Four Cluster Companies Get Innovation Reward

Nacamed, Phoenix Soulutions, NorGenoTech and Clever Health are awarded Innovasjonsrammen for good early-stage innovation and collaboration. Innovasjonsrammen is awarded by Oslo Cancer Cluster with money from Innovation Norway. Congratulations!

Important with early financing
Early financing while companies are establishing their business is often limited, but can be crucial to get important projects off the ground. Therefore, Innovation Norway has given Oslo Cancer Cluster 1000 000 NOK to reward excellent innovation and collaboration activity at an early stage. A cluster is all about reaping the benefits of collaboration and Oslo Cancer Cluster has awarded the Innovasjonsrammen-money to four of their promising member companies. Hopefully this will inspire other potential financers to support Norwegian bio businesses at an early stage.

Prize money awarded
NorGenoTech AS     150 000 NOK
Clever Health           100 000 NOK
Phoenix Solutions    500 000 NOK
Nacamed                 150 000 NOK

Hanne Mette Kristiansen from Innovation Norway and Ketil Widerberg from Oslo Cancer Cluster, as well as Bjørn Klem form Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, handed out checks for Innovasjonsrammen. Her received by Sergey Shaposhnikov from NorGenoTech, Jon-Bendik Thue from Clever Health, Per Christian Sontum from Phoenix Solutions and Christina Westerveld Haug and Lars Gunnar Fledsberg from Nacamed.

Bringing Together Tech Knowledge
At the 5th floor of Oslo Cancer Cluster the four companies each received their innovation award handed out by Hanne Mette Kristiansen from Innovation Norway, Ketil Widerberg from Oslo Cancer Cluster and Bjørn Klem from Oslo cancer Cluster Incubator.

Ketil Widerberg, General Manager at Oslo Cancer Cluster, thanked Innovation Norway for providing the money and the panel of experts that helped pick the four deserved winners. – This money helps to remove some risk from the early stages of the innovation process, said Widerberg.

Bjørn Klem from Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator added that it had been a very difficult process choosing the winners from the eight companies that applied. However, giving out prize money requires hard choices and he applauded the versatility at display.

–I think it is interesting that the four companies represent four different approaches within cancer research. Four different technologies. And getting them together here today is what Oslo Cancer Cluster and the incubator is all about: Getting different people together sharing knowledge and impulses!

Hanne Mette Kristiansen from Innovation Norway explained that Innovasjonsrammen was a way of reaching out to companies that usually avoided their attention. Startups that had not yet attracted any serious business attention, but nevertheless had very promising projects.

About the companies
Sergey Shaposhnikov from NorGenoTech explained that the money was coming in very handy. They are a company, as he explained it, straight out of the lab. Now they could start turning their research into business.

Clever Health has a more customer or patient oriented focus in their business model. Jon-Bendik Thue from Clever Health explained how a widespread disease as prostate cancer needs a way of differentiating between the patients that need treatment and the ones that do not.

Per Christian Sontum from Phoenix Solutions was very thankful for the award and money. He showed everybody how ultrasound can be way of targeting cancer cells with precision drug delivery.

And the event was elegantly rounded off by Christina Westerveld Haug and Lars Gunnar Fledsberg from Nacamed. Nacamed’s business goal is to produce nanoparticles of silicon material for targeted drug delivery of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and diagnostics to kill cancer cells. She explained that the money would be put in use straight away. Preparing for important trials after Christmas.

The YouTubers Tuva Robsrud, Sara Høydahl and Truls Valgård watching cancer researchers in action. Image: Ingvild Vaale Arnesen

Giving Tuesday Crowdfunds for Cancer

You have probably heard of Black Friday. Now introducing Giving Tuesday: A day all about giving rather than buying. Eight Norwegian YouTubers have chosen to crowdfund on behalf of The Norwegian Cancer Society as part of Giving Tuesday. Raising money for cancer research and cancer patient care. A week before the big day five of them visited Oslo Cancer Cluster.

 

Tuesday the 28th of November, conveniently a couple of days after the shopping bonanza of Black Friday, is Giving Tuesday. It’s an international event. Started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to Black Friday and commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season.

Live Social Media Broadcast
On the day the Norwegian youTubers are staging a broadcast marathon on social media. At DnB Headquarters (Bjørvika) they all come together for a live broadcast so everybody can follow the crowdfunding and view their videos during Giving Tuesday.  And there are a lot of them. 10 other charities are being crowdfunded on the day with youTubers raising money on their behalf.

Learn more about what’s happening here.

Learning About Cancer Research
The last couple of weeks the youtubers funding for The Norwegian Cancer Society have learned about cancer research and the fight against cancer. They have visited the Society’s new Science Center learning about the history of the disease and afterwards they spent a day getting updated on current cancer research at Oslo Cancer Cluster.

At Ullern Innovation Park, the home of Oslo Cancer Cluster, they got to see researchers in action and learned about the recent advances in cancer research. How researchers now are trying to trigger the immune system in the fight against cancer and how we are getting better at producing medicines that target cancer tumors directly. They also got see how research and innovation merges together with education at the Innovation Park. Here researchers, Bio Businesses and Ullern Upper Secondary School share the same building and cooperate.  Learn more about this unique cooperation.

With this new knowledge on cancer they are well prepared to crowdfund a lot of money for The Norwegian Cancer Society and cancer research!

About the YouTubers
Christoffer Ødegård (17) Specializes in FIFA. Playing live games on youTube.

Emil Saglien (15) Also into football. Actually, about his life, but his life seems to be football.

Sara Høydahl (19) Vlogs about many things, but has had special success with a Friday special on murder mysteries!

Truls Valsgård (23), Truls is a full time youtuber. Produces videos daily about his own life.

Tuva Robsrud (16) From Bærum and vlogs about fashion and make up.

 

Image: Shutterstock

NOME Important to BioIndustry Growth

Nordic Mentor Network for Entrepreneurship (NOME) will be an important piece of the puzzle if Norway is going to fulfill their ambitions set by the coming White Paper on the Healthcare Industry.

If we are to make our bioindustry more competitive and take a leading European role within eHealth, we need to learn from the best in the business. NOME is a program that aims to lift Nordic life sciences to the very top by using mentors.

The Norwegian Parliament’s Health Committee has asked for a report on the Healthcare industry in Norway, a so called White Paper. The objective is to examine the challenges we face because of climate change, new technology, robotics and digitalization.

Innovation needs to meet industrial targets
Additionally, the committee has stressed the importance of a purposeful dedication to health innovation. There should be a focused investment In fields where we have special preconditions to succeed. A better facilitation of clinical studies and use of health data is especially emphasized. Nordic countries are in a unique position with vast registries of well documented health data, a good example being the Cancer Registry of Norway. With better implementing of new technology this type of health data will be increasingly important.

The committee also emphasized the need to shorten the distance between research and patient treatment through effective commercialization. And, in continuation, easier access to risk investment capital to help the industry grow.

–The path from research to actual treatments and medication is long and hard, and rightfully so – everything must be thoroughly tested. But you can imagine! Every second we can peel off the time it takes for new research to reach patients is extremely valuable and saves lives, explains Bjørn Klem, Managing Director, Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

NOME a piece of the puzzle
However, how do we fulfill these ambitions? Klem believes the answer is combining forces within the other Nordic countries.

– We have different strengths. Think about how big Bioindustry and business is in Denmark. There is so much to learn form that!

NOME is a concrete way of collaborating. It is easy to say: “we are going to learn from each other”, but how do we in a concrete fashion set about doing this. NOME is a mentoring program that sets collaboration in motion.

— To put it plainly, NOME is a program for all Nordic Bio start-ups. They can apply and if their application is successful we send experts catered to help with the company’s very specific needs, explains Klem.

NOME is a meeting place between the start-up freshman and the experts that have thread this path before. They match Nordic entrepreneurs with handpicked international professionals to help each start-up with their specific needs.

— Think about it! There is so much a new start-up don’t know, lacking network and experience. How do you make it as a commercialized company in the health industry? NOME can provide both business and research mentoring transferring knowledge from past successes to new ones, says Klem.

A Twofold Benefit to Society
The desire is to propel the Nordic countries into one of the leading life science regions to commercialize high growth life science start-ups.

— With NOME society’s return is twofold. Firstly, we give patients access to new treatment faster by giving start-ups the necessary guidance and know-how. Secondly, we give our Bio Business a chance to grow with all the positives that has to economy and employment, Klem believes.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator coordinates the NOME-program in Norway and collaborates with the incubator Aleap to find the best match of mentors and entrepreneurs. To take part in the program you can click here for more information.

Image: Shutterstock.

Precision Medicine has a New Target

Researchers at the Centre for Cancer Biomedicine, a Center of Excellence and a member of Oslo Cancer Cluster, have discovered an enzyme wreaking havoc inside cells that turns into tumors.

For our body to work as normal, cells need to know which way is up. When cells lose track of their orientation, they can start to grow out of control, and develop into cancer.

A team of researchers has identified an enzyme for cell orientation, offering a future target for precision medicine in cancer treatment.

– We have discovered how a traffic jam in the sorting inside cells can cause tumor development, says senior author Tor Erik Rusten at the Centre for Cancer Biomedicine at the University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital.

LKB1 Activity Promotes Tumor Growth
And the villain is an enzyme called LKB1. Results suggests that LKB1 is shut off in normal cells, but that a traffic jam allows LKB1 to remain active longer.

– High activity of LKB1 contributes to tumor growth by sending confusing signals to the cell about which way is up, says Rusten.

The teams research showed that a high activity of LKB1 increased stress signals in the cells and disrupted cellular orientation.

Targeting LKB1 as Potential Therapy
Rusten and colleagues further tested the effect of genetically removing LKB1 from cells that otherwise would form tumors due to loss of orientation.

– To our surprise, reducing LKB1 activity restored normal epithelial organization and prevented tumor growth. These results suggest that pharmacological inhibition of LKB1 may be beneficial as treatment in some cancer types, says Rusten.

It will be important to determine if pharmacological agents can specifically target LKB1 in animals or in human cells in culture, and how such potential treatment may be transferred to the clinic.

– This is another example on how long-term financial commitments to basic research can lead to high-quality preclinical results. Hopefully, our findings will help provide better treatment for future cancer patients, concludes Rusten

Illustration: Oslo Cancer Society

Raising Prostate Cancer Awareness

This week on Monday, Prostate Cancer Day, the Norwegian Cancer Society initiated their Blue-Ribbon Campaign to raise prostate cancer awareness. In line with the campaign, Oslo Cancer Cluster gives you the chance to update yourselves on prostate cancer research Thursday the 30th of November.

 

The Blue-Ribbon campaign is initially a month’s focus on prostate cancer, one of the deadliest forms of cancers we know. On average, every day three people die of prostate cancer in Norway alone. Over the length of a year, that number climbs above 5000 and they are all exclusively male.

For 20 years the Pink-Ribbon Campaign has been synonymous with awareness of breast cancer, a form of cancer that almost exclusively affect women. The movement was a success and brought a lot of attention and money for breast cancer research. Now, the attention turns to men and prostate cancer.

Research Needed
— I think we will receive a lot of attention with this campaign. The disease affects so many and is under communicated. Men often keep this type of information to themselves. And importantly, we need more research on the subject, says Anne Lyse Ryel, Secretary General at the Norwegian Cancer Society.

First and foremost, the campaign aims to lift prostate cancer into the limelight. Subsequently lifting taboos and increasing awareness among men and the population at large. Next in line is money for research. It is severely needed because reaching 2030, estimates predict an 40 percent increase on the frequency of prostate cancer.

An Update on Prostate Cancer
However, research is very much ongoing. And, if you are wondering what the most current research on prostate cancer entails? Visit Oslo Cancer Cluster’s R&D Network Meeting that Thursday the 30th of November focuses on exactly prostate cancer research. It can serve as a very informative conclusion to a month of prostate cancer awareness. Listen to prominent experts explaining current research and where prostate cancer research is heading in the future.

Read more about our Prostate Cancer meeting.

Øyvind Arnesen, Ultimovacs. Photo: Oslo Cancer Cluster

New Funds for Ultimovacs

Investors are recognizing the huge potential of Oslo Cancer Cluster member Ultimovacs. They are currently investing an additional 125 million NOK in the cancer research company.

 

Well known investors and Ultimovacs backers Stein Erik Hagen, Anders Wilhelmsen og Bjørn Rune Gjelsten are among financiers putting fresh money into the cancer research company, according to the Norwegian newspaper Finansavisen.

Preparing for the Stock Exchange
Kjetil Fjeldanger,  the Ultimovacs chairman, believes a stock exchange listing within 12-18 months is realistic. – We will start the preparations for a stock exchange listing to prepare for further financing, says Fjeldanger.

Ultimovacs has so far gathered a lot of funds. However, a lot of funding still remains because of the sheer cost of doing cancer research.

– Current funds will fund us until the start of phase two of clinical studies, explains General Manager of Ultimovacs, Øyvind Arnesen.

Fighting Cancer with the Body’s Own Tools
The company is developing a cancer vaccine that helps the body’s own immune system fight cancer. Currently, three concluded studies have been combined into one, and all participating patients will now be followed closely during a five year period to monitor their survival rate.

– The patients are doing well, but the documentation is not sufficient, but we continue in very good spirits, explains Arnesen.

However, a commercial vaccine will not be for sale until 2021, according to Arnesen.

Arnesen and Ultimovacs are also initiating a new study on melanoma cancer where the vaccine is used in combination with the most common immunotherapy remedies. The hope is that the two methods will strengthen each other and make an efficient cancer fighting remedy together. The study will conclude in 18 months.

Image illustration: Shutterstock

Photocure with FDA Priority

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Photucure recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted a Priority Review for an expansion of Cysview.

 

The FDA has accepted a supplemental New Drug Application (NDA) for Cysview on a priority review basis. Photocure, the Oslo, Norway-based company that developed and is marketing the drug-device system, wants to expand the labeling to include use for hospital patients not staying overnight.

Basically, a Priority Review  means that the FDA will speed up their approval process and a decision is now expected in the first half of 2018.

How Cysview Detects Cancer
Cysview is a method of detecting bladder cancer using photodynamic technology and is the only FDA approved product for use with blue light cystoscopy, where a device called a cystoscope is used to detect cancer inside the bladder.

Cysview is injected into the bladder through a catheter. It accumulates differentially in malignant cells. When illuminated with blue light from the cystoscope, the cancerous lesions fluoresce red, highlighting the malignant areas.

An important Tool
— Photocure is dedicated to improving the lives of patients with bladder cancer and we are committed to working with the FDA to bring this important clinical tool to the US market as soon as possible.

— We look forward to hearing a decision from the FDA early next year on the US Cysview® label expansion to include patients undergoing surveillance cystoscopy using a flexible scope, said Kjetil Hestdal, President & CEO, Photocure ASA.

 

 

 

About Photocure:

Photocure, the world leader in photodynamic technology, is a Norwegian based specialty pharmaceutical company. They develop and commercialize highly selective and effective solutions in several disease areas such as bladder cancer, HPV and precancerous lesions of the cervix and acne.

Their aim is to improve patient care and quality of life by making solutions based on Photocure Technology™ accessible to patients worldwide.

Photocure was founded by the Norwegian Radium Hospital in 1997. Today, the company, headquartered in Oslo, Norway, has over 60 highly skilled employees and operates in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the United States.

Illustration photo: Shutterstock

Targovax Releases Positive Clinical Results

Targovax has received very positive results regarding the survival rate of patients with pancreatic cancer.

Immune-oncology aims to help the body’s own immune system fight cancer and the ambition is to address the unmet need for long-term survival for patients with advanced cancers.

13 of 13
The company specializes in immune-oncology and is a member of Oslo Cancer Cluster. It recently released information revealing that 13 of 13 test subjects where alive after one year of treatment in a stage two clinical trial study. In addition, an active immune response–meaning the immune system was triggered to attack the cancer–was observed in as much as 11 of 13 patients.

No allergic reactions
These results came after the number of test subjects were reduced from 19 to 13 to see if allergic reactions stalled with reduced dosages of the TG01; Targovax’s lead RAS immunotherapy product. And luckily, no serious allergic reactions were observed,

Magnus  Jäderberg MD, Chief Medical Officer of Targovax, said:

– We are delighted that we maintain a strong immune response and one-year survival rate with the reduced dosing  regimen, essentially  equivalent  to  and  consistent with the previously  reported data  from the  main cohort.

These new results are so positive that stock market analysts DnB Markeds predict a serious stock market rise for Targovax.

 

About Targovax

Arming the patient’s immune system to fight cancer

Targovax is a clinical stage company focused on developing and commercializing novel immuno-oncology therapies to target, primarily, treatment-resistant solid tumors. Immuno-oncology is currently one of the fastest growing therapeutic fields in medicine.

In July, 2016 the Company listed its shares on Oslo Axess.

Read more

 

Ketil Widerberg, daglig leder i Oslo Cancer Cluster, skriver om digital helse i denne kronikken.

Digital helse – hype eller håp?

En kortere versjon av denne kronikken sto på trykk i Aftenposten 13.10.2017. Du kan lese innlegget i Aftenposten her

Vi må forhindre at digital helse blir digitalt kvakksalveri.

 

Hva får vi hvis vi smelter sammen teknologi og biologi? Jo, digital helse. Her finner vi et kinderegg for pasienter, leger og forskere. Det inneholder unike muligheter til presis behandling for pasienter og leger, og kan gjøre at forskere ser nye mønstre og bedre forstår hvordan kroppen fungerer.

Digital helse innebærer at forskere og leger analyserer data i helseregistre, biobanker og gjør kliniske studier for å gi oss bedre behandling. Samtidig digitaliserer vi selv stadig mer av det vi ser og opplever. Det gir oss mulighet til å spore, styre og forbedre helsen og leve mer produktive liv.

En fremtidsdrøm?
På samme måte som flygende biler siden 70-tallet alltid har ligget noen tiår frem i tid, har vi de siste tjue årene hørt om den fantastiske fremtiden med digital helse. Vi har hørt om leger som får råd fra datamaskiner, et helsesystem som lærer av feil og forbedrer rutiner, forskere med banebrytende teknologi og pasienter som selv oppdager tidlige symptomer.

Det er ikke tilfellet i dag. På legekontorer og sykehus sitter leger foran datamaskinen og skriver inn samme tekst i forskjellige systemer for lagring – ikke for analyse. Vi har et helsevesen som ofte gjentar feil fra året før, og forskere som først etter flere år får tilgang til data å analysere.

Vi snakket om digitale beslutningsstøttesystemer allerede for 15 år siden – så hvorfor forblir digital helse en fremtidsvisjon?

Innsatsen mangler ikke. Teknologifirmaer investerer mer i helse enn noen gang før. GV (tidligere Google Venture) har nå hoveddelen av sine investeringer i helserelaterte prosjekter. Legemiddelselskaper fokuserer på digital omstilling. Stater har store programmer, som for eksempel Finland og Storbritannias satsing på sekvensering og presisjonsmedisin. Samtidig deler privatpersoner data som aldri før. Vi gjør det på Facebook, til Google og til selskaper som 23andMe. Med genetiske data fra over 1,2 millioner mennesker har 23andMe nå mer genetisk informasjon enn noen annen aktør i verden.

Digitalt kvakksalveri
Så hvorfor har vi ikke kommet lenger med digital helse? En del av svaret er at selv de digitale produktene som kan være nyttige, ofte mangler en måte å berike forholdet mellom legen og pasienten på. Ofte skaper slike produkter flere lag med programvare og krever nye prosedyrer. Dette øker kompleksiteten, i stedet for å frigjøre tid til pasienter. En unøyaktig sensor-app gjør det vanskeligere å finne ut hva som feiler en pasient.

Ingen ønsker at mulighetene og de positive produktene blir gjemt mellom såkalte digitale fremskritt som ikke fungerer eller faktisk hindrer omsorg, forvirrer pasienter og sløser bort tiden vår. Slike digitale tilbakeskritt kan være ineffektive elektroniske helsejournaler og en eksplosjon av digitale helseprodukter direkte til forbrukerne, med apper av blandet kvalitet. Vi må forhindre at digital helse blir digitalt kvakksalveri.

Hvordan kan vi i stedet berike forholdet mellom lege og pasient? Ved å bringe pasienten og legen inn i innovasjonssystemet. Der kan vi koble lovende oppstartselskaper med ledende globale firmaer og miljøer slik at de kan samarbeide om bedre løsninger for pasienten. Vi må se akademiske fag på tvers, og bringe ulike industrier sammen – ja, rett og slett skape nye økosystem for forskning og utvikling. Oslo Cancer Cluster er et eksempel på et slikt økosystem der pasientforeninger, sykehus, kreftforskere og firmaer finner bedre og raskere løsninger for kreftpasienter. Samarbeid bygger tillit som gjør at privat og offentlig drar i samme retning.

Samarbeid fra hype til håp
For å realisere håpet om digital helse, må holdninger og praksis endres på tre fronter. Det offentlige helse-Norge må gjøre helsedata mer tilgjengelig og bruke privat kompetanse. Private firmaer må på sin side prioritere nøyaktighet og sikkerhet og tilpasse sin teknologi til helsedata, og ikke omvendt. Samtidig må individer akseptere at helsedata deles for å få bedre folkehelse.

  1. Det offentlige må gjøre helsedata mer tilgjengelig.
    Ideelt burde leger hele tiden se etter mønstre hvor behandlingen fungerer og ikke fungerer, slik at offentlig helsevesen blir som en kontinuerlig klinisk studie på god helse. Ett steg på veien er å bruke offentlige helsedata for raskere testing og godkjenning av nye medisiner. Det vil hjelpe pasienter, skape arbeidsplasser og gi oss en solid plass i det internasjonale helsemarkedet. Det er helseministeren som må initiere dette, og han kan begynne med å følge opp helsedatautvalgets anbefalinger.
  2. Private firmaer må tilpasse teknologi til helsedata, ikke omvendt.
    Kunstig intelligens revolusjonerer bransje etter bransje. Teknologibransjen har for eksempel revolusjonert betaling og leveringssystemer for å gjøre 2000-tallets fiaskoer innen e-handel til dagens suksesshistorier. På samme måte må teknologifirmaene revolusjonere nøyaktighet og sikkerhet for å lykkes med kunstig intelligens i helse. De må forstå medisinske detaljer. Ved å samle teknologifirma, lege og pasient i ett økosystem kan vi få til dette.
  3. Vi må akseptere at våre helsedata blir delt.
    En ny virkelighet er at vi blir deltakere i forskningen på vår egen helse. Noen blir bekymret av dette. Kan forsikringsselskaper bruke det mot meg? De fleste av oss gir allerede fra oss data både når vi er friske og når vi er bekymret. Vi bruker betalingskort og fordelskort på apoteket og matbutikken. Hva og hvordan vi handler sier svært mye om vår helse. Data som pasienter selv lagrer i apper, fokusgrupper og genetiske analyser blir viktig for å komplimentere offentlige data.

De største gjennombruddene fremover ligger i grenseland mellom biologi og teknologi. Her må vi satse og tørre å samarbeide på nye områder. La oss bygge Norge som et ledende senter innen digital helse internasjonalt. Offentlig administrasjon, privat næringsliv og vi som individer må samarbeide for å unngå hype og digitalt kvakksalveri – og sammen skape reelt håp for bedre helse.

Ketil Widerberg, daglig leder i Oslo Cancer Cluster 

A hundred attendants gather at the BFS-IOA 2017 meeting at Elverum, where Curida is located. Photo: Curida

Curida’s Spreading Roots

Curida has come a long way from defending their place at the Norwegian factory to setting their sights internationally. What is Curida and their goal all about?

