The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation has begun promoting its new Biotechnology Initiative in Ukraine and started exploring possible areas of collaboration with the Ukrainian biotech community. In a series of meetings and conference appearances in Ukraine, USUF’s Vice President Markian Bilynskyj and Special Advisor Adrian Karmazyn announced the initiative, which seeks to support the advancement of biotechnology in Ukraine and be a catalyst for expanding U.S.-Ukrainian biotech relationships.
Meetings were held with Maksym Strikha, the Deputy Minister of Education and Science, representatives of Kyiv Polytechnic University’s Sikorksy Challenge, Kyiv National University, Kharkiv Polytechnic University and leaders of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, including academicians Viacheslav Koshechko, Anatoliy Zahorodnyy, Serhiy Komisarenko, Anna Yelska, Mykola Kuchuk, Yaroslav Blum and Serhiy Shulha. They described the role of their respective institutions in developing the biotechnology sector in Ukraine and challenges that Ukraine faces in the commercialization of its innovations. The issue of international intellectual property protections for Ukrainian researchers was in the forefront of a meeting at the American Chamber of Commerce.
USUF also had the opportunity to interact with professionals, experts, researchers and entrepreneurs at two early-October biotech-related forums in Kyiv-the 26th International Medical Exhibition “Public Health” and the Integrative Biology and Medicine conference.
At these events and in separate meetings, USUF learned about a number of Ukrainian biotech business success stories. For example, the MyHelix company, co-founded by Dariya Loseva, Ruslana Shadrina and Oleksandra Alokhina, employs genetic testing to develop optimal dietary plans for individuals. (Ms. Loseva recently spoke at an innovation forum in Kyiv attended by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, during which Ukraine promoted its innovative technologies as a particularly promising engine of future economic growth). Another biotechnology company, Ilaya, briefed USUF on its use of stem cells to speed the healing of extremely serious bone and tissue trauma.
The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation wishes to express its gratitude to Amb. Valeriy Chaly, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the USA, and embassy First Secretary Yegor Dubynskyi, for their assistance in organizing many of the key meetings in Kyiv.
As part of its Biotechnology Initiative, the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation envisions providing financial assistance in the form of grants to researchers, students and entrepreneurs to participate in biotech-related educational or training experiences in the United States. The Foundation also envisions providing financial support for developing cooperative relationships between representatives of the Ukrainian and American biotechnology communities through trade shows, conferences, trainings and other networking opportunities.
Another component of USUF’s Biotechnology Initiative involves highlighting Ukrainian success stories among
the younger generation of biotechnology scientists and entrepreneurs. In 2018, the foundation will be recognizing 40 individuals under the age of 40 from the biotechnology community, who are making a particular impact in the world of biotech. USUF plans to hold a “40 Under 40” biotechnology award ceremony next year.
In an effort to build networking opportunities between the U.S. and Ukrainian biotechnology communities the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation has become a member of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization(BIO).
USUF Vice President John A. Kun attended the BIO Investor Forum in San Francisco in October 2017, which provided valuable insights on the business culture of biotech innovation in the United States.