIENCES COMPETENCE CENTER INTRODUCED IN BELLINZONA
Author: Innovation Park Ticino
Fondazione Agire, the Economic Division of the DFE, and the City of Bellinzona held a press conference on the progress of development of the forming Life Sciences Competence Center. In addition to being an initiative that fits well with the approach given to the economic development strategy adopted by the Canton, the Competence Center will provide further contributions to the life sciences sector and will, as a result, make Canton Ticino increasingly competitive and attractive.
The press conference was opened by State Councilor Christian Vitta, who highlighted how multiple pieces are coming together in Ticino to create an ideal ecosystem for the birth and development of innovative scientific and economic activities. Mario Branda, Mayor of Bellinzona, and Deputy Mayor Simone Gianini spoke next, emphasizing that the development of a biomedical research hub is one of the goals of the City of Bellinzona, which has made significant investments both in the new IRB/IOR/Lab. EOC, as well as with last year’s purchase of the Via Vela building – on the fourth floor of which the newly established Competence Center will be located.
Luca Bolzani, President of Fondazione Agire, commented, “The establishment of the Life Sciences Competence Center Association completes the framework of the Competence Centers envisaged in the current program of the composition of the Innovation Park Ticino. I am very pleased that the opportunity offered by the expertise of the EOC Research Group led by Prof. Moretti – specializing in “biofabrication” – has been seized by the main industrial associations of the sector in Ticino (FIT and Swiss Medtech Ticino, as well as AITI), confirming the value of the concept of a Competence Center as an interface between companies and research institutions.”
Piero Poli, President of Farma Industria Ticino (FIT), added: “This is a great opportunity to stimulate collaborations between industry and universities. I am optimistic that with the forming association, we can further strengthen the synergy between them. The support of associations such as AITI, FIT and Swiss Medtech Ticino stresses the importance of this step for the life sciences sector for our canton.”
Prof. Dr. Matteo Moretti from EOC then specified what “biofabrication,” the technology that will initially drive the Competence Center, consists of. It is an emerging technology that uses tissue engineering methods to create artificial human living structures and tissues. It is based on the use of living cells, supporting materials, and, for example, 3D printing technologies to create artificial organs and tissues that can be used for medical research, diagnostics and therapy. Biofabrication is a rapidly evolving field that combines biology, engineering, and advanced technologies to create innovative solutions for regenerative medicine and disease treatment. Of particular note is the creation of complex in vitro models for drug screening and understanding biological mechanisms.
To conclude, Franco Cavalli, Vice President of the Bios+ Association, spoke: “IRB and IOR founded the Bios+ (Bellinzona Institutes of Sciences) association with the aim of multiplying synergies between the two Institutes in all areas, from administration to technology platforms and research programs. Nearly 250 people currently work at the two Institutes, which are, however, both still in the process of expansion, which makes the construction of a new research building ” twinned” to the one inaugurated in November 2021 absolutely necessary. Bern has already given its approval to the feasibility project. The + sign in the acronym Bios+ stands for the fact that we absolutely want to aggregate other entities in view of the establishment of the Life Sciences Competence Center in Bellinzona.”