 

Creating value within ones own country while steadily spreading roots globally is no easy feat, but the young Norwegian pharmaceutical company Curida is blooming.


Overcoming the threat at Elverum

The company’s history is a classic tragedy intertwined with devotion and a feel-good ending. In 2013, change of ownership and new strategic priorities threatened to strip 190 employees from their jobs at the manufacturing site in Elverum, Norway. New owners Takeda announced that the site in Elverum was to be shut down, after providing pharmaceutical manufacturing since 1974.

What followed was a feat of patience and outstanding motivation. Employees and management joined forces to establish a new company, form a new business model, and get going. In July 2015, Curida was established and operation carried on.


Going abroad 

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Curida is now a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization, offering expertise in manufacturing and development of liquid pharmaceuticals.

The Curida customer base ranged from early-phase biotech companies to large, multinational pharma companies. Further growth in the international market is a top priority for the company. Curida is specialized on liquid products, using for example the advanced blow-fill-seal technology.

 

Unstoppable Ambition
Naturally, Curida has ambitious goals for home as well.

– In Norway we work closely with other start-up companies and make sure to help them thrive in production and innovation. Regardless of our vision to be a top-competitor internationally, locally, in Norway, we strive to become a national centre for industrialisation of medical innovation, says CEO Leif Rune Skymoen.

After overcoming the potential reality of shutting down, Curida now bursts through with unstoppable energy and ambition.

Missed Us at Oslo Innovation Week?

Luckily, all our events at Oslo Innovation Week and Forskningsdagene are available for a rerun. Have a look!

We had great audiences during our three events on the 27th and 28th of September. If your were not among them, sitting in the brand new science centre of the Norwegian Cancer Society, do not despair. The events were all live streamed on Facebook. You still have a chance to experience them right here.

The events were co-hosted with our partners the Norwegian Cancer Society, the Norwegian Radium Hospital Research Foundation (Radforsk), IBM, Cancer Research UK, Norway Health Tech and EAT.

 

The first event of the week was titled “Antibiotic resistance and cancer – current status, and how to prevent a potential apocalyptic scenario”.

Antibiotic resistance and cancer – Current status, and how to prevent a potential apocalyptic scenario #OIW2017

Posted by Kreftforeningen on Tuesday, September 26, 2017

 

Our secondary event had the title “Cancer research and innovation – benefit for patients”.

Cancer research and innovation – benefit for patients #OIW2017

Posted by Kreftforeningen on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

 

The third and final event on our Oslo Innovation Week calendar was about how big data may transform the development of cancer treatments. 

How Big Data may transform the development of cancer treatments #OIW2017

Posted by Kreftforeningen on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Scientist Synne Larsen (to the right) at Thermo Fisher Scientific shows the students from Ullern Upper Secondary School how the basis for Dynabeads are made.

Young Skills at Thermo Fischer

The innovation company of the year wants to encourage young talents. 

 

Six students from Ullern Upper Secondary School spent their school day at Thermo Fisher Scientific just days after the company won the prestigious award as the innovation company of the year in Norway.

As part of the school collaboration between Ullern Upper Secondary School and Oslo Cancer Cluster, Thermo Fisher Scientific opens their labs for science students at work deployment.

 

Curious about the school collaboration? Check out our new webpage!

The Dynabeads
The students got a unique insight into how one of Norway’s largest biotechnology companies advances their products, based on the so-called Ugelstad-beads or Dynabeads, developed by Professor John Ugelstad in the late 1970s.

Today, Dynabeads are further industrialized for use in specialized diagnostic tests and cancer treatments worldwide. Annually, the beads are used in an estimated number of four billion diagnostic analyses.

Scientist Synne Larsen and three students are in the company laboratory in Lillestrøm, a ten minute train ride from the capital, where Thermo Fisher Scientific quality checks its products in Norway.

Impressed students 
– I find it incredibly useful to see how our learning at school is being used in the workplace, says student Emma E. J. Botten.

Together with two co-students she was able to see the research and production done in the company’s facilities in Lillestrøm. In parallel, three of the girls’ fellow students were in Oslo and tried out life as crime scene investigators, using Dynabeads as a tool for finding DNA, in the company’s facilities in Montebello.

– It’s impressive to see how much work lies behind their products and how dedicated those who work here are, says student Nora B. Grone.

Diverse employment strategy
The students are in their third year at Ullern Upper Secondary School, with science as their speciality. They all want a career in medicine, global health, mathematics, physics or engineering. A tour of the lab and a visit to the factory were therefore among the highlights of the day.

– It was a bit overwhelming to see Ugelstad’s equation, which is the recipe for the beads, says student Thilde E. Kjorstad.

– Yes, but keep in mind that everyone cannot be as brilliant as Ugelstad. Everybody we employ is equally important and we must have people with different backgrounds and experience, says Erlend Ragnhildstveit, Research Director of Thermo Fisher Scientific in Norway.

Useful cooperation
Thermo Fisher Scientific is a member of Oslo Cancer Cluster. Part of the staff is situated in Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park, where Ullern Upper Secondary School is located as well.

– The collaboration with Ullern is useful and important to us as a company. This makes it easier to host deployments. In order to develop our business further, as well as the health industry in Norway, we need people with a science background, says Erlend Ragnhildstveit.

Collaborating in new research project, from the left: Professor Ola Myklebost, leader for NCGC and the research project, Dr. Richard Stratford, CEO of OncoImmunity, Professor Eivind Hovig, Institute for Cancer Research at Oslo University Hospital and Dr. Trevor Clancy, CSO at OncoImmunity.

Immunotherapy: Finding the Right Fit

A new Norwegian research collaboration helps uncover what treatments are the right fit for American cancer patients. Who are the collaborators and what are they doing?

There’s a lot of excitement and optimism concerning immuno-oncology, where the method is to utilize a person’s own immune system to treat cancer. However, excitement aside, methods such as this are often a costly experience, in expenses as well as negative and unpredictable side-effects for the person in treatment.

Calibrated Collaboration
Company OncoImmunity is collaborating with the Norwegian Cancer Genomics Consortium (NCGC) in finding out what is causing these serious and unpredictable side-effects.

– This collaboration is an exciting opportunity for us. This is because we can demonstrate the strength of our advanced bioinformatics tools and show how they can be used to detect combinations of genetic variation in the patient, as well as neoantigens in the tumour that can further be used as biomarkers for sensitivity to this type of cancer treatment, says Dr. Richard Stratford, CEO of OncoImmunity, in a recent press release.

OncoImmunity develops proprietary machine-learning software for personalized cancer immunotherapy. The company previously won a prestigious European grant for their work.

You can read about it here!

Patients with sarcomas
The researchers in the collaboration analyse the patient’s genes in the tumour. More specifically, they are looking at American patients by using pembrolizumab, a humanized antibody that blocks cancer protection, on patients with sarcoma – cancer in various binding tissues.

Sarcomas are a rare form of cancer where treatment for such procedures have not developed as much as other cancer treatments. Patients who have sarcoma have generally a worse prognosis than other groups.

The research will be shared with the organization Sarcoma Alliance for Research through Collaboration (SARC), helping researchers within the organization to better utilize the results.

The NCGC perspective
The NCGC has, with help from the Norwegian Research Council, established a platform for advanced analysis for such cases. On top of this, they have a vast network of expertise within the area of molecular oncology.

– We find it exciting to see better treatments that can work for multiple cancers where treatment provides promising results, despite limited response, says Professor Ola Myklebost, leader for NCGC and the research project, in a recent press release.

– It is important to be able to choose the right patients for the right treatments. Not only because the treatment is high in cost, but also because of the serious and negative side-effects, he adds.

Jutta Heix, international advisor at Oslo Cancer Cluster, works on bringing SPARK to Norway.

Creating a SPARK in Innovation and Industry

Stanford programme SPARK provides a shimmer of hope for startup companies. Now, SPARK sets sights on Norway. What exactly is SPARK?

We live in a world where technological and innovative solutions in medicine and healthcare are steadily pouring in. Not to mention, these solutions have the power to completely transform the health-sector in pinpointing and curing diseases before they even take hold.

Why, then, is it that we have the power to revolutionize healthcare, but don’t see it happen?

Unfortunate answer
The unfortunate answer lies in the explanation that most of these technological and innovative solutions have a tough time reaching the bedside from the bench. Reason being lack of funding, marketing or other important factors that help an industry flourish. How can we resolve this?

A solution
Enter SPARK: the Stanford programme that provides a unique partnership between the industry and university.

SPARK provides the necessary factors that help start-up and small companies to advance research breakthroughs. This is done by providing the education and mentorship needed to move the project along further.

SPARK scholars
More specifically, it works by providing graduate level courses about drug-development processes as well as “SPARK Scholars”—funding for project development and mentoring. This mentoring is provided by advisors who have expertise in product development, business, clinical care and generally preparing participants for generating research into therapies.

Coming to Norway
The University of Oslo : Life Sciences is planning to bring Stanford’s programme to Norway where two other European SPARK-programmes have visited Oslo in the summer to share their experiences. One of the univesity’s candidates has tested the programme at summer-school in Japan, as well.

 

Innovative solutions
Oslo Cancer Cluster has been an advocate for SPARK’s involvement in Norway, along along with the Norwegian Inflammation Network (NORIN), The Life Science Cluster and Norway Health Tech (previously Oslo Medtech).

Jutta Heix, the international advisor at Oslo Cancer Cluster, comments on SPARK’s involvement:

–The SPARK programme really fills a gap in the lively and growing biopharma innovation system here in Norway and will help to advance more projects and ideas from academia into innovative solutions for patients. In collaboration with SPARK Berlin and SPARK Finland, SPARK Norway will also contribute to building a European SPARK Network providing even broader support, exposure and collaboration opportunities for the academic innovators involved.  

 

An example of how the cytoscopy procedure is done. Photo: Photocure

Photocure’s Promising Combo

Photocure reveals promising results in bladder cancer through the use of Blue Light Cytoscopy alongside the drug Hexvix. 

Bladder cancer endangers 167,000 people in Europe annually followed by over 59,000 deaths.

Men are especially at risk, where a staggering 75% of bladder cancer cases occur. Not only that, but bladder cancer has a reputation as being one of the most expensive cancers to have, due to its high reccurence rate with an average of 61% reccurence the first year followed by 78% for the next five years.

The results we needed
As such, there is an increasingly urgent need to develop better methods of both managing and diagnosing the disease. We’re already hearing positive news from the Norwegian company Photocure; a leader in photodynamic technology. Photocure revealed the results from their study on the 18th of August, where the results appear promising in terms of prognosis and diagnosis.

The promising new combo
By combining Blue Light Cystoscopy (BLC) and Hexvix, Blue Light Cytoscopy being the insertion of a tube in the urinary tract instilled with a photosensitizing agent, they found the overall reccurence rate of three years had decreased substantially. More specifically, by combining Blue Light Cytoscopy with Hexvix, they found that the recurrence rate dropped down to 39% for the next three years, as opposed to using an optimized White Light Cytoscopy (WLC), a standard cytoscopy, that resulted in a 53.3% of reccurence.

Substantially better
The benefit was even more substantial for those with high-risk disease, where the chances of recurrence at year three were 52.1% for the Blue Light Cytoscopy combo as opposed to the White Light Cytoscopy, found to be at around 80%.

How does it work?
The probable reasoning for this improvement lies in how the new combo works to detect bladder cancer. By using Blue Light Cytoscopy with Hexvix, which is a drug that is selectively taken up by cancer cells in the bladder, they are able to see the cancer light up in bright pink. This enables the doctors  to accurately resect and make better management deciscions, thusly improving the patients outlook and way of life.

Image of metastasis in the mammory gland in relation to breast cancer.

Roche Medicine Ready to Fight Breast Cancer

On the 15th of August, drug Kadycla (trastuzumab emtansin) is finally approved by the Beslutningsforum and ready to help hundreds with breast cancer in Norway.

The drug, developed by company Roche, specifically targets patients with the variant HER2 positive breast cancer – a breast cancer that tests positive for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, a protein which promotes growth of cancer cells.

About 15-20% of cases in breast cancer, cancer cells have a gene mutation that produces excess HER2 protein, thusly making it a more aggressive form of breast cancer as well as being resistant to hormone therapy. However, treatments that specifically target HER2 are very effective.

New Drug Kadycla
This is where newly developed drug Kadycla comes in.

Kadycla is the first medicine targeted towards breast cancer patients where the cell lymph nodes are linked to the targeted antibody; meaning it’s the first drug where lymph nodes, or parts of the cell that filter out cancer, are linked to the antibody that attacks or even neutralizes the infected cell. This causes the chemo to target the HER2 positive cancer cells.

Prolonged Survival Rate
With the drugs approval, around one hundred Norwegian cancer patients are provided with a treatment program that shows a median prolonged survival rate of 5,8 months, compared to the combination of lapatinib and kapecitabine for persons with the variant HER2-positive breast cancer.

Better Quality of Life
On top of this, it’s known that spreading breast cancer is a deadly disease with lower quality of life, but Kadycla helps by attacking cancer cells in place of the body’s own healthy cells. Essentially, this means better quality of life for the patient due to fewer symptoms brought on by the disease.

Reached an Agreeable Solution
Kadycla, since September in 2014, has been recommended in the Norwegian Breast Cancer Group’s medical guidelines for those who would benefit from its capabilities. Roche, in this case, through the span of three years aligned eight different pricing options for the authorities. In regards to this, Audun Ohna, director of market access and pricing, comments:

– We have worked a long time so that Norwegian breast cancer patients can have the chance to use Kadycla in Norwegian health services. After roughly three years negotiating, where we have stretched ourselves thin both economically and in variating payment solutions, we can finally and gladly say we have reached a solution that is both acceptable for both parties. This will benefit patients, doctors and society as a whole.

Fun and games at Oslo Cancer Cluster's summer party, where the 14 new members presented themselves to the cluster.

Meet Our New Members – Part Two

We are proud to introduce Oslo Cancer Cluster’s new members. This is the second part of two stories about our new members.

You can find the first part HERE.

On the 24th of August, Oslo Cancer Cluster hosted a bustling summer party in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, where the new members had the chance to introduce their amazing work.

This is a brief introduction to those of the new members who primarily work in consulting.

Dehns
At Dehns, they have a commercially focused and practical approach to intellectual property that helps them to turn inspired thinking into patents, registered designs and trade marks. Dehns was founded in 1920 and has over 90 staff members, with offices in multiple locations across England. Dehns is one of the largest firms of trade mark and patent attorneys in Europe.

– Partnering with Oslo Cancer Cluster will allow us at Dehns to have more contact with the diverse members at Oslo Cancer Cluster that could benefit from our services. Norway is a buzzing place for opportunity, so we believe this is a special chance to be more present. By doing this, we hope to help companies with whatever questions or problems they might have, whilst also setting sights on getting in contact earlier, so that we can get to the root of the problem quicker and make a real impact as a result. Undoubtedly, getting to the root of the problem at the start is more exciting for everyone, and we aim to do just that, says Barbara Rigby, associate at Dehns.

GIAMAG
GIAMAG was established in 2012 as a commercial spin-off of Norway’s Institute for Energy Technology (IFE), where their patented technology is based off of the Institute’s research. GIAMAG is not wholly belonging to the area of consulting, but nonetheless offers consulting services in their product: one of the world’s most forceful and configurable magnets. GIAMAG’s mission is to provide solutions based on magnet technology for a varying range of industrial applications. They have the expertise to design and configure magnet systems to customer’s specific requirements.

Acapo
Acapo is an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) firm mainly focused on the maintanace of patents, trademark registrations and design. Acapo, despite being located in several places, works as one company. The head office is located in Bergen. Acapo has a joint administration with one legal and one patent department. They strive for the highest degree of both service and quality, where the most important assets are their highly qualified professionals and staff members. They do not only offer advice in areas related to Intellectual Property, but also in business areas. Acapo covers all technical fields.

Artemida
Artemida Pharma is a consultancy company in drug development who has highly experienced scientists representing multiple disciplines and therapeutic areas. Artemida Pharma offers optimised strategic drug development for biotechnology and pharmaceutic clients. They have past experience with a wide variety of clients, geographic areas and product types that enable them to offer integrared project-driven solutions.

DNV GL
DNV GL allows organizations to progress the sustainability and safety of their business. They provide classification, technical assurance, software and independent expert advisory services to the maritime, oil & gas and energy industries. They also provide certification services to customers across a wide range of industries. In terms of healthcare, they support organizations in this sector across the globe by applying system thinking to address risks and deliver high-quality, person centered care.

IRW Consulting
IRW is a Nordic Contract Research Organization (CRO) With more than fifteen years of experience in conducting clinical trials, non-interventional studies and medical device studies. They have built a wide network in Scandinavia as well as with the rest of Europe and the United States. IRW, depending on the customer’s requirements, is equipped with staff that is either outsourced or works with in-house projects. They cover all stages of clinical development.

New member Precision Oncology at the summer party. From the left: Patricia Devitt, President, Maureen Higgins, Director of Clinical Operations, Deborah Phippard, Vice-president and Andrea Cotton-Berry, Head of Strategic Operations.

Meet our new members – Part One

We are proud to introduce Oslo Cancer Cluster’s new members. This is the first part of two stories about our new members.

You can find the second part HERE.

On the 24th of August, Oslo Cancer Cluster hosted a summer party with the intention of getting to know their newest members in an informative and fun setting. The party started with a heartfelt welcome and speech held by Oslo Cancer Cluster’s General Manager Ketil Widerberg and intensive mingling amongst guests. After the welcome was in order, each member stood up, in turn, to introduce their amazing work.

Of the 14 new members we have so far this year, here’s an introduction to those who primarily work in the area of biotechnology.

Precision Oncology
Precision Oncology is a specialty contract research organization (CRO) that provides clinical research services. The company primarily provides application of metrics-driven project management to perfect oncology drug development.

As for their inspiration and reasoning for joining the Oslo Cancer Cluster roster of members, Andrea Cotton-Berry, head of Strategic operations at Precision Oncology, responds:

– What really inspires us at Precision Oncology, is matching the right drug to the right patient, by using biomarkers for patient identification and stratification; a true personalized medicine approach, to find more efficient treatments for patients with advanced cancers. We are looking forward to bringing our team of oncology development experts to contribute to the Oslo Cancer Cluster mission and initiatives, especially advancing immuno-oncology research.

Personalis
Personalis is a leading preciscion medicine company focused on advancing next generation sequencing based services for immuno-oncology. The company is mainly focused on producing the most accurate genetic sequence from each sample set, and using analytics and privately owned content to draw reliable and accurate biomedical interpretations of the data.

In regards to current and future inspiration, Erin Newburn, Senior Manager and Field Applications Scientist at Personalis, comments:

– We aspire to utilize next-generation sequencing as a multi-dimensional platform for bio-marker discovery across cancer therapeutics, as well as throughout developmental stages.

iNANOD
iNANOD is a nanotechnology based anti-cancer drug developing company established in 2016. Their goal is to increase efficacy of anti-cancer drugs and to reduce side-effects for cancer patients as well as maximizing the patients longevity. They aim to become a pharmaceutical company for anti-cancer nanomedicines in the near future.

As for expectations and reasoning for joining Oslo Cancer Cluster, Nalinava Sengupta, CEO and Co-Founder of iNANOD shares his view:

– We think our project – to develop cancer nano-medicine – fits best with Oslo Cancer Cluster. In the incubator we get in touch with other similar firms who have achieved milestones in cancer drug delivery. We expect synergistic knowledge transfer within the incubator network, as well as various kinds of help from the cancer research related entrepreneurial ecosystem developed at Oslo Cancer Cluster. This also helps with business developmental aspects and project application writing.

Norgenotech
Norgenotech is a start-up company that originated from the EU project COMICS that aimed at improving production methods for analysis of DNA damage and repair. Norgenotech mainly assesses genotoxicity, or property of chemical agents that damage the genetic information within a cell, as well as drugs. The company also participates in research projects and developing tools for measuring DNA integrity in patients.

Eisai
Eisai AB originates from a global company in Japan that is active in the manufacturing and marketing of pharmaceutical drugs, pharmaceutical production systems, and over-the-counter drugs. Eisai AB, that will be joining the Oslo Cancer Cluster roster of members, is the sales subsidiary of Eisai Company.

Immunitrack
Immunitrack is a startup company with capabilities in production and studies of protein molecules central to the adaptive immune system in humans in order to develop new therapeutics. Their mission is to provide the research community with tools to redesign or select drug candidates at the early stage of research and development, but also to provide reagents to monitor leading drug candidates effect on patient’s immune system.

Nacamed
Nacamed‘s goal is to produce nanoparticles of silicon material for targeted drug delivery of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and diagnostics to kill cancer cells. By using silicon nanoparticles in cases such as therapy, the particles are biodegradable which entails a clean delivery without any side-effects as they completely disappear and dissolve from the body.

Arctic Pharma
Arctic Pharma is a privately held startup biotech company founded in 2012 that primarily focuses on developing innovative anti-cancer drugs. They do this by exploiting cancer cells and their peculiar features, or more specifically, by targeting key enzymes that are upregulated, or have been increased in terms of stimulus with inhibitors designed at Arctic Pharma. Essentially, their main mission is to become a leader in designing cancer therapies that are both environmentally friendly and have few side effects.

The team from Thermo Fischer Scientific Norway accepts the Innovation Award. From the left: Director of Research Erlend Ragnhildstveit, Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland, CEO Ole Dahlberg and Senior Researcher Geir Fonnum. Photo: Sindre Mekjan/Forskningsrådet

Thermo Fisher Scientific Wins Innovation Award

The Research Council of Norway has given Thermo Fisher Scientific the prestigious Innovation Award for their Dynabeads.

 

The Oslo Cancer Cluster member Thermo Fischer Scientific was awarded the prize for developing an entirely new variant of an existing product, making it possible to analyse human genes quickly and effectively and improve diagnostic testing and patient treatment.

This is the technology known as «Dynabeads» that makes faster and cheaper DNA-sequencing accesible.

– The award means a lot to us as a company, and to everybody who has been working on product, production and launch during these years. It is an acknowledgement that investment, cooperation and important global products are noticed, says Ole Dahlberg, CEO at Thermo Fischer Scientific Norway.

Vital role in Norwegian biotech
Thermo Fisher Scientific is one of Norway´s leading biotechs and among the most profitable. The company has played a vital role in Norwegian biotech with the development of «Dynabeads», used all over the world to separate, isolate and manipulate biological materials.

Thermo Fisher’s Dynabeads are used in basic research, in billions of diagnostic tests, as well as in immunotherapy.

In May this year, Thermo Fisher Scientific was nominated for the “Norway’s smartest industrial company” award for the same technology. The smart element was using the beads in a completely new way on a microchip in combination with semiconductor technology. This link between biotech and electronics has created the instruments from Thermo Fisher which we now see in research institutes and diagnostic labs all over the world.

Ambitious research and development
– Thermo Fisher Scientific is carrying out an ambitious research and development effort in a very important area. The company is achieving this by using its own resources, seeking cooperation with exacting customers and drawing on public funding schemes from, among others, the Research Council of Norway. In this way, the company contributes to job creation as well as value creation, said Monica Mæland, Minister of Trade and Industry, according to The Research Council of Norway. She presented the Innovation Award during the Arendal Week in August.

The Research Council’s Innovation Award comprises a cash prize of NOK 500 000 and is given each year to a business or public entity that has demonstrated an outstanding ability to apply research results to create research-based innovation.

Det første panelet besto av Ketil Widerberg, daglig leder i Oslo Cancer Cluster, overlege Asbjørg Stray-Pedersen og Giske Ursin, direktør i Kreftregisteret. De svarte på spørsmål fra ordstyrer Ole Johan Borge, direktør i Bioteknologirådet.

Persontilpasset medisin i Arendal

Sentrale fagmiljøer og helsepolitikere møttes på Oslo Cancer Clusters første åpne møte under Arendalsuka. De diskuterte hva persontilpasset medisin har potensial til å være – og hva som skal til for å oppnå resultater av forskning og klinisk bruk.

Hva er egentlig persontilpasset medisin? Det handler enkelt forklart om at forebygging og behandling av sykdom skal bli bedre tilpasset den enkeltes biologi. Veien dit går gjennom forskning på genetisk variasjon. Slik forskning gir innsikt i hvorfor noen blir syke og andre ikke.

Tirsdag 15. august samlet folk seg i skipet MS Sandnes ved kaia Pollen i Arendal for å høre om persontilpasset medisin i medisinsk forskning og klinisk bruk.

Debatten ble arrangert av Bioteknologirådet, K.G. Jebsen-senter for genetisk epidemiologi – NTNU, Folkehelseinstituttet, Helsedirektoratet, Kreftregisteret og Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Alle vil ha det – hvordan gjøre det?
Fagmiljøer, politikere, pasienter og næringsliv ser ut til å ønske en utvikling mot mer persontilpasset medisin velkommen. Hvordan kommer vi fram til et helsevesen der dette er vanlig praksis?

Ole Johan Borge, direktør i Bioteknologirådet, var ordstyrer. Han åpnet møtet med å minne om målet for persontilpasset medisin: å tilby pasienter mer presis og målrettet diagnostikk og behandling, og samtidig unngå behandlinger som ikke har effekt.

Næringslivets mange muligheter
Kreft er det medisinske området som er tidligst ute med å ta i bruk persontilpasset medisin i Norge. Ketil Widerberg er daglig leder i Oslo Cancer Cluster. Han deltok i panelet under debatten, og fikk spørsmålet:

– Du representerer en næringslivsklynge. Hvilke roller kan store og små næringsaktører spille innen norsk helsevesen for persontilpasset medisin?

– Store farmaaktører og små biotekselskaper er viktige i utvikling av ny medisin. Store internasjonale selskaper kan komme hit til Norge for å teste ut og utvikle nye medisiner her. Store næringslivsaktører innen teknologi, som ikke tradisjonelt er involvert i helse, er det i dag ikke klart hvordan skal samhandle med helsesystemet. Apple har i flere tiår sagt at de vil inn i helse, men de har ikke klart det i USA. I Norge har vi imidlertid tilliten og muligheten til å skape slik samhandling. Dette er noe andre land ikke nødvendigvis har, sa Ketil Widerberg.

Personvern og persontilpasset
En stor del av debatten handlet om hensynet til personvern mot behovet for mer forskning på persontilpasset medisin. Er det slik at vi må velge mellom personvern og god forskning på persontilpasset medisin?

Hør hvordan paneldeltakerne tok tak i dette spørsmålet i denne videoen på Bioteknologirådets nettsider.

I videoen kan du til sist høre hva politikere fra Arbeiderpartiet og Høyre mener om persontilpasset medisin i Norge – og hva de vil gjøre først dersom de får statsrådposten innen helse etter Stortingsvalget i 2017.

Oslo Cancer Cluster har flere åpne arrangementer under Arendalsuka. Finn ut når og hvor her! 

Dr. Bora Sieng, a chemist from Arctic Pharma (to the left), is passionate about his work and hopes the pupils are too.

Having Chemistry with Chemistry

Interested pupils at Ullern Upper Secondary School arrive at laboratory 117 to learn alongside Dr. Bora Sieng, a chemist in Arctic Pharma. Dr. Sieng advocates for the importance of chemistry and encourages pupils to pursue a career in the exciting field of chemistry.

 

At nine o’clock in the morning, three boys eagerly gather outside laboratory room 117. They’re waiting for an exciting opportunity offered by the collaboration between Ullern Upper Secondary and Oslo Cancer Cluster. This opportunity provides pupils the chance to see how chemistry is used in a real-life setting (a biotech company). This allows pupils to apply what they have learned in the classroom and in their textbooks to real-life scientific problems, such as developing new therapies for diseases.

The door opens and Dr. Bora Sieng greets the students with a friendly smile and handshakes. Dr. Sieng, who has a PhD in organic chemistry and is project leader in Arctic Pharma, welcomes them in. Arctic Pharma is a small start-up company developing innovative anti-cancer drugs.

Reaction Action
When entering the lab, we can feel the excitement between the pupils, they are here to learn. Dr. Sieng asks the boys what level of chemistry the pupils have taken. They nervously, but excitedly respond that they haven’t taken advanced levels, but know basic organic chemistry. Thus, they’re put to work after going through some textbook examples and introductory concepts. It’s time for some chemistry cooking!

A Collaboration is Formed
Arctic Pharma relocated their chemistry laboratory temporarily to Ullern in April. Dr. Sieng has been using the laboratory since then. He offers some insight into the new collaboration between Arctic Pharma and Ullern Upper Secondary School.

– For the past few months, I have had the opportunity to carry out my work using the facilities at Ullern through Arctic Pharma’s Collaboration with the school. I feel the school collaboration is a win-win for Arctic Pharma and the pupils at Ullern. Arctic Pharma is committed to introduce pupils to organic chemistry from a company’s perspective. This provides the students with the chance to get a feel of what it is like to work in a biotech company and to see how their education can be applied.

Chemistry is Exciting
When asked why exactly the pupils should learn chemistry, Dr. Sieng responds with this:

– Organic chemistry is fascinating! It can have many applications such as drug design and development, cosmetics, material development in, for example, rubber, plastics, detergents and paints as well as production of chemicals used in agriculture, to name a few examples.

Next Generation
At Arctic Pharma, Dr. Sieng works in a team of scientists that specialize in different fields important for drug design and development. As a medicinal organic chemist, Dr. Sieng is passionate about his work, and hopes to inspire the new generation of chemists.

–  To keep Norway a world innovator, the field of chemistry is important and we especially need to nourish the next generation of chemists and scientists, hence this collaboration is also important for our country.

Essentially, we need to ensure a future for Norway that will continue to thrive, construct and further the research that will help us continue down the path of innovative discovery. Such a future can only be secured if we continue to unlock the potential that chemistry offers us; a future waiting to be unlocked by the next generation.

The PERMIDES project hosts international workshops for their participants. This is from a workshop in Oslo in May 2017.

Funding Innovation in BioPharma and IT

What kind of work does it take to receive PERMIDES funding for innovative concepts and projects? Meet one of the companies that just received funding. 

 

22 collaboration projects will receive a total of 1,25 Million Euros from PERMIDES for innovation projects between small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from biopharma, bioinformatics and the IT sector. 

One of the lucky companies to receive innovation funding is Oslo Cancer Cluster member Myhere. For MyHere, it was especially important that the PERMIDES initiative is focused on the intersection between BioPharma and IT.

– Working with partners that are specialized in our field makes it easier to communicate the mission we are on, the concrete problems we are trying to solve and to qualify if we are a good match for each other or not. Furthermore, as we learned about the people and companies involved with PERMIDES, we discovered that we could learn a lot from the experiences of other SMEs in the program, says Jon-Bendik Thue, CEO at MyHere.

An innovative health app
MyHere’s mission is mainly carried out through the use of their app. This app, which pinpoints levels of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) in the bloodstream, enables a clearer outlook on potential prostate cancer and when to promptly, and timely, seek help. Thus, this app creates a balanced overview of prostate cancer that can save the patient and doctor from underdoing and overdoing the process. Essentially, the app is designed to save lives.

In this video, from MyHere’s webpage, the company explains the concept:

Essential health data
The funding will enable MyHere to start with a project that manages content from owners of health data. Health data is a tremendous resource, but unfortunately also tremendously underutilized. One important factor is the issue with getting consent from the owner of health data for research purposes. Typically, the owner is the individual the information was generated from, often in the role as a patient.

– As a provider of medical services directly to consumers, while at the same time organizing data across patient journeys, we are in a unique position to help solve the issue with consent for use of data. The funding from PERMIDES will allow us to build a dynamic data owner content management system, that will be integrated into our medical service platform. We are very excited about this project and we look forward to implementing it with our partner FramX, says Thue.

– Without this funding, we would have had to postpone the initiative without knowing when we would be able to realize it. Now we are thrilled that we will be able to hit the ground running right after the short Norwegian summer, he adds.

More winners in this round
Another Oslo Cancer Cluster member that got funding in this PERMIDES call is Arctic Pharma, a small start-up company committed to developing innovative anti-cancer drugs by exploiting the peculiar metabolic features of cancer cells.

These two Oslo Cancer Cluster members were among six Norwegian companies involved in four successful applications for Innovation Voucher funding. All of them will be able to initiate their joint projects in August and expect to see results early next year.

 

Part of a cancerous tumour within the intestine. (See the entire picture below.) The green line represents manual marking of the tumour, while the blue is automated.

Doing More in Prognosis and Diagnosis

The project DoMore! aims to achieve better and faster diagnosis and prognosis with information and communication technology solutions. 

 

Technological innovation brightens the future ahead. With an increase in investment towards these areas, we create not only further potential in the technological field, but see betterment in the area it was produced for – such as productivity, reliability, effectiveness and so on. This is great news, especially in terms of cancer treatment where continuous betterment is essential. But how, and to what effect, is this done?

Project DoMore! has the answers.

The project, funded by the Norwegian Research Council and including members of Oslo Cancer Cluster’s team, debates the future of doing more with modernized thinking.

How do they do it?
This is done by putting more effort into research and development of information and communication technology solutions to supplement, or even replace, methods in pathology: the study of causality in diseases. DoMore!, in this case, will increase productivity and quality of cancer treatment.

Close-up of a cancerous tumour within the intestine. The green line represents manual marking of the tumour, while the blue is automated. Photo: Institute for Cancer Genetics and Informatics

The Ambition
The goal, then, is to decrease the slight human error brought on by complex decision making and visual observation to a computer basis with unbiased, reproducible and greater accuracy in algorithms. By doing this, DoMore! hopes to increase efficiency in pathology, methods and markers to aid the clinician in giving better and more personalised treatment to cancer patients everywhere.

On top of this, DoMore! believes the same efficiency will apply to patents, publications, products and spin-off companies, as well as decreasing overall cost and treatment time.

Harbinger of Innovation
In regards to the importance of this project, Ketil Widerberg, who is General Manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster, highlights:

– Project DoMore! furthers the innovative process. This combination of biology and technology will become increasingly important, especially in the area of pathology. Ultimately, Project DoMore! is setting a great example of being the harbinger of our adapting future.

Targeting the Big Three
As of now, project DoMore! will be focusing on three major cancer forms: lung, colorectal and prostate cancer. These account for 44% of all deaths brought on by cancer and are amongst the most common.

Better Prognosis and Diagnosis Ahead
Undoubtedly, project DoMore! is set out to achieve great things. Already within the bright future of 2021, they hope to offer much securer and faster systems for diagnosis and prognosis amongst cancer patients.

Else Marit Inderberg and Sébastien Wälchli often work in one of the cell labs in Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator. Photo: Christopher Olssøn

How Cancer Research Becomes a Company

The Department of Cellular Therapy is great at transforming cancer research into new companies. The latest spin-out is Zelluna.

 

The Department of Cellular Therapy at the Radium Hospital, Oslo University Hospital, features one of Europe’s largest and most modern good manufacturing practice (GMP) facilities for cellular products. Head of the department is Prof. Gunnar Kvalheim. They are also conducting translational research, and their research has been spun out as several companies, such as the newly established company Zelluna.

The immunomonitoring unit is a major part of the department, and is led by Else Marit Inderberg. This unit is situated in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, which is an integrated part of the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park. A translational research lab has been created and is associated to the immunomonitoring unit.

The cancer killer
“Our major strength is that we have all aspects within the department to take cellular research from the bed to bench and back again. We have the equipment and the specialists to do everything here”, says Inderberg.

Together with Sébastien Wälchli, she is also the project leader for the translational research lab. Here, they develop cancer vaccines and work with adoptive T cell therapy. A T cell, or T lymphocyte, is a type of lymphocyte (a subtype of white blood cell) that plays a central role in cell-mediated immunity. T cells have the capacity to kill cancer cells.

In the lab, they look for a T cell receptor (TCR), which is a molecule found on the surface of T cells. They use Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), which are engineered receptors that graft an arbitrary speci city onto a T cell. Ultimately, the researchers work with a universal cell line for cellular therapy – a universal cancer killer.

This is a T cell, or more precisely, an actin cytoskeleton of a T lymphocyte. The picture is obtained by a special micro- scope. The cell’s size: 38*38 μm. Photo: Pierre Dillard

Innovation from the biobank
“In the translational research lab, we think innovation all the time. In our research, we actively search for solutions to unmet medical needs within cancer”, says Inderberg.

The translational research lab was built upon the work done by the section for immunotherapy established by professor emeritus Gustav Gaudernack, and most of its activity relies on the use of a database of patient samples called the biobank. This specific biobank represents an inestimable source of information about the patients’ response to immunological treatments over the years. Furthermore, the patient material can be reanalysed and therapeutic molecules isolated. This is the basis of the company Zelluna.

Industrial collaborations
The Department of Cellular Therapy is heavily involved in both academic and industrial collaborations. The latter include collaborations with several biotech companies as well as pharma companies situated in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park, developing novel immunotherapy cancer treatments. Examples of industrial collaborations are the German company Medigene, the Norwegian biotechs Targovax, Ultimovacs, Lytix and PCI Biotech, and the bigger biopharmaceutical companies BMS, Novartis and ThermoFisher.

In addition to their industrial collaborations, the Department of Cellular Therapy also wants to commercialise their own projects.

The Zelluna Spin-out
“Our latest spin-out is Zelluna, which has recently been set up as a start-up. Staff has just been hired to drive the development of TCR-based therapies to clinical trials”, says Sébastien Wälchli.

The TCR-approach is based on identication of T cell receptors from patients clinically benefitting from treatment with vaccines from back in the nineties and early 2000s. The approach is to modify the patient T cells to express the same receptors before giving the cells back to the patients, ready to combat the cancer cells.

The company has been established through the efforts of the Radium Hospital Research Foundation as well as Inven2.

“This is a very interesting and unique approach. We are eagerly anticipating the development of the company”, says Inderberg.

The crowd at this year's BIO International Convention in San Diego. Photo: BIO International Convention

International Collaboration in Cancer Innovation

24 oncology innovators from 9 international hubs attended the 6th International Cancer Cluster Showcase in San Diego.

 

The International Cancer Cluster Showcase (ICCS) was born back in 2011 in Washington DC, during the world’s largest biotech conference, BIO International Convention. International cluster managers and representatives from the oncology field in Boston, Toulouse and Oslo met during a networking reception and agreed to team up for a joint initiative to expose their emerging oncology innovators to the global oncology community gathering at BIO.

This idea matured in a stimulating and dynamic annual meeting featuring oncology innovators from several North American and European innovation hubs.


Exciting partnering opportunities
During the  6th edition of ICCS around 200 delegates learned about exciting partnering opportunities pitched by 24 companies from 9 innovation hubs.

Oslo Cancer Cluster was represented by its member companies Oncoimmunity AS and Nordic Nanovector. The two companies presented their preclinical and clinical candidates for treating hematological cancers. Inven2, Norway’ largest tech transfer organisation, gave a glimpse into their growing oncology portfolio.

An overwhelming amount of cutting edge oncology innovations from leading North American and European industry clusters were presented in compact presentations. Poster sessions, networking parts and a final reception allowed the participants to connect and discuss collaboration opportunities.

– I hope that the ICCS 2017 reception was as productive for the participating biotechs as the BIO reception in Washington 6 years ago was for the founders of ICCS, said Jutta Heix, International Advisor at Oslo Cancer Cluster and coordinator for the event.

Oslo Cancer Cluster organizes international events, such as this PERMIDES workshop.

Our International Work

Oslo Cancer Cluster aims to enhance the visibility of oncology innovation made in Norway by being a significant partner for international clusters, global biopharma companies and academic centres.

– Our goal is to support our members in their effort to attract international partners, investments and successful academia-industry collaborations, says International Advisor Jutta Heix.

Heix is responsible for the cluster’s international initiatives, cluster network and partnering activities.

– Back in 2008, Oslo Cancer Cluster was not visible internationally, and few people knew about oncology innovation in Norway. We began to seek out partners and actively approach international pharma companies and other clusters offering relevant synergies, says Heix.


Building relationships abroad

The relationships thrive on joint initiatives. These include invitations to Norway with tailored programmes, where potential collaboration partners can meet academic teams, start-ups and biotechs. Oslo Cancer Cluster has also joined forces with other hubs and clusters internationally.

One such collaboration is the International Cancer Cluster Showcase (ICCS) at the global biotechnology gathering BIO International Convention in the US. In 2017, it is arranged for the 6th time, with European and North American partners, including the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center, The Oncopole in Québec, The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, Medicen in Paris and BioCat in Catalonia.

– This year the ICCS will showcase 24 innovative oncology companies from nine international innovation hubs and clusters. Three of our member companies in Oslo Cancer Cluster will use the opportunity to pitch their products and ideas to a global oncology audience, says Heix.

Jutta Heix is Oslo Cancer Cluster’s international advisor.


European and Nordic arenas
Meeting places are important in Europe too, with BIO-Europe, BIO-Europe Spring and Nordic Life Science Days at the top of the list. Oslo Cancer Cluster is the oncology partner at the Nordic Life Science Days. As a region, the Nordic countries are of international importance in the field of cancer research and innovation, especially in precision medicine, and Oslo Cancer Cluster participates in advancing Nordic collaboration.

Oslo Cancer Cluster also engages in more cancer specific European events. One example is the Association for Cancer Immunotherapy Meeting (CIMT), which is the largest European meeting in the field of cancer immunotherapy, also known as immuno-oncology.

– Many of our members are active in the field of immuno-oncology, so for a couple of years we have organized an event called CIMT Endeavour with German partners. The aim here is to discuss and promote translational research and innovation in immuno-oncology, says Heix.


Hot topics

Cancer immunotherapy has had a major impact on cancer treatment and global research and development in the cancer field. The concept took off with the approval of the first immune-checkpoint inhibitor, called Ipilimumab, in 2011. It offered a ground breaking new treatment for melanoma. In 2013, Science Magazine defined cancer immunotherapy as the breakthrough of the year. Since then, immunotherapy has been dominating the agenda of oncology meetings.

Other hot research and development topics are precision medicine and the increased digitization of the health sector. Oslo Cancer Cluster incorporates these topics in the international work, and aims to expand the services it provides for its members. The cluster recently got funding from Innovation Norway to do this, by adding an EU-advisor to the team.

– We want to increase our members’ involvement in EU’s research and innovation programme Horizon 2020. The new EU-advisor will help our members identify relevant funding schemes, find partners and prepare the applications, says Heix.

This initiative has already started to show some results. In the spring of 2017, Oslo Cancer Cluster member OncoImmunity AS won a prestigious Horizon 2020 SME Instrument grant, tailored for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). This grant targets innovative businesses with international ambitions — such as the bioinformatics company OncoImmunity.

 

New meeting places
– Member needs are important for us, as it is for clusters in general. Our network is for the benefit of our members. A good way of leveraging the network, is by creating relevant initiatives and new meeting places – to keep things moving forward, says Heix.

Oslo Cancer Cluster has new international initiatives coming up. One is in immuno-oncology, bringing Norwegian biotechs to the well-established research communities on the US East coast. The biotechs will get training and support, and will meet academic medical centres and biopharma companies in Boston and other cities. This initiative is supported by Innovation Norway’s Global Growth programme.

Another new initiative takes on academic innovation. More good ideas from academia should make it into patents, start-ups and investment opportunities for industry partners.

– Stanford University has a programme called SPARK. We are working with Norwegian partners, including The University of Oslo Life Science and The Norwegian Inflammation Network (NORIN), on implementing a Norwegian SPARK-programme. This will be part of the global SPARK-network, and we are already building a European node together with Berlin and Finland, Jutta Heix says.

New Board Members

Our newest board members are officially introduced! 

On the 24th of May in 2017, the general assembly meeting took place and fatefully decided Oslo Cancer Cluster’s newest board members. These members, despite having some big seats to fill, will take on a respectful duty belonging to the board: where professionals in the field function as the governing body for the company.

The Wish
Oslo Cancer Cluster wished to see their new board members possess backgrounds from both the University of Oslo and Oslo’s University Hospital, where experience in innovation and clinical expertise follow. They also wished for a pharmaceutical representative with international involvement. Seeing the results, it seems like the wish came true.

Innovation and Clinical Expertise
Inger Sandlie is one of the new members . She is a professor at the Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, and research group leader at the Department of Immunology, Oslo University Hospital. She is also deputy director of the Centre for Immune Regulation. The centre identifies and investigates novel mechanisms of immune dysregulation to advance the development of therapeutics.

Sandlie has co-authored more than 120 publications, supervised 15 PhDs, received awards for scientific innovation and is co-founder of Nextera A/S and Vaccibody A/S. She presently consults for Syntimmune A/S (Boston, US) as well as Albumedix A/S (Nottingham, UK), and serves on the board of the technology transfer office of the University of Oslo (Inven2) and The Norwegian Radium Hospital Research Foundation.

When asked why, in short, she has become a board member, Sandlie responded:

– I work within a network of scientists and biotechnology companies, and thus I think it’s extremely important to use this network alongside Oslo Cancer Cluster in order to influence positive change, as well as using its potential the best way possible.

Our other newest board member, Professor Øyvind Bruland, has a two decades experience as consultant oncologist at Radiumhospitalet, Oslo University Hospital. His main and tenure position is as professor of clinical oncology, University of Oslo. He specializes in primary bone and soft tissue cancers as well as skeletal metastases brought on by prostate and breast cancer. He has co-authored approximately 200 publications and supervised more than 20 PhD candidates. Bruland is one of the founders of the successful Norwegian biotech companies Algeta and Nordic Nanovector. He is also a co-founder of Oncoinvent.

When asked the same question as Sandlie, Bruland responded:

– I’m impressed with what Oslo Cancer Cluster has accomplished, but I think within certain areas like commercialization, some “new thinking” and support is needed. It’s important that we don’t get lost in bureaucracy.

International Pharma
Our third and final new board member, Benedikte Thunes Akre, has experience as a medical director at AstraZeneca, a global science-led pharmaceutical business with great success. On top of this, Thunes Akre has a long line of experience working with oncology throughout her career. Her response to why she has become a board member, was as follows:

– My main interest and experience throughout my career has been focused on oncology. The field is constantly emerging and I would like to contribute ensuring that Norwegian expertise is seen and recognized nationally as well as internationally, with the ultimate goal of improving the lives of patients.

Future and Past
In addition to the three new board members, Oslo Cancer Cluster is happy to include a new honourable member of the board: Jónas Einarsson. During the last 16 years, he has acted as the CEO for The Radium Hospital Hospital Research Foundation. He is also the founder and former CEO and chairman of the board of Oslo Cancer Cluster and Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park.

The future looks promising with our newest board members. We thank our previous board members, Ingvild Hagen, Professor Svein Stølen, and Professor Gunnar Seter for their great time, effort and contribution!

 

Ole Johan Borge, director at the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board, at the breakfast meeting "Your genes – the key to the future of cancer treatment?", 6 June 2017.

How Our Genes Will Change Cancer

Doctors, researchers and audience gather at breakfast to learn about genetics, data and how working together will help beat cancer.

The time is 8:15. Many have started to file in and shuffle to their seats while chatting and occasionally sipping their first morning coffee. As it starts to quiet down, the lights are dimmed, the audience wake up and the breakfast meeting begins.

An air of seriousness with a hint of respect changes the atmosphere, and the audience watches as the first guest speaker steps in and introduces the concept of genes and their relation to cancer.

– Cancer is brought on by errors in our genes. Most of the time, cancer is a result of the unlucky, says Borge, who is the director at the Norwegian Biotechnology Advisory Board.

This is the start of his talk on genes and cancer, where the audience is introduced to that which defines us most: DNA, the molecule of life.

To the moon and back
– 20,310 recipes in our genetic material. 2 meters of DNA in every cell. 10 Billion cells, of which 20 billion meters of DNA is found. If you do the math, astonishingly it amounts to 26,015 trips back and forth to the moon, Borg says, as he shows us a visual representation on the powerpoint slide. (See video in Norwegian.)

It’s this incredibly long strand of genetic material where things can go horribly wrong. If there’s a genetic error, or mutation in the DNA that happens to take place between the double helix and if there’s enough errors, cancer happens. This is the unfortunate fate for many of us.

– However, we may not have come a long way in finding the ultimate cure for cancer, but what we have accomplished is the ability and possibility of analysing, and ultimately predicting, cancer through genome sequencing, Borge says.

It was the best of times…
This message, as a central theme to the breakfast meeting taking place, shines a hopeful light in an otherwise frightful and serious subject. With genome sequencing, or list of our genes, scientists and doctors will have greater accuracy to predict genes that are potential carriers, and highly susceptible to, different cancers.

However, this requires a large amount of genome sequences: we need an army of genome data.

From terminal to chronic
To set further example, the next speaker to take the stage is oncologist Odd Terje Brustugun. He stresses the importance of personalized treatment for lung cancer patients, even those with metastatic cancers. These patients can be tested today to see if they are viable to receive new kinds of treatmemt, such as targeted therapy. This was the case for lung-cancer patient, and survivor for five years, Kari Grønås.

Kari Grønås was able to participate in a clinical study. She was treated with targeted therapy instead of the ordinary treatment for lung cancer patients at that time: chemotherapy.

– I feel I have gone from feeling like I have a terminal disease to a chronic one, she says from the podium.

Beating cancer: the story of us
This personalized approach is arguably what worked for Kari, setting the example and potential for the future. If we can analyse our own genes for potential cancer, then we are both able to prevent and provide personalized medicine catered to the individual. This is why genome sequencing is important for the future.

However, this cannot be done alone. To get a representable treatment for the individual, we need data. And data does not come reliably from one individual, but from the many.

– It is not your genes that are the key for tomorrows cancer research, it is ours. It is collaboration where large amounts of data and correlation will give us the knowledge that ensures the right path towards the future. A future with better cancer treatment for all, says Ole Johan Borge.

Esther Eriksen has experienced a lot as vice principle at Ullern Upper Secondary School. Photo: Oslo Cancer Cluster

A Constant State of Liveliness

A driving force behind the collaboration between Ullern Upper Secondary School and Oslo Cancer Cluster is stepping down. This is her adventure.

After fifteen great and productive years at Ullern Upper Secondary School, Esther Eriksen steps down from her position as vice principle in the upcoming month. Esther, who has been responsible for many various tasks in her position, has been a part of Ullern’s transformative experience alongside Oslo Cancer Cluster’s emergence in 2009 and recounts her time at Ullern.

A flourish of innovation
Esther Eriksen describes the transformation and unification of Ullern Upper Secondary School and Oslo Cancer Cluster as being a progression from a strong belief in it’s potential to a flourish of innovation.

The collaboration has become a constant state of liveliness: from pupils attending classes, to research, to teamwork and a continuous process of growth.

Since 2009, the school and the cluster, with all its member companies and institutions, has unified to produce a collaborative arena for the pupils. This is an experience Eriksen describes nothing short of “wonderful, educational and groundbreaking”.

Diversity in teamwork
– The collaborative experience is incredible due to the pupils’ ability to take in experience in regards to teamwork. Not to mention they learn how knowledge from books can be translated to hands on work and ultimately get a feel for what life has in store for them, says Eriksen.

Esther Eriksen describes her own experience as being much of the same, and stresses the notion of working as a team.

– Diversity in teamwork is really important! We see this from well-received results and happy pupils, says Eriksen.

Future potential
In regards to the future of this collaboration, Vice Principle Eriksen expresses her desire to see the school continue down the path it has set out on. She wants to see the pupils continue to learn, gain opportunities and continue to work collaboratively.

– I wish the pupils would gain further awareness of the potential this unification brings, and hope to see increased interest in teamwork as an integrity.

The best of moments
Esther Eriksen also shares what she would consider the best moments of her time at Ullern, of which these were her favorite:

  1. When the new school first opened in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park in 2015 – hard work finally turned to fruition
  2. Seeing how happy and motivated the pupils are when they do projects with scientists, businesses and hospitals in the cluster
  3. The emergence of vocational studies, such as electronics and health care studies, at Ullern Upper Secondary School

To conclude, Vice Principle Eriksen would like to leave the school and her colleagues this message: that she will continue to observe and follow the thriving development taking place at Ullern Upper Secondary School.

– This is only the beginning!

 

Project Manager Gupta Udatha (in the middle) and General Manager Ketil Widerberg from Oslo Cancer Cluster in conversation with research associate Birthe Mikkelsen Saberniak at the lab. Photo: Christopher Olssøn

Helping biotech companies through innovative IT solutions

The cluster-to-cluster project PERMIDES stimulates collaboration between biotech companies and IT companies. Its goal is to develop more innovative, personalized cancer treatments.

 

Oslo Cancer Cluster is currently involved in a big European collaboration through the cluster-to-cluster project PERMIDES.

24 May you can benefit from the project by joining the BIOMED INFORMATICS workshop in Oslo. This workshop brings together small and medium sized companies from the biopharma/medtech and IT sectors. (See the sidebar for more info on this event.)

PERMIDES aims to utilize novel IT-solutions to accelerate drug development in biotech companies. Biotechs and the healthcare sector generally lag in using IT in their everyday work.


Can get better at IT

“I know of companies who still manage their clinical trial studies using Excel. This is not a good idea. An Excel sheet may only hold a limited amount of data before it crashes and you lose everything”, says Gupta Udatha.

Udatha is the PERMIDES project leader in Norway. He divides his time between Oslo and Halden, where the NCE Smart Energy Markets-cluster is situated. This cluster is mainly involved in IT. Other clusters participating in the project are from Austria and Germany.


Ambitious goals for next year

Before PERMIDES ends in 2018, it aims to have reached some ambitious goals:

  • 90 innovation projects between IT and biotechs will have received funding through a voucher system
  • 120 IT companies and biotech companies will have benefited from technology transfer activities
  • 75 enterprises will have participated in networking conferences at both regional and European levels
  • 100 companies will have placed their profile in a semantic matchmaking portal: the PERMIDES platform


Find your ideal match

The PERMIDES platform is designed to match IT-companies and biotech companies. As a supplementary service, Gupta Udatha and others involved in PERMIDES are currently busy arranging matchmaking events all over Europe. They try to find the perfect match between IT- and biotech companies interested in collaborating on projects on personalized medical treatment.

Through PERMIDES voucher funding, a biotech company can avail services for up to 60 000 Euros from an IT-company. This gives them a market advantage in digitalizing their processes.

“The health care and biopharma sectors must understand that new IT solutions are the way forward. Tasks which a company may spend weeks and months doing, may easily be done by a few smart IT-solutions, in just few clicks, says Udatha.


Pursuing new EU-programs

PERMIDES is the first EU-project Oslo Cancer Cluster is involved in, but it will not be the last. Oslo Cancer Cluster is actively seeking new EU-projects to apply for.

This year, Oslo Cancer Cluster and Oslo Medtech, another health cluster in Norway, are looking into new EU-projects to apply for together. They have received support from the Norwegian Research Council, that wants more Norwegian institutions and companies to get involved in EU-projects.

“Hopefully, we will have landed ten new EU-project applications by 2019”, says Udatha.

 

What PERMIDES is

  • Stands for Personalized Medicine Innovation through Digital Enterprise Solutions
  • The project is for European small and medium sized enterprises in biotech and IT
  • The aim is to strengthen the competitiveness and foster the innovation potential of personalized medicine as an emerging industry in Europe
  • PERMIDES offers workshops, funding schemes and a matchmaking portal for the participating companies
  • Read more on permides.eu


Clusters involved in PERMIDES
Oslo Cancer Cluster S.A (Norway)
NCE Smart Energy Markets, c/o Smart Innovation Østfold AS (Norway)
Software-Cluster c/o CyberForum e.V. (Germany)
Cluster für Individualisierte ImmunIntervention (Ci3) e.V. (Germany)
Intelligent views GmbH (Germany)
NETSYNO Software GmbH (Germany)
Oncotyrol – Center for Personalized Cancer Medicine GmbH (Austria)
IT-Cluster – Business Upper Austria, OÖ Wirtschaftsagentur GmbH (Austria)


Alle finalistene på scenen sammen med Sivas Espen Susegg og Ulf Hustad. Vinnerne, Bjørn Klem, Bente Prestegård og Ketil Widerberg fra Oslo Cancer Cluster, står i midten i hvite t-skjorter. Foto: Siva

Vi vant Siva-prisen 2017!

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator stakk av med Siva-prisen for 2017 på årets Siva-konferanse i Trondheim.

Slik beskriver Siva vinneren:

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator er en pådriver til utvikling av diagnostikk og behandling av kreftpasienter ved hjelp av ny revolusjonerende teknologi. De jobber med å omsette kreftforskning til nye medisiner og behandlingsformer. Dette gir nytt håp for kreftpasienter og bidrar til en ny helsenæring i Norge. Inkubatoren får daglig besøk av bedrifter, politikere, forskere, elever, gründere og andre som ønsker å lære eller bidra til helseinnovasjon.


Helseinnovasjon
– Alle snakker nå om at helseinnovasjon er viktig. Vi i Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator er en viktig aktør i innen helseinnovasjon. Vi ønsker å bidra nasjonalt i dette, med en klar tynge på kreft, sier Bjørn Klem, leder for Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

Han er fra seg av glede over at inkubatoren dro i land seieren på årets store Siva-happening, konferansen om den grenseløse industrien, som fant sted i Trondheim tirsdag 9. mai.


Penger til bedre nettverk
Verdiskapning og samarbeid jobber Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator mye med, og her vil de også bruke gevinsten, som er på 300 000 kroner.

– Vi omstiller norsk næringsliv og vil fortsette med det innenfor helsenæringen. Vi vil bruke gevinsten på å fortsette med det, og på å bedre nettverket mellom klyngene i Norge og Norden, sier Klem.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator kom til finalen sammen med MacGregor Norway og Protomore Kunnskapspark.

– De tre finalistene er formidable nyskapingsmiljøer som i vår bok alle er vinnere. De har på hver sin måte vært pådrivere for nyskaping og bidratt til den omstillingen og utviklingen som næringslivet i Norge er så avhengig av. Når det er sagt vil jeg på vegne av Siva gratulere Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator med en velfortjent seier. Vi håper de fortsetter det gode og viktige arbeidet med å utvikle medisiner og bedre behandling for kreftpasienter, sier Ulf Hustad, som er prosjektleder for prisen, til Sivas nettside.


En viktig konferanse for inkubatorene

I år kom rekordmange deltakere på Siva-konferansen. De kom fra ulike inkubatorer og næringsklynger, og talte omkring 300 stykker. På konferansen fikk de presentert et nytt initiativ kalt Norsk katapult. Her skal 50 millioner kroner brukes på å etablere såkalte katapult-fasiliteter, testfasiliteter i overgangen mellom forskning og etablert industri.


Om Siva

Siva står for Selskapet for industrivekst SF. Det ble etablert i 1968 og er en del av det næringsrettede virkemiddelapparatet. Siva er statens virkemiddel for tilretteleggende eierskap og utvikling av bedrifter og nærings- og kunnskapsmiljø i hele landet, med et særlig ansvar for å fremme vekstkraften i distriktene. Hovedmålet er å utløse lønnsom næringsutvikling i bedrifter og regionale nærings- og kunnskapsmiljø.

Nominated as “Norway’s smartest industrial company”

Thermo Fisher Scientific is one of three finalists to win the award and title in Oslo this Tuesday.

The technology which the biotech company is nominated for, is development of faster and cheaper DNA-sequencing. More than 70 companies were candidates for this year’s price, according to the Norwegian online tech magazine Teknisk Ukeblad. 

Thermo Fisher Scientific is one of Norway´s leading biotechs and among the most profitable. The company has played a vital role in Norwegian biotech with the development of «Dynabeads», used all over the world to separate, isolate and manipulate biological materials.

The smart element
On the question “why are you in the finals”, Ole Dahlberg, CEO at Thermo Fisher Scientific in Norway, is quick to answer.

“We have been capable of combining an established, older technology with another technology, creating maybe the most powerful tool for gene sequencing that we have in the world today”, says Dahlberg.

The smart element was using the beads in a completely new way on a microchip in combination with semiconductor technology. This link between biotech and electronics has created the instruments from Thermo Fisher which we now see in research institutes and diagnostic labs all over the world.

Ole Dahlberg, CEO at Thermo Fischer Scientific Norway, believes in their smart element.

Industrialising technology
What Thermo Fisher did, was to reduce the size of traditional magnetic beads to nano size. This resulted in much more efficient production methods. The number of people involved in the production of the beads, as well as the production time, could thereby be reduced.

Today, one person can produce ten times more beads in a day than 10-15 people could before, due to the new production technology, developed in-house.

Thermo Fisher’s Dynabeads are used in basic research, in billions of diagnostic tests, as well as in immunotherapy, all over the world. Innovation and further applications are being developed in close collaboration with research environments, clinics and industrial partners.

The importance of collaboration
“All the products we have developed, and those are quite a few, are developed in collaboration with academia and the clinical part of hospitals and other companies”, says Dahlberg.

His company has had a close collaboration with OUS Radiumhospitalet and SINTEF, and today it is part of Oslo Cancer Cluster and has offices in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

“We greatly believe in this kind of collaboration. It creates trust. One of the interesting things with the cluster is that it leans over in education. We need a broader interest for biotechnology and life science among the young, and we also recruit a lot of young people”, says Dahlberg.

A smart approach
Thermo Fischer Scientific gets their smart young coworkers directly from Norwegian universities like NTNU and UiO, as well as from abroad.

“We use a smart approach. It is all about putting the team first and making sure that the people who work here are dedicated and proud of our products”, says Dahlberg.

9 May is the day the winner will be announced at the Norwegian conference Industrikonferansen in Oslo, held by the union Norsk Industri, part of NHO.

 

About Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific in Norway was established in 1986. The company focuses on the diagnostics market as well as the development of innovative immunotherapeutics, especially within oncology. The client portfolio features many of the world’s largest pharma and diagnostics companies. In 2014 the company had 180 employees and a turn-over of 760 MNOK. The company has production units both in Oslo and Lillestrøm. The Norwegian company is a subsidiary to Thermo Fisher Scientific. Read more at www.thermofisher.com

More about cancer research in Thermo Fisher.

 

 

Ny rapport om helsenæringens verdi

En ny rapport om helsenæringens verdi er ute. Du kan laste ned rapporten her.  

 

Oslo Cancer Cluster er del av et konsortium som ønsker en oversikt over helsenæringens tilstand i Norge. Helseindustrien er en ung næring i Norge. Derfor måles den ikke som andre næringer av Statistisk Sentralbyrå. Dette er grunnen til at konsortiet har bestilt rapporten “Helsenæringens verdi” fra Menon Economics.

Rapporten beskriver helsenæringens omfang, utvikling og bidrag til det norske samfunnet. 

Rapporten tar opp flere temaer. Den beregner næringens verdiskaping, omsetning, sysselsetting, produktivitet og lønnsomhet. Den måler samlet forskningsinnsats og innovasjonsresultatene i næringen. Den avdekker også gründerbedriftenes kapitalbehov og næringens flaskehalser mot vekst og internasjonalisering. Til sist måler den næringens eksport og drøfter næringens samfunnsgevinster.

I 2016 gikk konsortiet for første gang sammen for å utarbeide en rapport som beskrev hele den norske helsenæringen i tall. Fjorårets rapport finner du her. Årets rapport bygger på fjorårets, med oppdaterte tall og med et bredere datagrunnlag.

Du finner den nye rapporten her: Helsenæringens Verdi (Menon-publikasjon Nr. 29 2017)

Høydepunkter fra rapporten:

  • 10 prosent omsetningsvekst fra 2014 til 2015: fra 47 milliarder kroner til 52 milliarder kroner
  • Omsetningen kan bli 61 milliarder i 2017
  • Helsenæringen er den mest forskningsintensive næringen i Norge
  • Åtte av ti bedrifter i helseindustrien hadde forsknings- og utviklingsaktivitet i 2016
  • 11 prosent av bedriftene regnes som gründerbedrifter. I næringslivet generelt er andelen to prosent
  • Helsesektoren har vokst med 141 prosent fra 2004 til 2014
  • Bedriftene innen helseindustrien er mer internasjonalt ambisiøse enn andre næringer

Deltakerne i konsortiet er:

Roche with approval for new lung cancer medication

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Roche has received approval for a medication against a specific form for lung cancer by the Norwegian Medicines Agency.  

 

Clinical data from a phase III study of the lung cancer medicine, named Alecensa, also shows significant approved survival for lung cancer patients.

This is important news for younger lung cancer patients because they have few treatments options today, often develop resistance to current standard of care within one year, and experience metastasis to the brain.

The specific form of lung cancer this drug, called Alecensa is approved for, is called anaplastic lymfomkinase (ALK) -positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In Norway lung cancer affects about 3 035 people per year. Of these almost five percent are ALK-positive. This cancer occurs mainly in young people of 50 years and under, with a specific type of non-small cell lung cancer, called adenocarcinoma. They normally smoke little or are non-smokers.

-We are glad that we finally can offer the lung cancer medicine Alecensa as a new treatment for Norwegian patients who no longer respond to the current standard treatment. We continue our efforts to improve research in personalised medicine to meet current unmet medical needs, says Elizabeth Jeffords, CEO of Roche Norway.

 

Clinical trials in Norway
Norwegian lung cancer patients have contributed to this study. Lead investigator in Norway is oncologist Åslaug Helland at Oslo University Hospital, Radium Hospital. She is one of the top ranked experts on this kind of lung cancer disease in Norway.

– Alecensa seems to be a very effective medication and is targeted for patients with ALK-positive lung cancer. About 90 people are diagnosed with this disease each year in Norway. This study has shown that the patients have good effect of the drug, with a long term effect and few side effects, says Helland.

Helland is pleased that a lot of new medications for lung cancer patients have been developed recently. She says this is due to the discovery of the driver-mutations for the disease.

– Lung cancer is the cancer that take the most lives in Norway, and we are glad for study results showing that patients can live longer without the disease worsening. Alecensa has now demonstrated efficacy both as first line therapy and second line therapy after treatment with crizotinib, says Jeffords.

 

About Alecensa
Alecensa (alektinib) is an oral drug, developed by Chugai Kamakura Research Laboratories of patients with non-small cell lung cancer whose tumors are assessed as ALK-positive. ALK-conditional positive, non-small cell lung cancer is often found in younger patients who are non-smokers, or who have previously smoked little. It is almost exclusively found in patients with a specific type of non-small cell lung cancer, called adenocarcinoma.

Alecensa has conditional marketing authorisation for the treatment of advanced (metastatic), ALK-positive, non-small cell lung cancer, where the condition is exacerbated by treatment with crizotinib.

 

Learning about physics in radiotherapy

Join six pupils from Ullern Upper Secondary School to see how physics plays a crucial role in good cancer treatment.

 

A group of interested pupils pay close attention as Taran Paulsen Hellebust explains the recommended radiation dose for a patient with prostate cancer. On a big monitor, she shows how the dose administered by the radiotherapy machine should vary between organs, and what will happen if you increase the dosage or the radiation, or expand the radiation field.

The six upper secondary school pupils ask many good questions. This week, they are spending their school days at the Norwegian Radium Hospital’s Department of Medical Physics, where they are on work placement.

While looking at the screen, they are talking about grey which is a unit of measurement, just like metres and decilitres, for radiation.

All six pupils are studying maths and physics plus either chemistry or biology at Ullern Upper Secondary School, which is only a stone’s throw away from the hospital. Many of them are considering studying medicine, engineering or biotechnology after they graduate this spring. The pupils are Kristian Novsett Borgen, Aurora Opheim Sauar, Edvard Dybevold Hesle, Alexander Lu, Trym Overrein Lunde and Tuva Askmann Nærby.

 

Cooperation on radiation
The pupils get practical insight into topics they have barely touched on during physics lessons. They appreciate getting some insight into working life and seeing how a physicist works.

Hellebust explains how a team comprising a doctor, a radiation therapist and a physicist cooperate on planning a patient’s radiation treatment. If, like many others, you think of physicists as elderly men with unkempt hair running around with their heads full of abstract and incomprehensible formulas, your prejudice has hereby been refuted. The physicists who supervise the pupils and work with radiotherapy on a daily basis are young and know how to entertain their pupils.

 

From brachytherapy to radiotherapy machines
After the pupils have been given an introduction to brachytherapy, physicists Jørund Graadal Svestad and Live Furnes Øyen take them on a tour to see the radiotherapy machines in use in the radiotherapy building. Cancer patients sit in the corridors with family members and friends waiting for their turn, while Jørund explains to the students how the radiotherapy machine is used.

Inside the radiotherapy room, the Geiger counter that Jørund is carrying detects radiation.

‘But it’s a very small amount of radiation, not problematic in any way,’ he says.

The final stop before lunch is a room that could easily be mistaken for the set of the old Norwegian science TV series Fysikk på roterommet. Among other things, it contains an old radiotherapy machine and an old-fashioned ultrasound machine. The pupils have a look and fiddle around with the old machines. They get a chance to feel and see how today’s radiotherapy has developed by leaps and bounds within a relatively short space of time.

‘It’s been great fun and very educational and, not least, we’ve had an opportunity to learn from the experts,’ says one of the pupils.

 

OncoImmunity AS wins the EU SME Instrument grant

The bioinformatics company OncoImmunity AS was ranked fourth out of 250 applicants for this prestigious grant.

250 companies submitted proposals to the same topic call as OncoImmunity AS. Only six projects were funded.

We applied for the SME instrument grant as it represents an ideal vehicle for funding groundbreaking and innovative projects with a strong commercial focus. The call matched our ambition to position OncoImmunity as the leading supplier of neoantigen identification software in the personalised cancer vaccine market”, says Dr. Richard Stratford, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of OncoImmunity.


Personalised cancer vaccines
Neoantigen identification software facilitates effective patient selection for cancer immunotherapy, by identifying optimal immunogenic mutations (known as neoantigens). OncoImmunity develops proprietary machine-learning software for personalised cancer immunotherapy.

This solution also guides the design of neoantigen-based personalised cancer vaccines and cell therapies, and enables bespoke products to be developed faster.

The SME Instrument gives us the opportunity to further refine and optimise our machine-learning framework to facilitate personalised cancer vaccine design. This opportunity will help us establish the requisite quality assurance systems, certifications, and clinical validation with our partners, to get our software accredited as an in vitro diagnostic device”, says Dr. Richard Stratford.

In vitro diagnostics are tests that can detect diseases, conditions, or infections.

Dr. Richard Stratford is Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of OncoImmunity, member of Oslo Cancer Cluster and part of the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.


Hard to get
Horizon 2020’s SME Instrument is tailored for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). It targets innovative businesses with international ambitions — such as OncoImmunity.

“The SME instrument is an acid test; companies that pass the test are well suited to make their business global. It also represents a vital step on the way to building a world-class health industry in Norway”, says Mona Skaret, Head of Growth Companies and Clusters in Innovation Norway.

The SME Instrument has two application phases. Phase one awards the winning company 50 000 Euros based on an innovative project idea. Phase two is the actual implementation of the main project. In this phase, the applicant may receive between 1 and 2,5 million Euros.

The support from the SME instrument is proof that small, innovative Norwegian companies are able to succeed in the EU”, says Mona Skaret.

You can read more about the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument in Norwegian at the Enterprise Europe Network in Norway.

 

Thinking of applying?
Oslo Cancer Cluster helps its member companies with this kind of applications through the EU Advisor Program and close collaboration with Innovayt and Innovation Norway.

The SME Instrument is looking for high growth and highly innovative SMEs with global ambitions. They are developing innovative technologies that have the potential to disrupt the established value networks and existing markets.

Companies applying for the SME Instrument must meet the requirements set by the programme. Please see the SME Instrument website for more information.

Vaccibody moves forward with HPV-study

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Vaccibody is moving forward with the first vaccination of a patient with the human papillomavirus, HPV-virus, in a phase IIa study using the company´s immunotherapy platform. 

The primary objectives of the phase IIa study are to assess T cell mediated immune responses in the peripheral blood and to evaluate early signs of efficacy.

-We have been encouraged to see the outcome of the phase I trial and are excited to initiate this phase IIa clinical study. This offers a chance to get information on how patients respond to the Vaccibody immunotherapy platform, says Principal investigator, Prof. Dr. med. Karl Ulrich Petry, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Klinikum Wolfsburg.

Moreover, the treatment can potentially also cure the underlying HPV infection, Petry comments, and thereby prevent recurrence and may protect from other HPV induced cancers.

 

Will outlicence the vaccine after phase II

– We are pleased to announce the vaccination of the first patient. Surgery is currently the only available therapy to remove abnormal cervical lesions caused by HPV-virus, and thereby stop the progression to cervical cancer, says Martin Bonde, CEO Vaccibody.

Bonde says that the plan is to have enough patients recruited by the end of Q3 and hence the first read out of the data in Q1, 2018.

-As of now we see that we will need a phase IIb/III study involving more patients, maybe up to 150-200. As of now we plan to out licence this product if we see the right responses, says Bonde.

 

About Vaccibody AS

Vaccibody is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel immunotherapies, prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines which target cancer and infectious diseases, for human and veterinary use. Vaccibody’s lead program is focused on VB10.16, a therapeutic DNA vaccine against HPV16 induced pre-malignancies and malignancies. Vaccibody also has a strong focus on so-called cancer neoantigen vaccines and is in late preclinical development with this program.

www.vaccibody.com

 

About Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN) and Cervical Cancer

Per year approximately 530,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide and over 275,000 women die of the disease annually. Invasive cervical cancer is preceded by a long phase of pre-invasive disease called Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia (CIN). Globally the number of high grade lesions (CIN 2/3) the immediate precursors to malignancy, is estimated to be in the range of 10 million.

Virtually all cervical cancers are caused by high risk HPV types. Among the different high risk HPV types known, HPV16 has been reported to be the most common genotype in high grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia. It can be detected in up to 60 % of all cervical cancers, especially in younger women and it has also been found to play an essential role in the development of several other cancer types (approximately 90% of anal cancers; 40% of penile, vaginal, and vulvar cancers; 25% of oral cavity cancers and 35% of oropharyngeal cancers).

Current standard therapy for CIN 2/3 varies between countries and regions and often involves surgical removal of the affected tissue. These invasive procedures are associated with bleeding, infection, cervical stenosis, scarring and most importantly pre-term deliveries in subsequent pregnancies. As a result, there is a significant need for an effective therapeutic vaccine to treat existing HPV infection and associated pre-malignancies and malignancies of the cervix and thereby prevent the development of cervical cancer caused by human papillomavirus.

 

 

 

Try our matchmaking platform

Why join the PERMIDES platform? It is where you can find your biopharma-IT match.

 

“Since the launch of PERMIDES in September 2016, we have collected a lot of input from small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). Several of our members have contributed by sharing their needs and challenges of digitalisation”, says Gupta Udatha, Project Manager for PERMIDES.

PERMIDES kicked off the matchmaking platform on March 15, 2017. During the following two weeks, approximately one hundred SMEs across the globe registered in the platform to find potential partners  for joint biopharma-IT innovation projects in personalised medicine.

There is plenty of room for more companies to benefit from the platform.

Potential project team partners can find each other on the PERMIDES platform. It offers matchmaking of companies from the biopharmaceutical and IT sector, based both on their needs and expertise”, says Udatha.

To be eligible for funding, project teams need to consist of one biopharma SME as the main applicant and at least one IT SME as the service provider.


Funding opportunities

PERMIDES offers different types of vouchers to SMEs allowing them to tackle and solve challenges at specific levels of complexity. Advancing personalised medicine in the digital age requires solutions to issues currently driving the IT and software sector, e.g. Big Data, machine learning, IT security, data protection, and cross-enterprise collaboration.

Each SME can apply for multiple vouchers, but is restricted to the maximum value of each voucher type as detailed at our Open Call for Financial Support. The voucher funding scheme of PERMIDES is aimed at SMEs for developing novel personalised medicine products and solutions.

It is the ambition of PERMIDES to accelerate the digitalisation of biopharmaceutical SMEs in the field of personalised medicine. This is a way of increasing the competitiveness of the participating SMEs.

For more information, visit permides.eu


Do you have questions?
We will be happy to have a meeting with your company and guide you through the PERMIDES funding and collaboration opportunities. Simply contact us if you have questions.

Gupta Udatha
gupta.udatha@oslocancercluster.no
455 34 627

Jutta Heix
jh@oslocancercluster.no
941 63 089

Utplassering på patologen ga mersmak

Ullern videregående skole har et unikt tilbud til sine elever. Gjennom det skolefaglige samarbeidet med Oslo Cancer Cluster kan de delta på utplasseringer hos medlemmene. Spennende, var gjennomgangstonen da vi besøkte de åtte elevene fra Ullern som denne uken har vært hos avdeling for patologi ved Oslo universitetssykehus. Marie Wahlstrøm  kan godt tenke seg å bli patolog.

 

– Dette er et snitt av en frisk livmorhals, sier Else Skovholt og justerer på mikroskopet slik at cellene i prøven, rosa, hvit og sort i fargen, trer tydelig fra.

Skovholt er patolog og sitter nå omringet av åtte elever fra Ullern videregående skole. De ser alle ned i hvert sitt mikroskop som viser samme bilde som Skovholt har lagt på.

– Men se her. Dette er et snitt av en livmorhals med celleforandringer forårsaket av HPV-virus. Om dere ser her så ser dere normalt vev, og så skjer det en glidende overgang til flere celler som sitter tettere sammen med mange mørke kjerner. Dette kan utvikle seg til kreft og må skjæres bort for ikke å gjøre det, sier Skovholt.

Alle jentene som er på utplassering er vaksinert mot dette viruset, og følger nøye med på gjennomgangen av friskt og sykt vev og hvordan se forskjellene på de ulike cellene som er på snittet.

– Tidligere i dag fikk vi se en livmor. Pasienten som den var fjernet fra ligger fremdeles på Radiumhospitalet rett over veien her, sier Marie Wahlstrøm fra klasse 2STE.

 

Et håndarbeid som viser hvem som er frisk og hvem som er syk

Elevene følge fascinert med ettersom Skovhold skifter ut snitt fra ulike prøver. Neste ut er eggstokker og eggledere, sædlederne og bryst. Rutinert viser hun elevene forskjellene på friskt vev, de ulike celletypene som er byggesteinene i de ulike organene og kreftceller. Spørsmålene er mange og Skovholt svarer enkelt på legspråk slik at alle får med seg alt.

På spørsmål om patolog er et yrke elevene kan tenke seg, er Marie krystallklar.

– Definitivt ja. Dette er et håndarbeid der du jobber praktisk i stedet for å sitte på kontor, du er med på å avgjøre om noen er syk eller frisk, og du vet at pasientene er rett her borte, så det blir veldig nært og føles veldig viktig, sier Wahlstrøm.

Patolog Marius Lund-Iversen bidrar også med sin spesialkunnskap. Over to dager har de åtte elevene tuslet opp i sjette etasje i den blå blokka i Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovasjonspark for å få skreddersydd kunnskap om et yrke som sårt trenger rekruttering.

Elevene har fått lage snitt, tappe eget blod for å analysere det for hvite og røde blodlegemer. De har også sett på ulike organer og hvordan de blir oppbevart på formalin, for så å bli snittet opp slik at de kan studeres i mikroskop.

Utplasseringen hos patologen skjer hvert år. Det er ett av mange tilbud som elever ved Ullern får takket være det skolefaglige samarbeidet mellom Oslo Cancer Cluster og Ullern videregående skole.

 

Targovax ASA moves share listing to Oslo Børs

Targovax ASA’s shares have been accepted to list on Oslo Børs, the main Oslo Stock Exchange. 

Targovax is a clinical stage company, developing immuno-oncology therapies to target treatment-resistant solid tumors. Immuno-oncology is currently one of the fastest growing therapeutic fields in medicine.

Øystein Soug, Chief Executive Officer of Targovax, said in their press release this week:

“This move marks another exciting step for Targovax. Being part of the main market is an important development for the future of the company, giving us access to a larger investor base and helping enhance our visibility. We are pleased to have had the support from the Axess market and are delighted to have been accepted on to the Oslo main market.”

Several milestones
The company has achieved several milestones since it listed its shares on Oslo Axess in July last year:

  • Encouraging top line two-year survival data from the TG01 clinical trial in resected pancreatic cancer patients. Data showed a survival rate of 68 % from the first patient cohort compared to published historical rate of 30-53 %. This suggests a signal of clinical efficacy for the drug candidate.
  • Granting of European patent for ONCOS-102, protecting Targovax’s ONCOS platform lead product until 2029.
  • Strengthening the team with the appointment of Øystein Soug as Chief Executive Officer and the appointment of Erik Digman Wiklund as Chief Financial Officer.
  • Presenting at a number of scientific and investor conferences.

For further information, please contact:
Renate Birkeli, Investor Relations
Phone: +47 922 61 624
Email: renate.birkeli@targovax.com

 

 

 

Kick-Off: Call for Proposals for PERMIDES

The first call for proposals for the PERMIDES project is opening on March 15th. We urge all small and medium sized biopharma-companies working to take the step into the digital era, to apply for funding up to 60 000 Euros.

 

D.B.R.K Gupta Udatha, project manager for PERMIDES, is very happy to kick off the first call for proposals. He wants to help you succeed in this call for proposal by defining the essentials:

‘In your proposals, you should address the innovation barriers and challenges that you experience in the area of personalised medicine. It should be challenges that somehow can be solved by digitalisation’, says Udatha.

 

Developing novel personalised medicine
The voucher funding scheme of PERMIDES is aimed at small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from the biopharmaceutical sector developing novel personalised medicine products and solutions (e.g. biotech/medtech companies, diagnostics companies, CROs, biobank companies, bioinformatic companies).

‘To be eligible for funding, project teams must consist of one biopharma SME as the main applicant or beneficiary. In addition, there must be at least one IT SME as a service provider. Potential team partners in the project can be found via the PERMIDES platform, which offers a matchmaking of companies from the biopharmaceutical and IT sectors’, says Udatha.

 

Get more information:

 

Contact:

Jutta Heix, International Advisor
D.B.R.K Gupta Udatha, Project Manager PERMIDES

 

Join NOME – Nordic mentoring programme for life sciences companies

NOME is the first Nordic mentor network connecting prospective life science entrepreneurs with handpicked international mentors.

The goal is simple: to help the very best biotech and medtech startups in the Nordics to become the next growth successes. Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator coordinates the NOME-programme in Norway and collaborates with Oslo Medtech and the incubator Aleap to find the best match of mentors and entrepreneurs.

 

Watch the NOME information video here

Contact Bjørn Klem, General Manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, if you would like to join NOME or if you want more information about the programme in Norway.

Take a look at the NOME website and the information flyer for more information about the programme. 

 

BerGenBio enters collaboration with MSD

Oslo Cancer Cluster member BerGenBio enters collaboration with MSD focused on clinical evaluation of BGB324 in combination with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in advanced lung and breast cancer.

BerGenBio ASA is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel, selective Axl kinase inhibitors for multiple cancer indications. The company recently announced that it has entered into a collaborative agreement with Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA (known as MSD outside the US and Canada) , through a subsidiary, focused on the clinical evaluation of BGB324 with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).

BerGenBio’s lead candidate BGB324 is a first in class, highly selective, potent and orally available small molecule Axl kinase inhibitor in clinical development in a variety of cancer indications. The Axl tyrosine kinase is a key driver of cancer spread, immune evasion and drug resistance – the cause of the majority of cancer-related deaths. Increased understanding of the role of Axl in suppressing innate immunity supports the rationale for evaluating BGB324 in combination with KEYTRUDA.

Under the terms of the collaboration with MSD, BerGenBio will conduct two international Phase II studies to evaluate the potential clinical synergy of combining BGB324 with MSD’s anti-PD-1 therapy, KEYTRUDA. Details of the studies are as follows:

  • BGBC007 – A Phase II multi-centre study of BGB324 in combination with KEYTRUDA in patients with previously treated, locally advanced or unresectable TNBC.
  • BGBC008 – A Phase II multi-centre study of BGB324 in combination with KEYTRUDA in patients with previously treated unresectable adenocarcinoma of the lung.

Biomarker studies will be conducted in parallel to the above studies with the goal of developing companion diagnostics to identify patients who would be most suitable for treatment with the BGB324/KEYTRUDA combination.

The clinical trials will be sponsored by BerGenBio while MSD will provide the trial with KEYTRUDA. The rights to the study results will be shared. No further details are disclosed.

BerGenBio is investigating BGB324 in multiple cancer indications based on preclinical and early clinical findings. Phase II studies with BGB324 as a single agent in relapsed acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and myeloid dysplastic syndrome (MDS); and in combination with erlotinib (TARCEVA®) in advanced EGFR-positive NSCLC are in progress.

Richard Godfrey, Chief Executive Officer of BerGenBio, commented: “We are delighted to enter this collaboration with MSD, a leader in developing novel cancer therapies. This new agreement gives us the opportunity to evaluate the clinical potential of BGB324 in combination with KEYTRUDA in advanced lung and breast cancer; two of the areas of significant unmet medical need. We believe that BGB324 is a unique drug candidate that addresses a critical cancer mechanism responsible for promoting immune evasion. We believe the clinical utility of BGB324 in combination with immunotherapies has enormous potential. BerGenBio is excited to advance BGB324 in combination with KEYTRUDA into Phase II trials and we anticipate results in mid-2018.”

About BerGenBio ASA
BerGenBio (Bergen, Norway) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing a pipeline of first-in-class Axl kinase inhibitors to treat multiple cancer indications. The Company is a world leader in understanding the central role of Axl kinase in promoting cancer spread, immune evasion and drug resistance in multiple aggressive liquid and solid cancers.

BerGenBio’s lead product, BGB324, is a selective, potent and orally available small molecule Axl inhibitor in Phase II clinical development in three major cancer indications. It is the only selective Axl inhibitor in clinical development. BGB324 is being developed by BerGenBio as a single agent therapy in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)/myeloid dysplastic syndrome (MDS) and in combination with TARCEVA® (erlotinib) in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC); and in combination with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in advanced NSCLC and triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) in collaboration with MSD.

The Company is also developing a diversified pre-clinical pipeline of selective Axl inhibitors including BGB149, anti-Axl monoclonal antibody.

For further information, please visit: www.bergenbio.com

About NSCLC
It is estimated that more than 220,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in the US in 2017 and it is the leading cause of cancer death. 65% of NSCLCs are of adenocarcinoma pathology. Although various treatments exist for NSCLC, they are often curtailed by acquired resistance to therapy and immune evasion. Novel treatments overcoming these mechanisms in NSCLC are urgently required.

About TNBC
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women – it is estimated that more than 250,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the US in 2017. 20% of breast cancers lack receptors for three common hormones (estrogen, progesterone and HER2) and are thus called triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC). Treatment options for TNBC are limited to intense chemotherapy, but despite therapy recurrences are frequent and aggressive. Consequently, novel treatment strategies for TNBC are of high need.

KEYTRUDA® is a registered trademark of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. TARCEVA® is a registered trademark of OSI Pharmaceuticals, LLC.

 

We are hiring an EU Advisor

EU Advisor

We are currently looking for an EU advisor with skills and experience in writing EU funding proposals. This is a fixed term contract with duration to the end of 2018. If successful, this can become a long-term contract after 2018. We are also open to discuss a part-time employment. The EU advisor will report directly to the General Manager of OCC.

Key tasks:

  • Increase awareness of the H2020 funding opportunities and benefits among the cluster members incl. start-ups, SMEs and academic investigators
  • Actively support the cluster members with identifying relevant and appropriate H2020 funding schemes and call topics in 1:1 consulting meetings
  • Assist companies in development of project proposals in H2020 funding instruments
  • Pro-actively use OCC`s strong international network to identify new partners and suitable consortia for cluster members
  • Co-ordinate with other (national or Nordic) funding schemes and innovation agencies for achieving larger synergies and ensuring maximum impact
  • Organization and preparation of events and workshops for stakeholder information, education etc. addressing the needs of the cluster members
  • Development of project proposals to attract funding for OCC and OCC Incubator activities

Key qualifications:

  • Relevant scientific education, oncology background advantageous
  • 3 to 5-year experience in EU project applications and potentially project management
  • Innovation management experience and understanding of the different stakeholders in EU projects (start-ups, SMEs, academic partners, global companies)
  • Strong analytic capabilities and understanding of biomedical R&D, innovation challenges and business models
  • Self-driven, result oriented and disciplined
  • Fluent in written and spoken English

The EU advisor will be part of the Oslo Cancer Cluster team. OCC can offer competitive benefits, a positive working environment and colleagues with a strong drive and passion in the field of expertise. If you have any questions regarding this position, please contact Kelly Scientific and recruitment advisor, Janne Stang, cellphone: + 47 400 37 302. Kelly Scientific is a recruitment agency working with industry related positions within the Life Science sector.

Three new members in Oslo Cancer Cluster

IRW Consulting, Eisai and Personalis, Inc. are all new members of the Oslo Cancer Cluster. Please read more about them below.

 

IRW Consulting AB

IRW is a Nordic Contract Research Organization (CRO) with more than 15 years of experience in conducting clinical trials, Non-Interventional Studies (NIS) and medical device studies. IRW has built an extensive network throughout all Nordic countries, as well as the rest of Europe and the US. Depending on the customer’s requirements, our staff is either outsourced or works with in-house projects. We cover all the stages of clinical development, from phase I to phase IV, including pediatric and non-interventional studies and all classes of medical device investigations.

With regional offices in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, IRW has experienced locally-based staff providing an optimum combination of local knowledge and expertise to assist you conduct your clinical trial as per country specific guidelines. Local presence not just ensures adherence to local requirements for submissions to the Ethic Committees and Regulatory Authorities but also the knowledge of local language facilitates the communication with all local parties involved in the project thereby avoiding possible misunderstandings and reducing approval process timelines.

Working with the full range of companies, from small start-ups to multi-national pharmaceutical corporations, we have learned how to tailor our services to the specific needs of our customers.  Our involvement in clinical trials covers both Europe and the US, always following the appropriate regulations wherever we work, either according to external party’s SOPs or our own.
Home page IRW Consulting AB

 

Personalis, Inc.
Personalis, Inc., was founded in February 2011 out of Stanford University with the mission to provide precision, high accuracy genomic sequencing and analysis to enable precision medicine in the areas of cancer, immuno-oncology, and inherited disease.

Personalis provides researchers and clinicians with highly accurate, comprehensive, and validated DNA and RNA sequencing and interpretation of human genomic data for cancer research, clinical trials, and diagnostics. Our ACE (Accuracy and Content Enhanced) technology goes beyond standard sequencing approaches, substantially increasing medically relevant coverage and accuracy.

Personalis builds on this enhanced sequencing foundation with innovative algorithms and proprietary databases for alignment, variant calling, annotation, and analysis. Through this comprehensive approach, we provide genomic data and interpretation of the highest accuracy. Our CLIA-licensed and CAP-accredited laboratory, in combination with our validated, high accuracy ACE NGS platforms enable seamless transition from discovery to commercialization for our partners.

Home page Personalis, Inc.

 

Eisai

Eisai is a global pharmaceutical company addressing unmet medical needs, and Eisai is committed to make contributions to better healthcare for patients and their families around the world through its business activities.

Eisai has identified neurology and oncology as important areas where there are many diseases for which treatments are still not well established. Concentrating our R&D resources in these areas, Eisai is striving to discover new highly effective treatments especially for neurology and oncology.

Eisai carries out drug discovery research, drug development research and clinical research throughout the world. Eisai pursues innovative new drug discovery by promoting the exchange of various knowledge and ideas from around the world.

Main activities within oncology are within breast cancer and liposarcoma, where Halaven (eribulin) a cytotstatic agent, has shown survival benefit in both tumour types. Halaven is a novel anticancer agent discovered and developed by Eisai, has been launched in Japan, the United States, Europe and Asia.

Lenvima (lenvatinib), a multi targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), discovered and developed by Eisai, received orphan drug status and approval for radio-iodine refractory Differentiated Thyroid Cancer. Kisplyx (lenvatinib) was recently approved by EMA and FDA for use in advanced renal cell carcinoma. We are also involved in research in several other tumours.

Eisai AB is the Nordic affiliate and the Nordic office is in Stockholm.

Home page Eisai AB

 

 

 

 

Kronikk i Aftenposten: De nordiske landene kan gjøre noe resten av verden drømmer om

De nordiske landene bør samarbeide mer for å utvikle bedre kreftbehandlinger. Sammen kan Norden bli et globalt forsknings- og testsenter for nye kreftbehandlinger og -medisiner. Det kan gi store gevinster for kreftpasienter i hele verden. Denne kronikken sto på trykk i Aftenposten torsdag 9. mars.

Ketil Widerberg, daglig leder i Oslo Cancer Cluster, skrev kronikken samme uke som The Economist, Forskningsrådet og Oslo Cancer Cluster arrangerte den nordiske konferansen War on Cancer Nordics i Oslo. De nordiske landene ønsker å lede an i kampen mot kreft. Nå er det på tide at infrastrukturer og lovverk legges til rette for det.


Norden kan vise vei i kampen mot kreft. For vi har noe de andre – selv ikke USA – har


Design, TV-serier og nå: kreft
Nordisk design er verdenskjent, og nordisk film har gjennom TV-serier som Broen etablert en ny sjanger i underholdningsindustrien. På 1990-tallet endret Nokia og Ericsson hvordan vi brukte mobiltelefonen. Slike fremskritt setter Norden på det internasjonale kartet og skaper arbeidsplasser. Nå er tiden inne for liknende fremskritt i kampen mot kreft. Vi har gode forutsetninger, men er vi vårt ansvar bevisst?

Vi har fremragende kreftforskning, for eksempel innen immunterapi for kreft, fotodynamisk teknologi og radioaktive legemidler (radiofarmaka). På disse områdene gjør både nordiske forskere og bioteknologifirmaer det godt internasjonalt. Hver for seg er de nordiske landene små, men samlet har de over 26 millioner innbyggere, og er et interessant marked for forskning, bioteknologi- og legemiddelselskaper.


Norden har unike fortrinn
Norden har flere forutsetninger for å lykkes. Først og fremst har alle nordiske borgere et unikt personnummer. Dette mangler faktisk i mange andre land, som USA. Personnummer har gjort det mulig for nordiske myndigheter å samle unike helsedata. I over 60 år har de nordiske landene samlet helse- og kreftdata i biobanker og registre og bygd verdensledende helsesystemer. Den nordiske befolkningen har dessuten et stort digitalt liv, og samfunnet har generell tillit til forskning.

De nordiske landene kan bruke disse felles fortrinnene til å gjøre noe resten av verden drømmer om: bruke offentlige helsedata for å se hvilken lovende medisin som virker på hver enkelt pasient. Slik kan legemiddelet godkjennes og tas i bruk før de tradisjonelle tidkrevende og kostbare delene av klinisk utprøving blir satt i gang. Tiden det tar fra et kreftlegemiddel blir patentert til det blir godkjent til bruk vil bli kortere, og pasienten vil kunne få behandlingen flere år tidligere. Samfunnet vil kunne spare millioner. Norden bør være seg sitt ansvar bevisst og gå i bresjen for raskere utvikling av ny kreftbehandling. Vi har ikke råd til å vente.


Ny viten gir bedre behandling
Kreft er en av vår tids store samfunnsutfordringer. Hvert år dør 8 millioner mennesker av kreft i verden og 14 millioner av oss får en kreftdiagnose. Det er mange, og antallet vil øke. Ifølge Verdens helseorganisasjon vil det øke med hele 70 prosent de neste 20 årene.

Heldigvis øker også forståelsen av hvor komplekse sykdommene som vi kaller kreft er. Vi vet at det finnes over 200 kreftsykdommer, og vi vet at kreft påvirkes blant annet av genetiske faktorer. I tillegg har vi nå forstått at immunsystemet spiller en viktige rolle i utviklingen av ulike kreftsykdommer og at vi kan påvirke immunsystemet til å spille på lag med kroppen mot kreften. Økt kunnskap om hva kreft egentlig er gir oss bedre forutsetninger for å vinne kampen mot kreft. Men med ny viten følger også en ny dynamikk for hvordan behandling skal utvikles, kategoriseres og tilbys pasienter.


Tid for politisk vilje
Digitalisering av kreftforskning gir rask fremgang i mange land. Store globale teknologifirmaer som Microsoft, IBM og Google satser nå på helse, og spesifikt kreft. Med kunstig intelligens kan kreftforskere simulere, teste hypoteser og samle og korrelere data som ikke var mulig for kun få år siden. Norden har unike helsedatabaser, og vi kan bygge opp kompetanse sammen med globale selskaper på samme måte som Norge bygde opp oljeindustrien på 1970-tallet. Da inviterte Norge inn store internasjonale selskaper som utviklet oljeindustrien under statlig styring. Dette krevde samarbeid og tilrettelegging fra det offentlige.

En satsing på et nordisk kreftsamarbeid krever også offentlig tilrettelegging. Myndighetene og offentlige instanser må åpne for at forskere kan få bruke helsedataene vi allerede har. I Norden har vi strukturen som gjør det mulig å nå raskere fram med ny forskning. Vi kan hjelpe pasienter ved å godkjenne og ta i bruk legemidler før de tradisjonelle tidkrevende og dyre siste kliniske studiene settes i gang. Både USA og EU har forsøkt, men med begrenset hell, blant annet fordi de mangler personnummer og har fragmenterte helsesystemer. Der har de politisk vilje, men mangler strukturene.


Et globalt testsenter
Nordiske helsevesen samler inn stadig mer data fra befolkningen. Nå kan slike helsedata brukes til å utvikle medisiner raskere. Det vil stille nye krav til rapportering, sikkerhet og formål med bruk av helsedata. Det vil kreve en åpen og innovativ holdning både fra offentlige og private aktører. Dette er ikke risikofritt, men gevinsten for samfunnet og for den enkelte pasient som overlever takket være raskere og bedre behandling, vil være betydelig.

Norden har en unik mulighet til å være et globalt testsenter for utvikling av nye legemidler som utnytter den offentlige digitale infrastrukturen. Google endret hvordan vi bruker internettet. Vi gikk fra AltaVista til Google, og så oss aldri tilbake. Norden har alle forutsetninger for å lede an i digitaliseringen innen helse. Det kan være med på å endre livet til de 14 millionene nye menneskene som får kreft hvert år.

Ketil Widerberg, daglig leder i Oslo Cancer Cluster

Targovax to present at upcoming conferences

Oslo, Norway, 6 March 2017: Targovax ASA (“Targovax” or “the Company”; OSE: TRVX), a clinical stage company focused on developing immuno-oncology therapies to target, primarily, treatment-resistant solid tumors, announces that members of its senior management will present at the following life sciences and investor conferences:

 

10th European Life Science CEO Forum (hosted by Sachs Associates)
Date: 7 March 2017
Venue: Hilton Zurich Airport Hotel, Zurich, Switzerland

Panel discussion time: 11:10 CET – Advances in Immuno-Oncology Therapeutics Panel

– Magnus Jäderberg (CMO)

Presentation time: 12:25 CET

– Øystein Soug (CEO)

 

Redeye – Fight Cancer Seminar
Date: 10 March 2017
Venue: Redeye, Stockholm, Sweden

Presentation time: 10:50 CET

Participants: Øystein Soug (CEO)

 

11th Annual BIO-Equity Spring 2017 Conference
Date: 20-22 March 2017
Venue: CCIB Convention Centre in Barcelona, Spain

Participants: Øystein Soug (CEO) and Peter Skorpil (VP Business Development)

 

The presentations will be available to download at www.targovax.com following these events.

 

For further information, please contact:

Renate Birkeli, Investor Relations

Phone: +47 922 61 624

Email: renate.birkeli@targovax.com

 

Media and IR enquires:

Jan Petter Stiff – Crux Advisers (Norway)

Phone: +47 995 13 891

Email: stiff@crux.no

 

Julia Phillips/Simon Conway – FTI Consulting (International)

Phone: +44 20 3727 1000

Email: Targovax@fticonsulting.com

 

About Targovax

Arming the patient’s immune system to fight cancer

Targovax is a clinical stage company focused on developing and commercializing novel immuno-oncology therapies to target, primarily, treatment-resistant solid tumors. Immuno-oncology is currently one of the fastest growing therapeutic fields in medicine.

The Company’s development pipeline is based on two novel proprietary platforms:

The first platform, ONCOS, uses oncolytic viruses, an emerging class of biological therapy. ONCOS exclusively uses an adenovirus that has been engineered to be a tumor-targeted immune activator. The platform has the potential to generate therapies with superior efficacy and safety compared to the first approved oncolytic virus therapy, Imlygic®, launched by Amgen. We continue to expect key proof of concept data for this platform in 2017 from a clinical study of lead program ONCOS-102 in patients with refractory malignant melanoma.

The second platform, TG-Peptides (TGP), solely targets tumors that express mutated forms of the RAS protein. Mutations to this protein are common in many cancers and are known to drive aggressive disease progression and treatment resistance. There is a high unmet medical need for therapies that are effective against tumors that express these mutations.  The TGP platform’s therapeutic potential stems from its ability to enable a patient’s immune system to identify and then destroy tumors bearing any RAS mutations. In early 2017, key proof of concept data for the TGP platform from a clinical study of TG01 in resected pancreatic cancer patients showed encouraging overall survival and will determine plans for the future clinical development of this platform.

Targovax’s development pipeline has three novel therapeutic candidates in clinical development covering six indications. Already promising safety and tolerability data and early signs of clinical response have been demonstrated.

Both platforms are protected by an extensive portfolio of IP and know-how and have the potential to yield multiple product candidates in a cost-effective manner. We have a number in early stages of development in addition to the three outlined above.

In July, 2016 the Company listed its shares on Oslo Axess.

This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.

– Join our online communities

Oslo Cancer Cluster has a new Head of Communications. She wants to help you reach out.

 

– One of the benefits of being a part of this cluster, is that you have me to help you out with communications, says Wenche Gerhardsen.

She is the new Head of Communications at Oslo Cancer Cluster. Wenche has a background as a journalist and a communications advisor within research and development. She worked as a senior advisor at The Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) before she started here in February 2017.

– Good communications is a tool we can use to better collaborations. We wish to help cluster members collaborate better – both with other members and with companies and academia outside the cluster.

 

Do you know our channels?
We have many communications channels that are wide open to members and others interested in our work. Check out our:

– Are you not part of our online community yet? Join in! I would love to see more active members in there.

You can contact Wenche in all the social media channels listed above and also on good old fashioned e-mail: wg@oslocancercluster.no

Former Head of Communications, Elisabeth Kirkeng Andersen, is now working as a consultant for the Oslo Cancer Cluster on communication through her own company. Andersen is also working as a communication consultant for Inven2, as well as serving as communication manager for the Radium Hospital Research Foundation.

 

 

Podcast on cancer research and development

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Radium Hospital Research Foundation, Radforsk, has launched their own podcast. The podcast is named Radium, and is about cancer research and development of new cancer treatments, as well as updates on Radforsk´s portfolio companies.

Radium has so far made nine episodes, and the ambition of Jónas Einarsson, CEO Radforsk and Elisabeth Kirkeng Andersen, communication manager in Radforsk, is to make one new episode a week. The podcasts are in Norwegian, if they do not interview people from abroad, as they did in the Cancer Crosslinks special.

Einarsson and Andersen is usually joined by guests in the studio, and so far they have had guests from Oslo Cancer Cluster members; PCI Biotech, Ultimovacs, Targovax, Vaccibody, Oncoinvent, as well as Roy Larsen and Øyvind Bruland, talking about Algeta, Nordic Nanovector and Oncoinvent.

Upcoming epiosodes will include guests such as Professor Håvard Danielsen from Institute for Cancer Genetics and Informatics, Anne Lise Ryel, General Secretary in the Norwegian Cancer Society and CEO, Kjetil Hestdal in Photocure.

Here you may find all podcast episodes launched so far.

Targovax ASA: Fourth quarter and full year 2016 results

Oslo, Norway, 16 February 2017 – Targovax ASA (“Targovax” or “the Company”; OSE: TRVX), a clinical stage company focused on developing immuno-oncology therapies to target solid tumors, today announces its fourth quarter and full year 2016 results.

A meeting for investors, analysts and press will take place in Oslo today at 10:00 CET and a conference call will take place at 14.00 CET (details below).

Highlights:

Targovax was granted a European Patent for the ONCOS platform lead product, ONCOS-102, extending patent coverage following the award of a similar US patent in June. These patents expire in 2029

Øystein Soug was appointed as CEO on 1 November

Targovax presented at a number of scientific and investor conferences in the period, including the European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy in October in Florence, Biotech and Money in November in London, and the DNB Nordic Healthcare Conference in December in Oslo

Net loss for the fourth quarter 2016 was NOK 32 million (USD 4 million), compared with a net loss of NOK 44 million (USD 5 million) in corresponding quarter in 2015

Cash and cash equivalents at 31 December 2016 was NOK 172 million (USD 20 million) vs NOK 193 million (USD 24 million) at 30 September 2016
Subsequent events:

Targovax announced encouraging top line two-year survival data from TG01 clinical trial in resected pancreatic cancer patients

Erik Digman Wiklund was appointed CFO of Targovax, succeeding Øystein Soug, the Company’s new CEO, and will take up this role in April 2017
Øystein Soug, CEO said: “2016 was a successful year for Targovax. During the year we listed our shares on Oslo Axess, we successfully raised funds to finance the clinical trial program and we were granted European and US patents for ONCOS-102, extending the protection till 2029. Furthermore, in 2016 we prepared and set up five new clinical trials in five indications. 2017 will be an even more important year as we start harvesting the data from these trials. We have already generated good momentum as we recently announced encouraging overall survival data in our TG01 proof of concept trial. We also expect to start a proof of concept trial of ONCOS-102 in checkpoint inhibitor refractory melanoma, where key interim data are expected later in the year.”
Presentation

The presentation will take place at 10:00 CET at:

Hotel Continental

Stortingsgaten 24/26

0117 Oslo

 

The presentation will also be webcast live and can be accessed here.

 

Conference call

At 14:00 CET (08:00 EST) The company will host a telephone conference which will include a presentation of the results, following a Q&A session. CEO Øystein Soug and CMO Magnus Jäderberg will present the company. Call in details can be found below.

Call-in numbers:

Norway Toll-Free Number: 800 19 747

Norway Toll Number: +472350 0559

UK Toll-Free Number: 08082370030

UK Toll Number: +442031394830

US Toll-Free Number: 1866 928 7517

US Toll Number: +1 718 873 9077

 

Access code: 54717166#

 

Please make sure to dial in at least 5-10 minutes ahead to complete your registration.

 

See attached list for more dial-in numbers.

 

Reporting material

The quarterly report and presentation are also available here

 

For further information, please contact

Øystein Soug, CEO

Phone: +47 906 56 525

Email: oystein.soug@targovax.com

 

Media and IR enquires:

Jan Petter Stiff – Crux Advisers (Norway)

Phone: +47 995 13 891

Email: stiff@crux.no

 

Julia Phillips/Simon Conway – FTI Consulting (International)

Phone: +44 20 3727 1000

Email: Targovax@fticonsulting.com

 

Targovax fourth quarter 2016 report
Targovax fourth presentation 2016 report

Apply now for Startup Slam at BIO-Europe Spring!

Are you a startup or entrepreneur in Healthcare or Life-Sciences? If yes – keep reading! 

Startup Slam is a pitching competition offering innovative entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their company at BIO- Europe Spring. Selected companies will have the opportunity to attend one of the leading partnering events in the global biotechnology industry.

– Startup Slam is a fantastic event that provided global exposure and interest in EpiAxis.  It showcases small startups with emerging and transformational technologies, which drives the engine of innovation. In addition, Startup Slam helped me to focus and hone my pitch to potential collaborators and investors with a clearer value proposition, says Dr Jeremy S Chrisp, CEO, EpiAxis Therapeutics: Winner of StartupSlam16 Cologne.

 

Why Pitch at BIO-Europe’s Startup Slam?

·        Receive pitch training from a speaking coach

·        Increase your company’s visibility by pitching to industry executives and investors

·        Receive a significantly discounted registration & presentation fee

Deadline is February 24th and Startup Slam is March 21st. What are you waiting for? Apply to join here.

 

Photocure – full year report

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Photocure ASA  reported that full year 2016 revenues ended at NOK 143.6 million (134.7). Photocure targets revenues from the US operations to quadruple to a range of USD 15 million by 2020.

“2016 was a positive year for Photocure as we continued to build momentum in the US with Cysview. A significant milestone was reached by the inclusion and recommendations of Cysview in National treatment guidelines in the US. In addition, several papers including strong new clinical evidence supporting the use of Hexvix/Cysview were published during 2016. These events, together with the increase in installed base of Blue Light enabled Cystoscopes in the US and a higher level of patient awareness, provide us with confidence that our planned increase in investment in the US commercial urology franchise will create value for our shareholders in the future. Lastly, we are also looking forward to receiving results from our expanded use Phase 3 study in the US with the Karl Storz flexible scope in the surveillance setting in the middle of the year.” said Kjetil Hestdal, President and CEO.

Photocure reported total revenues of NOK 38.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 (34.5), with an EBITDA of NOK -0.3 million (-8.7). Net profit was NOK 17.9 million (-9.4), while the cash position ended at NOK 169.2 million. Hexvix/Cysview revenues grew 13% for the full year but declined 5% in the fourth quarter mainly due to inventory reductions at distributors, as well as a negative impact from foreign exchange rates. In-market unit sales increased with 3% in the quarter.

“Photocure has built considerable experience in the urology sector through its Hexvix/Cysview franchise and sees significant long-term value creation potential in this market segment. The company has over the last years experienced a strong and growing penetration of Hexvix in key European markets and aims to capitalize on the inclusion in the AUA guidelines as well as the increased patient awareness to significantly increase penetration in the US market. Photocure does however believe that in order to increase market shares in the US to European levels, an investment in the US salesforce is required,” said Hestdal.

The company will therefore double its salesforce and increase sales and marketing expenses accordingly towards the end of 2017. The company believes these efforts will result in revenues from the US operations to quadruple to a range of USD 15 million by 2020.

“As a result of the increased activity level, the added operating expenses will contribute to an EBITDA decline for the group in 2017 and 2018. Photocure is fully funded for this market strategy. Photocure has also completed enrollment in its Phase 3 study of Hexvix/Cysview in the surveillance patient segment and expect to report clinical results in mid-2017. The company will then submit an sNDA to the US FDA, with a possible approval in 2018 for use of Blue Light Flexible Cystoscopy with Cysview in this setting,“ Hestdal concludes.

Photocure is continuing its discussions and due diligence processes with potential partners to establish strategic partnerships for its non-urology products, Visonac and Cevira.

Please find the full financial report and presentation enclosed.

 

Record high attendance at Cancer Crosslinks – watch and dowload presentations

Cancer Crosslinks is now one of the most relevant meetings for Norwegian oncologists, with 300 delegates attending this year.

The 9th Cancer Crosslinks meeting took place at Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park January 26. It was a great success, gathering the Norwegian Oncology Community with a record high attendance of 300 delegates. They came to learn from each other.

– We strongly believe in bringing oncology professionals from various fields together, so that they can exchange knowledge and get to know one another. In doing so, Cancer Crosslinks could contribute to developing new cancer treatments, since this requires collaboration across both medical disciplines and country borders, says Ketil Widerberg, general manager at Oslo Cancer Cluster.

The delegates were mainly oncologists and hematologists. These two professions have traditionally had little interaction, and there is a need to exchange knowledge between these two groups. In addition, there were many other researchers in oncology among the participants, as well as participants from biotechnology companies that develop cancer treatment.

 

Download the presentations

For those of you who missed the event or would like to revisit:

You may watch most of the presentations here:

You can download presentations from the meeting here:

  • Jerome Galon : Opening Keynote – Cancer and Inflammation.
    Prof. Jérôme Galon, Ph.D., Research Director at INSERM; Leader of the INSERM Integrative Cancer Immunology Laboratory, Cordeliers Research Center, Paris, France
  • Seth Coffelt: International Keynote – Inflammation lights the way to metastasis.
    Dr. Seth B. Coffelt, Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute, Institute of Cancer Sciences, University of Glasgow,
  • JRMarchesi: International Keynote – The gut microbiota, inflammation and cancer
    Prof. Julian Marchesi, Imperial College London, UK
  • WWierda: International Keynote: Hematological cancers: how individualized can we treat patients today?
    Prof. William G. Wierda, M.D., Ph.D.; Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, USA
  • Anna Schuh: International Keynote: The role of clinical -omics for precision medicine approaches in hematology
    Dr. Anna Schuh, Director of Molecular Diagnostics in the Department of Oncology; Honorary Consultant Hematologist at Oxford University Hospitals Trust, UK
  • Guttorm Haraldsen: Inflammation Research in Norway –  core expertise and collaboration opportunities
    Prof. Guttorm Haraldsen, KG Jebsen Inflammation Research Center, Oslo

 

Cancer  and the micro environment
They came to listen to and learn from leading Norwegian and international experts from the US and Europe. One of them was professor Julian Marchesi from Imperial College in London. He gave an exciting talk about the research on cancer, inflammation and the gut microbiota, showing results of how what we eat can affect the gut microbiota and hence cancer development.

Professor Jerome Galon from INSERM Integrative Cancer Immunology Laboratory, Cordeliers Research Center in Paris added to the discussion with a key note talk on the immune micro environment on cancer and a method called Immunoscore[3] .

– Immunoscore is a way to classify cancer patients based on immune parameters . It is then possible to classify patients into high- and low risk groups, says Galon in the podcast Radium.

 

The best treatment for each patient

Professor William G. Wierda from MD Anderson Cancer Centre was another keynote speaker. As an expert in leukemia, he gave insight to the field of precision medicine within hematological cancers. He raised a debate on the question: how individualized can we treat patients today?

Norwegian projects and approaches were also discussed at the meeting. Professor Guttorm Haraldsen, head of KG Jebsen Inflammation Research Center in Oslo gave an overview of Norwegian research and core expertise in the inflammation area. He highlighted opportunities for collaboration with the oncology field.

Another Norwegian example is a project between Dr. Yngvar Fløisand, Senior Consultant, and Dr. Jorrit Enserink, group leader at Oslo University Hospital. They introduced the screening of samples from patients with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (ALM), to identify the best treatment for each patient. Finally, there was a panel discussion with leading Norwegian experts on the ways forward from data generation to clinical use.
On the previous evening, the delegates participated in thematic roundtables and meetings between Norwegian and international experts. This provided some insight into possible international collaboration in and across their fields of expertise.

 

10 years anniversary next year

This 9th Cancer Crosslinks meeting was kindly sponsored by Oslo Cancer Cluster members  Bristol-Myers Squibb  and AbbVie.

You can look forward to the upcoming Cancer Crosslinks Anniversary Editions: The next Swedish Cancer Crosslinks  meeting will be held in Lund, October 25th (the date will be confirmed) this year and the 10th Norwegian edition will be in Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovations Park in January 2018.

The Economist & Oslo Cancer Cluster: War on Cancer Nordics

Oslo Cancer Cluster is proud to be partner of The Economist Events War On Cancer Nordics.

The War on Cancer Nordics 2017 in Oslo will gather leaders in oncology from the Nordic region and beyond, to discuss the region’s primary challenges in cancer care and control. The event will bring together policy makers, NGOs, academia, research and health care professionals, patient groups and cancer control institutes with private sector business leaders.

 

Questions we will answer

  • How much does cancer cost the Nordic countries per year both in terms of treatment costs and its impact on the labour market?
  • Would a unified Nordic oncology framework be desirable? 
  • What can be learnt from countries that have made more progress in prevention initiatives? 
  • How could research in immuno-oncology be scaled across the region to improve outcomes for patients? 
  • What role will new technologies play in shaking up cancer care, from prevention, through diagnosis, to treatment and to optimise symptoms and quality of life?

 

Founding sponsor: The Research Council og Norway and silver sponsor: Roche

Oncoinvent closes $ 25 Million Private Placement

Our portfolio company Oncoinvent announced today the closing of a 210 MNOK (approx. 25 MUSD) private placement of ordinary shares. Financing will support development of Radspherin™, a novel radiotherapeutic treatment for peritoneal carcinomatosis.

Large privately owned investment companies joining the Company as new investors include Geveran Trading Co. Ltd., Canica AS, CGS Holding AS, Helene Sundt AS and Must Invest AS. Oncoinvent AS is developing therapeutics to combat various cancers based on delivery of tumour-cell killing doses of radiation and/or immunotargeting of tumor cells.

“We are pleased at the response that we have received from the investment community regarding our private placement. The round was heavily oversubscribed. With this financing round we now have, in addition to the new funding, a shareholder base in the company that will enable Oncoinvent to bring Radspherin™ to a clinical proof of concept.” said Jan A. Alfheim, Oncoinvent’s CEO.

About Radspherin™
Radspherin™ is a novel alpha-emitting radioactive microsphere designed for treatment of metastatic cancers in body cavities. The radium based therapeutic, Radspherin™ has shown strong and consistent anticancer activity without any visible signs of product related toxicity in preclinical studies. It is anticipated that the product can potentially treat several forms of metastatic cancer.

The first clinical indication for Radspherin™ will be treatment of peritoneal carcinomatosis originating from ovarian cancer. Peritoneal carcinomatosis is one of the most serious complications of gastrointestinal and gynecological malignancies.

About Oncoinvent
Oncoinvent AS is a privately held Norwegian company based in Oslo, Norway. The company is committed to developing new innovative products in order to provide better treatment options to cancer patients.

The company’s founders started Oncoinvent in 2010 with a view to designing better cancer treatments by applying known physical and chemical principles of selected novel materials in new ways in order to maximize their medical benefit while minimizing potential safety concerns. This approach has allowed the company to develop a rich development pipeline and to explore multiple technological avenues before selecting a lead product candidate for preclinical testing.

www.oncoinvent.com

 

7 Oslo Cancer Cluster members granted funding from the Research Council

The Norwegian Research Council recently granted  funding to Oslo Cancer Cluster members; BerGenBio, Bionor Immuno, GE Healthcare, Lytix Biopharma, PCI Biotech, Zelluna  and Phoenix Solutions through the Programme for User-Driven Research Based Innovation (BIA).

In total, the Research Council will grant 406 MNOK  to 42 Norwegian companies in this application round. A total of 187 applications was filed.

Overview of member companies and their funded projects:

Funding from the  BIA programme is a quality stamp since the companies compete in “open class” where all sectors are represented. On the Research Council`s website you may find the total list of all the 42 companies (in Norwegian) and read more about the funding from the BIA-programme.

Targovax with full year report

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Targovax will announce its fourth quarter and full year 2016 results on Thursday, 16 February 2017. A presentation by Targovax’s management to investors, analysts and the press will take place in Oslo at 10:00 CET.

The results report and the presentation will be available at www.targovax.com in the Investors section from 07:00 CET.

Presentation

The presentation will take place at 10:00 CET at Hotel Continental. The presentation will also be webcast live and can be accessed through www.targovax.com.

 

 

 

About Targovax

Targovax is a clinical stage company focused on developing novel immuno-oncology therapies to target, primarily, treatment-resistant solid tumors. Immuno-oncology is currently one of the fastest growing therapeutic fields in medicine.

 

The Company’s development pipeline has arisen from two novel proprietary platforms:

The first platform, ONCOS, uses oncolytic viruses, an emerging class of biological therapy. ONCOS exclusively uses an adenovirus that has been engineered to be a tumor-targeted immune activator. The platform has the potential to generate therapies with superior efficacy and safety compared to the first approved oncolytic virus therapy, Imlygic, recently launched by Amgen. We expect proof of concept data related to immune activation in tumor tissue in 2017 from the clinical trial of ONCOS-102 in combination wih CPI in patients with refractory malignant melanoma.

The second platform, TG-Peptides, solely targets tumors that express mutated forms of the RAS protein. Mutations to this protein are common in many cancers and are known to drive aggressive disease progression and treatment resistance. There is a high unmet medical need for therapies that are effective against tumors that express these mutations. The TG platform’s therapeutic potential stems from its ability to enable a patient’s immune system to identify and then destroy tumors bearing any RAS mutations.

The development pipeline has three novel therapeutic candidates in clinical development covering six indications and has already demonstrated promising safety and tolerability data and early signs of clinical response.

Both platforms are protected by an extensive portfolio of IP and know-how and have the potential to yield multiple product candidates in a cost effective manner. Our portfolio of future opportunities comprises a number of early stage development candidates in addition to the three outlined above.

In July 2016 the Company listed its shares on Oslo Axess, securing funding for further development of the Company’s ongoing and planned trials.

 

 

Lytix Biopharma granted 15.9 MNOK from The Norwegian Research Council

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Lytix Biopharma has been awarded a NOK 15.9 million grant from The Norwegian Research Council (User-driven Research-based Innovation) to support the investigation of LTX-315’s ability to make ’’cold tumors hot’’ and Phase II trial in Triple Negative Breast cancer (TNBC).

Recent developments in immunotherapy have demonstrated a significant clinical impact in the field of cancer treatment. However, it is well known that immune therapy works better when there are immune effector cells present in the tumour microenvironment compared to if they are absent. When the tumour lacks immune effector cells, they are called “cold” and when immune effector cells are present they are named “hot”. Preclinical studies have shown that the Lytix compound LTX-315 has the potential  to make cold tumours hot and thus increase the overall patient response of combinations with other cancer treatments, for example immune checkpoint inhibitors.

Forty-two patients have so far been treated with LTX-315 alone, in two Phase I trials, and positive signals from these patients form the basis for this project. The primary objective for this project is to document in both preclinical and clinical studies that LTX-315 increase the infiltration of immune effector cells in the tumour and make the “cold” tumour “hot” in combination with immunotherapy. The clinical study will be performed in patients with Triple Negative Breast Cancer, a subtype of breast cancer. These patients have today limited treatment possibilities and the medical need for better treatments is high.

Håkan Wickholm, CEO of Lytix Biopharma says: ‘We are very pleased that the Research Council shares our view of the potential of LTX-315 and supports our work to give cancer patients a better treatment response.’’

www.lytixbiopharma.com

Phoenix Solutions granted NOK 15.8 million from the Research Council of Norway

Our member Phoenix Solutions has been granted NOK 15.8 million from the Research Council of Norway to the project “ACT for Pancreatic Cancer”.

The main goal of the project is to provide clinical proof-of-concept for Phoenix`s Acoustic Cluster Therapy (ACT®) technology, in a study where ACT® is combined with current standard of care chemotherapy for treatment of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma. Prior to start clinical trials, the project will also include further preclinical work, establishment of GMP manufacture and execution of regulatory safety studies.

“This funding will enable us to push on with our project to fight pancreatic cancer and meet a key developmental milestone; execution of a clinical phase I/IIa program from mid-2018. Together with partners at Institute of Cancer Research / Royal Marsden Hospital (UK) and Haukeland University Hospital, we strongly believe that ACT® can make a significant difference for patients with this hard to treat, deadly disease.”, says CEO in Phoenix Solutions, Per Sontum.

The project will be initiated in Q1 2017 and run for four years. The grant will cover approx. 35% of the project costs. The grant is subject to final contract negotiations.

Established in 2006, the BIA programme is the largest industry-oriented programme at the Research council of Norway (Forskningsrådet). This broad-based programme supports high-quality R&D projects with good business and socio-economic potential.

About Phoenix Solutions: 

Phoenix Solutions is a Norwegian biotech company sprung out from GE Healthcare in 2013, currently developing a technology platform for targeted drug delivery – Acoustic Cluster Therapy (ACT®). ACT® is a unique approach to ultrasound mediated, targeted drug delivery – capable of enhancing significantly the clinical utility of a wide range of therapeutic molecules and nano-drugs for a wide range of clinical indications. Its primary mode of action is in defeating the vascular barrier, enhancing extravasation, distribution and uptake of drug in the targeted tissue, thereby increasing efficacy and/or reducing toxicity.

ACT® is generally indicated towards diseases where current clinical practice treats known, localized pathologies (e.g. solid tumours) with medicinal therapy, and where Standard of Care is being limited from an inability to deliver sufficiently high concentrations of drug to the tumour without excessive systemic toxicity. Phoenix is currently targeting the oncology segment, looking in particular at pancreatic, liver, triple negative breast and prostate cancers, and has extremely promising preclinical results so far.

www.phoenixsolutions.no  

PCI Biotech granted NOK 13.8 million from the Research Council

Our member PCI Biotech has been granted NOK 13.8 million to the project “Photochemical vaccination – novel immunotherapy concept for treatment of cancer and infectious diseases”.

The main goal of the project is to document in a proof-of-principle clinical study in cancer patients that PCI Biotech’s photochemical internalization (PCI) technology can be used to improve the efficacy of a therapeutic cancer vaccine. Other important aspects of the project is to develop the PCI technology for use in vaccination against certain types of viral and bacterial infections, and to explore the technology for use with mRNA-based vaccination.

‘This grant supports further development of the promising fimaVacc technology, as well as the important vaccination application of the fimaNAc technology. Both of these applications are well suited for the development of new types of immunotherapy against cancer, and also for the prevention and treatment of some types of infectious diseases, including certain types of chronic virus infections. We are very pleased to see that the expert evaluators and the Research Council share our view on the potential of these technologies.’ says CEO in PCI Biotech, Per Walday.

The project will be initiated in Q3 2017 and run for three and a half years. The grant will cover up to 35% of the project costs and the project will be implemented in the company’s current plans. The grant is subject to final contract negotiations.

Established in 2006, the BIA programme is the largest industry-oriented programme at the Research council of Norway (Forskningsrådet). This broad-based programme supports high-quality R&D projects with good business and socio-economic potential.

About PCI Biotech
PCI Biotech is a biopharmaceutical company focusing on development and commercialisation of novel therapies for the treatment of cancer through its innovative photochemical internalisation (PCI) technology platform. PCI is applied to three distinct anticancer paradigms: fimaChem (enhancement of chemotherapeutics for localised treatment of cancer), fimaVacc (T-cell induction technology for therapeutic vaccination), and fimaNAc (nucleic acid therapeutics delivery).

www.pcibiotech.no

Cancer Crosslinks 2017 will be streamed

Cancer Crosslinks 2017 on January 26th features a really interesting program with presentations from international and Norwegian thought leaders within cancer research.

For those of you that may not be present at the conference in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park, you may watch the presentations as we will live stream from 9:15 – 16:15.

Close to 250 participants from all over Norway have signed up for this years Cancer Crosslinks. The program for the 9. th Cancer Crosslinks is divided in three parts; recent findings regarding cancer & inflammation, personalised cancer medicine within hematological cancers and the emerging field of real-world evidence.

Cancer Crosslinks is hosted by Oslo Cancer Cluster and sponsored by BMS and AbbVie.

Five members granted funding by Innovation Norway

To stimulate collaboration between companies in the Oslo Cancer Cluster, we have through Innovation Norway´s funding scheme *Innovasjonsrammen*  granted five member companies project funding between NOK 500.00 – 100.000,-.

PCI Biotech, Ultimovacs, Arctic Pharma, Oncoimmunity and MyHere are the said companies, and they  will all use the funding to develop improved cancer treatments. Read more about the projects below.

Ketil Widerberg, CEO of Oslo Cancer Cluster, commented: “Oslo Cancer Cluster encourages collaboration between companies. We highly appreciate that Innovation Norway has a funding scheme like *Innovasjonsrammen* that enables us to fund  projects that may drive collaboration and innovation to develop innovativ cancer treatments.”

 

Joint project PCI Biotech and Ultimovacs:
PCI Biotech (OSE: PCIB), a cancer focused biopharmaceutical company, and it’s partner Ultimovacs, a pharmaceutical company developing novel immunotherapy against cancer, received funding of NOK 500.000,- for further development of the existing preclinical research collaboration. The purpose of the collaboration is to utilise the companies’ complementary scientific platforms to explore potential synergies and the grant will support these activities.
Read press release here.

 

Arctic Pharma and Oslo University
Arctic Pharma’s main objective is to develop therapies for breast cancer (triple-negative subtypes) that to date have non-specific treatments and the poorest survival outcome. Arctic Pharma will create therapies that kill cancer cells by attacking the core of their metabolism, and was granted NOK 100.000,- in their effort together with University og Oslo, to test and characterize their most promising therapies, which they are in the process of patenting.

 

 

OncoImmunity and partners
OncoImmunity provides innovative software solutions to guide the discovery of neoantigen-based personalized immunotherapies and biomarkers. One of the major challenges to overcome is the accurate identification of immunogenic peptides in the tumor, and their precise constellation on a personalized vaccine. In this project OncoImmunity and partners were granted NOK 300.000,- to develop a software framework to predict the peptides that confer maximum immunogenicity with minimum autoimmune side-affects to a patient.

 

Myehere and partners
Myhere and partners were granted NOK 100.000,- for a pilot study.

 

Dehns is now member of the Oslo Cancer Cluster

Dehns Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys recently joined the Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Dehns is one of Europe’s largest firms of patent and trade mark attorneys and has a 40 year history of working with Norwegian organisations such as: Dynal, Inven2,Lytix Biopharma, Nextera, NMBU, NTNU, Nycomed, PCI Biotech and Photocure.

As members, our aim is to advise and help protect the other members needs regarding innovations and intellectual property (IP) around cancer research, diagnosis and treatment.

With experts in this field, many of whom also have PhDs, we can help you build and manage your IP portfolio and strategy, including providing advice on the patentability of inventions, draft and file patent applications, represent you in opposition and other contentious proceedings, as well as advise on academia-industry collaborations and licensing agreements.

www.dehns.com

 

The PCI Biotech and Ultimovacs collaboration awarded NOK 500,000 from Innovation Norway

The PCI Biotech and Ultimovacs collaboration awarded NOK 500,000 from Innovation Norway

Oslo (Norway), 6 January 2017 – PCI Biotech (OSE: PCIB), a cancer focused biopharmaceutical company, and Ultimovacs, a pharmaceutical company developing novel immunotherapy against cancer, today announced that they are awarded NOK 500,000 for further development of the existing preclinical research collaboration. The purpose of the collaboration is to utilise the companies’ complementary scientific platforms to explore potential synergies and the grant will support these activities. The Innovation Norway grant of NOK 500,000 is awarded for 2017 and the grant is made available through Oslo Cancer Cluster a Norwegian Centre of Expertise.

Please see attached press release for further details.

Contact information:
PCI Biotech Holding ASA, Ullernchausséen 64, N-0379 Oslo, Norway. www.pcibiotech.com
Per Walday, CEO, pw@pcibiotech.no, Mobile: +47 917 93 429.

This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.

 

Lytix enrols first patient in LTX-315/anti-PD1 combination study

The immune oncology company Lytix Biopharma AS has enrolled the first patient in the Phase 1 study of LTX-315 in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs). Since LTX-315 turns immunogenically “cold” tumours “hot” it may be an ideal combination with other immunotherapies.

The majority of cancer patients do not respond to marketed immunotherapies when given as monotherapy. The promise of combination immunotherapy is that it may improve the response rate observed with ICIs.

LTX-315 is a novel first-in-class oncolytic peptide immunotherapy in development for the treatment of solid tumours as triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) and malignant melanoma. As monotherapy, LTX-315 has demonstrated a significant increase in CD8 T cells infiltration in injected tumours. Since LTX-315 is turning immunogenically “cold” tumours “hot” it has the potential to enhance the proportion of patients responding to ICIs.

Håkan Wickholm, Lytix Biopharma CEO, commented, -We look forward to gaining further understanding of the potential for LTX-315 as a key component in immunotherapy. Due to LTX-315’s ability to induce strong and diverse tumour specific T cell responses, we believe it is an ideal combination partner for ICIs.

Andrew Saunders, Lytix Biopharma CMO, commented, -LTX-315 can make immunogenically “cold” tumours “hot” and has demonstrated strong synergy in combination with ICIs in preclinical experiments. This represents a strong rationale for us to evaluate this combination in cancer patients.

The Phase 1 trial is designed to investigate the safety and efficacy of LTX-315 in combination with either anti-PD1 or anti-CTLA4 Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor (ICI) antibodies in either Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) or malignant melanoma. The first patient enrolled in the study is a TNBC patient that will receive LTX-315 in combination with anti-PD1. LTX-315 is injected twice a week for 3 weeks, and a total of 14 investigational sites in Europe are participating in the study.

The Phase 1 study is an open-label, multi-arm, dose escalation study of LTX-315 as monotherapy or in combination with either anti-CTLA4 or anti-PD1 in patients with transdermally accessible tumours with the aim of identifying an optimal dose regimen to take into Phase 2.

Recent data indicate that in a Phase 1 trial population with advanced/metastatic tumours, LTX-315 is generally well tolerated with complete and partial regression in 31% of injected tumours and stable disease (SD) in 50% of evaluable patients.
For further information, please contact:

Håkan Wickholm, Chief Executive Officer

Targeted drug delivery platform company Phoenix Solutions AS completes its Series A financing

The Board of Directors of Phoenix Solutions is pleased to announce that the company has completed a series A financing led by a small group of healthcare angel investors. CEO Per Sontum, -We are very pleased to announce this first round of financing. This funding will give us the ability to reach a key developmental milestone for our preclinical work in pancreatic cancer.

Phoenix Solutions is a Norwegian bio-tech company sprung out from GE Healthcare in 2013, currently developing a technology platform for targeted drug delivery – Acoustic Cluster Therapy (ACT®). ACT® is a unique approach to ultrasound mediated, targeted drug delivery – capable of enhancing significantly the clinical utility of a wide range of therapeutic molecules and nano-drugs for a wide range of clinical indications. Its primary mode of action is in defeating the vascular barrier, enhancing extravasation, distribution and uptake of drug in the targeted tissue, thereby increasing efficacy and/or reducing toxicity. ACT® is generally indicated towards diseases where current clinical practice treats known, localized pathologies (e.g. solid tumours) with medicinal therapy, and where Standard of Care is being limited from an inability to deliver sufficiently high concentrations of drug to the tumour without excessive systemic toxicity. Phoenix is currently targeting the oncology segment, looking in particular at pancreatic, liver, triple negative breast and prostate cancers, and have had extremely promising preclinical results so far.

 

For further information, please contact: Per Christian Sontum, CEO of Phoenix Solutions AS

E-mail: Per.Sontum@phoenixsolutions.no

Mobile: +47 47261042

200 EUR discount for OCC members: BIOEurope Spring® 2017

BIOEurope Spring 2017 — 11 th International Partnering Conference
Where the global biotech industry comes to partner

BIOEurope Spring is the springtime counterpart to EBD Group’s flagship conference, BIOEurope , and continues the tradition of providing life science companies with high caliber partnering opportunities. Featuring EBD Group’s sophisticated, webbased partnering system, partneringONE ® , the event enables delegates to efficiently identify, meet and get partnerships started with companies across the life science value chain, from large biotech and pharma companies to financiers and innovative startups.

Venue:
CCIB Convention Centre
Willy Brandt Square 1114
08019 Barcelona, Spain

Date: March 20–22, 2017

Website: https://ebdgroup.knect365.com/bioeurope-spring/

The members of the Oslo Cancer Cluster have the opportunity to obtain 200 EUR discount on the registration fee. To receive the discount code, please contact Jutta Heix (or) Gupta Udatha.

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Prime Minister Erna Solberg´s speech to Oslo Cancer Cluster

Oslo Cancer Cluster celebrated it´s 10 years anniversary in December with almost 170 guests, the Prime Minister Erna Solberg, State Secretary Dilek Ayhan, several Members of the Parliament, General Secretary of the Norwegian Cancer Society Anne Lise Ryel and representatives from the governmental agencies SIVA, Innovation Norway and the Research Council. 

At the anniversary seminar, Prime Minister Erna Solberg gave a speech where she honoured the work that the cluster has done so far to contribute to the development of innovative cancer treatments.

The Prime Minister also revealed to the acclamation from the audience,  that the financing in the future is secured through the Research Council. This funding comes in addition to the earmarked funding to health clusters in the State Budget for 2017 that Oslo Cancer Cluster also may apply for.

Anne Lise Ryel, General Secretary of the Norwegian Cancer Society also gave a wonderful speech to cluster. 

 

Below you may read Erna Solberg´s speech,  published on regjeringen.no

 

Speech by Prime Minister Erna Solberg at Oslo Cancer Cluster 13 December 2016.
By Statsminister Erna Solberg

First of all, I would like to wish you happy anniversary, Oslo Cancer Cluster!

Congratulations to all of you who have contributed to the development of what OCC stands for today, and what OCC will be in the future.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park has developed into  an important meeting place for cancer research, innovation and education.

You host activities throughout the value chain: basic research, clinical trials, innovation, commercialisation and most importantly implementation of new knowledge in clinical pracice.

I’m sure the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park will also play an important role in shaping future cancer treatments and as an innovative environment for researchers.

Cancer is the disease area that receives most of the research funding both nationally and regionally.

This investment produces results in the form of new treatment that benefits cancer patients – for example,

Personalised medicine is gradually being implemented in the treatment of cancer patients.

Immunotherapy is a new revolutionary development in cancer treatment which is thought to have an even larger impact on cancer treatment in the future.

Protontherapy may be more effective and reduce the extent of damage to surrounding organs and tissues.

I am well aware that behind these key developments are many years of hard work in research. Thank you all for contributing!

We can still bring even more of the investments we make in research to the patients, through increased focus on collaboration between the health sector and industry in clinical research, innovation and commercialization of research results.

The importance of this collaboration is discussed in several documents. Let me mention the Government’s White Paper on medicines, the HealthCare21 strategy and  the Government Action Plan for implementation of the Health&Care21 Strategy.

The health and care sector is of great importance in our society. This is a sector where knowledge, new technology and demographic development lead to rapid changes and restructuring.

The patient and her needs is to be at the centre of these changes.

Research and innovation is instrumental when aiming for higher patient quality, development of better health and care services and more effective and affordable treatment.

Research and innovation also lays the foundation for new business development.

For the first time in Norway, the major actors in the health industry have joined forces and developed a report  aiming at describing the entire health industry in numbers. This report from Menon this year says among other things that the health industry in Norway:

  • exported for about 20 billion Norwegian kroner in 2015,
  • had a strong revenue growth in 2015 of 11 percent,
  • that research and development efforts in the health sector is at least 2.5 billion Norwegian kroner.

I believe that the health industry may play an important role in the Norwegian economy. Accordingly, this Government has decided that health is a priority in industrial policy development.

In this context, it is of  importance to develop strong clusters. OCC is an important example of international renown cancer cluster in Norway today.

We have many types of policy instruments and tools in order to achieve our objectives in developing and strengthening Norwegian industries through the Research Council and Innovation Norway.

OCC plays an important role in creating cooperation arenas between users, public sector, health authorities, private sector and research communities.

I am pleased to let you know that the Research Council has informed me that it will provide funding to OCC,  granted that the criteria from the State Aid Guidelines are fulfilled.

Furthermore, next year’s national budget contains a proposal to strengthen the clusters – and with a particular focus on health-related research and innovation. This in turn should provide for additional options for  clusters to apply for project funding.

I look forward to follow your work in the years to come.

Again happy anniversary!

Norwegian Cancer Society honours Oslo Cancer Cluster

Anne Lise Ryel, General Secretary of the Norwegian Cancer Society gave a powerful speech at the celebration of Oslo Cancer Cluster´s 10 years anniversary. Here she stresses the importance of collaboration and ensures the continued support to the cluster. 

 

OSLO CANCER CLUSTER 10 ÅR

HILSEN VED GENERALSEKRETÆR ANNE LISE RYEL, KREFTFORENINGEN

13. DESEMBER 2016

 

 

Prime Minister,

Deputy Minister,

Members of the Parliament,

Friends of OCC,

Friends of the cancer case,

Dear all of you,

 

1.

I have a dream.

A dream that Norway expand the investment in, and starts building a sustainable innovative health industry.

Why: For the better of the nation, creating value, creating work places, and of course, needless to say;

for better treatment and quality of life for future patients.

I have a dream that we in doing so, we combine our expertise and excellence in technology from the oil and gas sector with medicine and healthcare.

Pumps and pipes.

I think I share this dream with many, hopefully also with our prime minister.

 

2.

I have a dream.

A dream that this health industry – being so massive – will focus on cancer.

In this field we have unique possibilities and benefits for national and global success.

 

Such as:

-Some excellent research groups

-A national cancer registry

-Population surveys

-Bio banks

-A national ID number

-A homogenous population

 

People trust in the healthcare system/sector

People want to participate in clinical trials

Systems for including the user´s perspective

 

Obama also shares this dream.

To combat cancer with help of research and innovation and industry.

And to help fulfill his dream he looks to Norway.*

 

He looks to where we are now, to this very spot!

 

3.

I have a dream.

A dream that this campus ­ – with Radium Hospitalet, with its clinics, research institutions, Oslo Cancer Cluster, Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation park, startups, the school, The Cancer Registry, the Vardecenter for patients – becomes a Comprehensive Cancer Center.

This will attract the best global minds and the best ideas, and money.

It’s here in Oslo, in the capital.

But it is national.

Like OCC is national. It’s a Norwegian cluster.

 

4.

I have a dream that we will continue to build on the Nordic model.

A model with three parties.

Public, private and NGOs.

Together we cover a broader perspective, we contribute with our unique strengths, we play different roles.

Together we gain more.

I say Nordic model, because the most common model globally is the two sectors together: public and private.

 

The Nordic countries have realized that organizations like the Norwegian cancer society, NGOs within the health sector,

Always have, from their very start, been innovative.

Always tried to find solutions to the needs voiced by citizens and patient groups.

 

Therefore we think and hope that we have a role to play. That we can contribute. In general. In the healthcare sector.

 

5.

And that’s why the Norwegian cancer society has been a supporter of OCC from the start and a member from an early stage.

Hopefully we have facilitated contact with other actors, hopefully we have opened some doors, hopefully we have been good ambassadors.

 

6.

Today OCC is 10 years of age.

It has grown from a baby to becoming a teenager.

The expectations might change a bit.

The challenges might be a bit different in the future.

But with a growing strength, more can be gained, and more value added to the role of being a cluster.

 

We will continue to support you. Perhaps also in new ways.

We see the need of a common ground, a place where all the actors can meet and mingle and join and create.

Otherwise, neither my nor others´ dreams will come true.

 

I will make Henry Ford’s words mine:

Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.

 

7.

My colleague googled to find out what a 10-year-old would like as a gift.

The answer was the game «How to become a millionaire». The combination knowledge + ideas + creativity is a way to money. Both in games and real life.

A perfect gift for you!

 

Congratulations!

 

 

 

Vaccibody raised MNOK 220

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Vaccibody succesfully raised NOK 220 million (€ 24 million). The Private Placement was significantly oversubscribed by both existing shareholders and new investors.

The net proceeds from the Private Placement will be used to conduct Vaccibody’s early stage clinical development plan for personalized cancer neoantigen vaccines (two phase I/Ib trials) and for general corporate purposes.

Martin Bonde, CEO of Vaccibody, said: “We are grateful for the confidence in, and commitment to, the Company from our new investors as well as our existing investors. With the investment we will be able to pursue our ambition of making an entirely novel therapy available. In collaboration with expert clinicians we will work to initiate clinical trials with our to cancer neoantigen vaccines to show benefit in patients suffering from advanced and severe cancer”.

 

www.vaccibody.com

20% discount for OCC members: NORDIC PRECISION MEDICINE FORUM 2017

The Nordic Countries represent a unique opportunity when it comes to healthcare; boasting a wealth of data, some of the most advanced HealthTech, and being host to world leading biotech and pharma companies and universities. As such it is little surprise that the precision medicine revolution is creating such a buzz; disruptive technology, a strong economic setting and decades of social and health data collection are coming together to create the perfect storm for the future of healthcare in the region.

It is widely accepted that for the promise of precision medicine to become a reality we must work together; sharing data and research via a multi-disciplinary approach as well as cross border collaboration.

Nordic Precision Medicine Forum will bring together those at the very forefront of precision medicine from biologists, physicians and technology developers to data scientists, patient groups, governments and more. We hope you can join the forum in Copenhagen on 26 April 2017.

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The members of the Oslo Cancer Cluster have the opportunity to obtain 20% discount on the registration fee. To receive the discount code, please contact Jutta Heix (or) Gupta Udatha.

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Update: PERMIDES 1st European Workshop

Oslo Cancer Cluster organized and hosted the ‘1st European Workshop : PERMIDES H2020 Project‘ on 06th December 2016 @ Jónas Einarsson Auditorium, in collaboration with NCE Smart & on behalf of the PERMIDES consortium.

More than 30 delegates from Biopharma, IT and Bioinformatics companies mostly from the Nordic countries actively discussed their innovation barriers and needs along the personalised medicine value chain and digital health revolution. MediSapiens (Finland) and eSmart Systems (Norway) gave stimulating presentations on Digitization of bio-business, Big Data Analytics & Machine Learning aspects. Oslo Cancer Cluster kickstarted the group discussions with an introduction to PERMIDES consortium, the Value Chain Challenges & Topics for Innovation Projects.

During the later half of the workshop, moderated group discussions prioritised the key challenges of biopharma SMEs which can be addressed with the implementation of IT solutions and automatised processes. The workshop thereby provided valuable input for the PERMIDES Innovation Project calls to be launched during the first quarter of the year 2017. In addition, it provided initial matchmaking between participants from the biopharma and IT sector.

Currently we are developing the PERMIDES online platform, where biopharma – IT & bioinformatics SMEs can identify suitable partners to jointly apply for Innovation Vouchers allowing them to address their value chain challenges. For more information, please visit: PERMIDES

 

Given below is the glimpse of the workshop agenda:

agenda

 

For further information and discussions, please contact:

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Nordic Nanovector raised 500 MNOK

Nordic Nanovector  has raised MNOK 500 in gross proceeds through a private placement of 4,374,244 new shares. 

 

Nordic Nanovector intends to use the net proceeds to:

– To fund a Phase 2 combination study of Betalutin® and Rituximab CD20
– To fund a Phase 1 study and GMP manufacturing for 177Lu-conjugated chimeric antibody (anti-CD37 ARC)
– Develop new proprietary antibody production technology
–  Accelerate pipeline of pre-clinical assets to clinical trials
–  Prepare for commercial launch of Betalutin®
–  General corporate purposes
The Private Placement and the issuance of the new shares was resolved by the Company’s Board of Directors (the “Board”) at a board meeting held on 6 December 2016, based on the authorisation granted to the Board at the Company’s annual general meeting on 19 May 2016. Notification of allotment in the Private Placement and payment instructions will be sent to the applicants today through a notification from the Joint Bookrunners. The new shares will be settled delivery versus payment on 9 December 2016 (regular T+2 settlement), by delivery of existing and unencumbered shares in the Company that are already listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange pursuant to a share lending agreement between DNB Markets (on behalf of the Joint Bookrunners) and HealthCap VI L.P. The new shares delivered to the subscribers will thus be tradable from allocation.

Following registration of the new share capital pertaining to the Private Placement in the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises, expected to take place on or about 13 December 2016, the Company will have an issued share capital of NOK 9,794,924, divided into 48,974,618 shares, each with a par value of NOK 0.20.

The Board has assessed the Private Placement in light of the equal treatment requirement, balanced the considerations that speak for and against carrying out the Private Placement and concluded that the waiver of the preferential rights inherent in a private placement was considered necessary in the interest of time and successful completion in the common interest of the Company and its shareholders.

The Company’s latest investor presentation is available here.

 

 

About Nordic Nanovector:

Nordic Nanovector is a biotech company focusing on the development and commercialisation of novel targeted therapeutics in haematology and oncology. The Company’s lead clinical-stage product opportunity is Betalutin®, the first in a new class of Antibody-Radionuclide-Conjugates (ARC) designed to improve upon and complement current options for the treatment of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL). NHL is an indication with substantial unmet medical need and orphan drug opportunities, representing a growing market worth over $12 billion by 2018.

Betalutin® comprises a tumour-seeking anti-CD37 antibody, lilotomab, conjugated to a low intensity radionuclide (lutetium-177). The preliminary data has shown promising efficacy and safety profile in an ongoing Phase 1/2 study in a difficult-to-treat NHL patient population. The Company is aiming at developing Betalutin® for the treatment of major types of NHL with first regulatory submission anticipated in 1H 2019.

Nordic Nanovector intends to retain marketing rights and to actively participate in the commercialisation of Betalutin® in core markets, while exploring potential distribution agreements in selected geographies. The Company is committed to developing its pipeline of innovative targeted immunoconjugate therapies for multiple selected cancer indications.

Further information about the Company can be found at www.nordicnanovector.com

This information is subject to the disclose requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.

 

Utplassering med uttelling

Gjennom det skolefaglige samarbeidet mellom Oslo Cancer Cluster og Ullern videregående skole har realfagselever hatt en ukes utplassering på avdeling for Tumorbiologi ved Institutt for Kreftforskning ved Oslo universitetssykehus i 7 år.

 

I år er de heldige elevene som får være med kreftforskerne i sitt dagligvirke; Marie, William, Ondrej, Julie, Louise og Anine.

Da vi stikker innom på andre dag av utplasseringen er elevene i gang med å skille brystkreftceller og føflekkreftceller ved hjelp av magnetiske Ugelstadkuler. Kulene er dekket med ulike antistoffer som gjenkjenner enten bryst-spesifikke proteiner eller føflekk-spesifikke proteiner.

-Vi har søkt utplassering selv for vi har veldig lyst til å kunne ta i bruk det vi har lest om på skolen mer i prakis, sier Louise. Hun var og på utplassering i fjor på Folkehelseinstituttet.

-Det er veldig spennende å lære mer om hva man gjør på en lab og hva det arbeidet går ut på, sier Marie.

De er skjønt enige om at et arbeidsliv som forsker eller lege kunnevære veldig spennende, og alle seks har biologi og kjemi på skolen.

Etter å ha jobbet en del to og to med prøver i laben for å få fram en væske som skal bestå av Ugelstadkuler som har festet seg til kreftceller, går gjengen videre inn på mikroskopirommet for å kikke på prøvene de har jobbet med, samt en negativ prøve for å sjekke at de har gjort eksperimentet riktig.

-Det er mye håndarbeid på en lab. Det er nok veldig uvant for elevene, sier Siri Tveito som er kreftforsker og har ansvaret for elevene denne uken sammen med Karen-Marie Heintz.

-Men de er dyktige og blir flinkere til å pipettere hver dag som går, sier Tveito som har vært med på utplasseringene siden 2012.

Det som skiller utplasseringen på tumorbiologien fra de andre utplasseringene som Ullernelvene kan søke på, er at den varer en hel uke og er veldig praktisk lagt opp slik at elevene får teste ut mye selv på laboratoriet.

-Det er kjempegøy, og absolutt noe som jeg kunne tenke meg å gjøre videre, sier Ondrej.

Han forteller at han liker å finne ut av nye ting, og at det ser veldig fristende ut å bli forsker basert på nettopp det.

-Det er klart at det blir mye skole å ta igjen etter en uke på utplassering, men det er absolutt verdt det, sier Ondrej.

 

 

Ullern skole og Oslo Cancer Cluster tilbyr syv utplasseringer i året til elever som tar realfag og media. Utplasseringene får virkelige gode tilbakemeldinger fra elevene og mange forfølger et yrke som forsker eller lege etter realfagsutplasseringene.

 

 

Single-dose Betalutin® shows promising efficacy

Nordic Nanovector ASA presented the updated results from its ongoing Lymrit 37-01 Phase 1/2 clinical trial of Betalutin® (177Lu-satetraxetan-lilotomab) in subjects with relapsed non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) at the 58th Annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting (San Diego, CA, USA).

 

The updated data confirm Betalutin®’s promising efficacy and favourable safety profile as a single agent in 38 relapsed NHL patients, having failed multiple prior regimens and being eligible for assessments. The results, based on the data cut-off date of 31 October 2016, were presented by the study’s Principal Investigator Dr. Arne Kolstad from the Department of Oncology at the Oslo University Hospital, Radiumhospitalet.

Key conclusions:

• In the 35 patients evaluable for efficacy, the Overall Response Rate (ORR) was 63%, with 29% Complete Responses (CR)

• The 21 evaluable patients in the study who received Betalutin® at the dose of 15 MBq/kg with 40 mg/m2 lilotomab pre-dosing had an ORR of 62% and a CR of 38%; of these, the 16 patients enrolled in the Phase 2 expansion of Arm 1, had an ORR of 69% and a CR of 38%

• Durable responses have been observed with a median duration of response of 20.7 months for all patients in Arm 1

• Betalutin® is well tolerated, with a predictable and manageable safety profile: most adverse events are haematological in nature, and all have been transient and reversible

• No dose-limiting toxicity (DLT) was reported in Arm 4 (15 MBq/kg Betalutin® plus 100 mg/m2 lilotomab pre-dosing) and this regimen demonstrated lower bone marrow toxicity than Arm 1, 2 and 3. Arm 4 is now enrolling patients to evaluate the higher dosing regimen of 20 MBq/kg Betalutin® plus 100 mg/m2 lilotomab.

The Lymrit 37-01 study is a Phase 1/2 open label, dose escalation study investigating the optimal lilotomab pre-dosing and Betalutin® regimen in patients with relapsed NHL. Data from 38 patients are presented.

Dr. Arne Kolstad, MD commented -The results we are presenting today are very encouraging and continue to highlight the potential of Betalutin® to provide a new treatment option for NHL patients. These patients, particularly those who fail standard CD20-targeted immunotherapy and/or are too frail to receive chemotherapy, are desperately in need of alternative therapies that work through different and complementary mechanisms and are well tolerated. Betalutin® is showing exciting promise in an increasing number of NHL patients and we look forward to the results from future studies that will hopefully confirm its attractive profile.

Dr. Lisa Rojkjaer, MD Nordic Nanovector’s Chief Medical Officer, commented -These new data confirm the promising results for Betalutin®, including durable responses in a number of patients, which were presented earlier this year at the AACR meeting, and continue to demonstrate an encouraging clinical profile as a single agent for treating patients with relapsed NHL. The results also support escalating to a higher dosing regimen in the final stages of this Phase 1/2 study that will allow us to decide an optimal dosing regimen for the pivotal Phase 2 study, PARADIGME, expected in Q1 2017.

The poster (abstract 1780) was presented on Saturday, 3 December 2016 between 5:30PM–7:30PM Pacific Standard Time (Oslo: Sunday 4 December, 2:30AM–4:30AM CET) and is available at: http://www.nordicnanovector.com/product-info/scientific-posters.

 

 

About Nordic Nanovector
Nordic Nanovector is a biotech company focusing on the development and commercialisation of novel targeted therapeutics in haematology and oncology. The Company’s lead clinical-stage product opportunity is Betalutin®, the first in a new class of Antibody-Radionuclide-Conjugates (ARC) designed to improve upon and complement current options for the treatment of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL). NHL is an indication with substantial unmet medical need and orphan drug opportunities, representing a growing market worth over $12 billion by 2018.

Betalutin® comprises a tumour-seeking anti-CD37 antibody, lilotomab (previously referred to as HH1), conjugated to a low intensity radionuclide (lutetium-177). The preliminary data has shown promising efficacy and safety profile in an ongoing Phase 1/2 study in a difficult-to-treat NHL patient population. The Company is aiming at developing Betalutin® for the treatment of major types of NHL with first regulatory submission anticipated in 1H 2019.

Nordic Nanovector intends to retain marketing rights and to actively participate in the commercialisation of Betalutin® in core markets, while exploring potential distribution agreements in selected geographies. The Company is committed to developing its ARC pipeline to treat multiple selected cancer indications.

Further information about the Company can be found at www.nordicnanovector.com

This information is subject to the disclose requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.

Strong recommendations for Blue Light Cystoscopy with Hexvix® in new French Guidelines

Oslo, Norway, November, 21 2016: Photocure ASA (OSE:PHO) announced today that new 2016 French National Guidelines for the management of Bladder Cancer includes its Blue Light Cystoscopy (BLC) with Hexvix®.  The new guidelines have been presented on November 17th, during Association of French Urologists (AFU) National Meeting, Paris, France published on line in Progres en urologie.

Please click here for an abstract of the guidelines.

The French guidelines recommend BLC with Hexvix® for the first bladder cancer resection (TURBT) in essentially all patients and for consecutive TURBT’s in the majority of patients. The recommendations are at an evidence level Grade B, demonstrating the strong clinical data supporting BLC with Hexvix®.

– The Association of French Urology National Bladder Cancer Guidelines for the management of patients with bladder cancer were last released in 2013.  One of the biggest differences since the last guideline is that it now includes the situations BLC with Hexvix® can be used to reduce the risk of recurrence of NMIBC. The strong recommendation for use of blue light cystoscopy with Hexvix® should result in contributing to increasing the level of urological care for the management of patients with bladder cancer in France, said  M. Roupret, during his presentation on the guidelines at the AFU meeting, Professor of Urology Pitié-Salpétrière – Hôpitaux de Paris University and one of the authors of the guidelines.

-The updated French National Guidelines recommending BLC with Hexvix® for such a wide range of patient types will result in BLC with Hexvix® being seen as standard of care. It is especially encouraging to see the strong recommendation for using BLC at the very critical first TURBT, which allows for the most correct staging and grading, which is crucial for the optimal follow-up and management of the patient. The recommendation for use in the first TURBT is also supported by Hexvix® cost effectiveness data developed for French conditions published in 20151, commented Kjetil Hestdal, MD, PhD, President and CEO, Photocure ASA.

In 2011, Photocure entered into a strategic collaboration with Ipsen to commercialize Hexvix®, its flagship product for the diagnosis and management of bladder cancer, worldwide except in the United States of America (USA) and the Nordic region. This technology represents a significant improvement for urologists and their patients. Ipsen is notably responsible for the commercialization of Hexvix® in France.

About Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in men with more than 330 000 new cases annually and more than 130 000 die of the disease2. It has a high recurrence rate with an average of 61% in one year and 78% over five years, making the lifetime costs of managing bladder cancer one of the highest amongst all cancers. It is a costly, potentially progressive disease for which patients have to undergo multiple cystoscopies because of the high risk of recurrence. A recent paper on the economic burden of bladder cancer across the European Union estimates that bladder cancer cost the EU 4.9 billion Euro in 20123. There is an urgent need to improve both the diagnosis and the management of bladder cancer for the benefit of patients and healthcare systems alike.

Bladder cancer is classified into two types, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) and muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC), depending on the depth of invasion in the bladder wall. NMIBC is still in the inner layer of cells. These cancers are the most common (75%) of all bladder cancer cases and include the subtypes Ta, carcinoma in situ (CIS) and T1 lesions. MIBC is when the cancer has grown into deeper layers of the bladder wall. These cancers, including subtypes T2, T3 and T4, are more likely to spread and are harder to treat.

About Hexvix®/Cysview®

Hexvix®/Cysview® (hexaminolevulinate hydro-chloride) is an innovative breakthrough technology in the diagnosis and management of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. It is designed to selectively target malignant cells in the bladder and induce fluorescence during a cystoscopic procedure using a blue light enabled cystoscope. Using Hexvix®/Cysview® as an adjunct to standard white light cystoscopy enables the urologist to better detect and remove lesions, leading to a reduced risk of recurrence.

Hexvix® is the tradename in Europe, Cysview® in U.S. and Canada. Hexvix® is marketed and sold by Photocure in the Nordic countries and in the US with the trade name Cysview®. Photocure has a strategic partnership with Ipsen for the commercialization of Hexvix® in Europe, excluding the Nordic region.

Please see here for further information on our commercial partners.

Participants planning to submit a project proposal under Horizon 2020 are eligible to seek funding from the PES scheme

Project Establishment Support directed towards H2020 

The Project Establishment Support directed towards H2020 (PES2020) scheme is one of several funding instruments employed by the Research Council to strengthen Norwegian participation under H2020 and achieve improved returns in the form of project funding under H2020. The funding arena is highly competitive, and it takes knowledge, time and resources to prepare good project proposals. The PES2020 scheme is designed to relieve some of the cost burden for Norwegian applicants related to the preparation of project proposals. The scheme is also designed to raise the overall competence of Norwegian applicants with regard to participation under H2020, as well as to promote:

• higher quality in the proposals submitted;
• growth in the number of proposals involving Norwegian participants;
• participation by new applicants in EU projects.

This programme/activity normally accepts grant applications from:

Companies, research institutes, universities, university colleges, regional health authorities, industry organisations and other parties qualified to take part in a proposed project directed towards H2020. Public agencies will not receive funding to cover salary costs for their own employees except for payroll compensation for participation of personnel in the project. As from 2015, financial support from the PES2020 scheme is awarded to companies as de minimis aid.

Duration: 2014 – 2020

Project establishment support may also be sought for proposals directed towards the following initiatives receiving funding under H2020 (provided that Norway is a participant):

  • InnovFin instruments
  • The Eurostars Programme
  • The Active and Assisted Living Programme (AAL)
  • Joint Technology Initiatives (JTIs)
  • European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) (establishment of new networks)
  • Funding announcements under the ERA-NET scheme or Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs), provided they are co-funded by H2020.

Proposals targeting EU initiatives other than those listed here are not eligible for PES funding.

Funding may be used to cover the following costs:

  • Travel expenses
  • Salary costs for employees at public universities will not be covered. However, hourly costs for e.g. hiring a post-doc or others to assist in proposal development that results in additional costs for the university can be covered.
  • Payroll compensation for personnel, e.g. for hiring a substitute to take over duties of the researcher who will be writing the proposal.
  • Procurement of external assistance and consultation.

How to apply:

Announcement
PES2020 – Support for the establishment of project proposals directed towards H2020 Choose
PES2020 – Financial Instruments Choose
H2020 – Funding for travels and positioning activities for Norwegian actors without an annual framework grant from PES2020 Choose
Funding for participation in the strategic processes of the ERA Choose

 

Photocure with good results

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Photocure ASA is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on photodynamic technologies in cancer and dermatology. They reported a revenue growth of 17 % to NOK 31.6 million in the third quarter of 2016 (Q3 2015: NOK 27.0) for the Hexvix/Cysview commercial franchise and a corresponding EBITDA of NOK 8.0 million.

Watch full presentation here.

 

About:
Photocure, the world leader in photodynamic technology, is a Norwegian based specialty pharmaceutical company. They develop and commercialize highly selective and effective solutions in several disease areas such as bladder cancer, HPV and precancerous lesions of the cervix and acne.

Photocure currently have one product on the market: Hexvix®/Cysview® (The brand name is Cysview in the US and Hexvix in the rest of the world).

The Photocure Technology® is uniquely selective, targeting affected areas without impact to non-affected areas. This allows for non-invasive procedures that improve quality of life.

For more information on Photocure.

Workshop Update: MyData and Blockchain-based innovation in the Digital Health Sector

Oslo Cancer Cluster hosted a workshop co-organized by Alpha Venturi on “MyData and Blockchain-based innovation in the digital Health sector” on 14 November 2016 @ Jónas Einarsson Auditorium. 

Stakeholders and companies from Norway, Finland, United Kingdom and Estonia have been involved in the brainstorming sessions on several aspects of digital health revolution. The Norwegian Health Directorate, Norwegian Centre for E-Health Research and University in Oulu/Digital Health Revolution from Norway and Finland introduced their respective country perspectives on digital healthcare and progress made relative to MyData.

Multinational biopharmaceutical company Amgen presented their views on the potential gains from such an approach. Alpha Venturi iterated the importance of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies as a potential game changer for Healthcare among other industries. Two foreign companies, Digi.me from UK and Guardtime from Estonia, have also been invited as external speakers to come and present their respective approach to enable access and sharing of personal health data, one of which based on Blockchain, and the pilots they are implementing respectively in Iceland and Estonia among others.

During this workshop, Alpha Venturi and Oslo Cancer Cluster, moderated the discussions on further perspectives on technologies like Blockchain for Health Care and Personalised Medicine. The first half of the workshop included informative presentations from the delegates, and the later half was focused on brainstorming discussions on potential collaborations.

Alpha Venturi will soon release a report from this workshop that will include short-term and long-term visions, recommendations of the activities and innovation projects in digital health space that can be initiated in Norway in partnership with other Nordic countries. You contact the CEO of Alpha Venturi, Wilfried Pimenta de Miranda at: wilfried@alpha-venturi.com

20161114_103338

Given below is the glimpse of the workshop agenda:

Start Activity Min.
8.45 Arrival of the first participants
9.10 Welcome, presentation of participants and background for the initiative

Oslo Cancer Cluster – Gupta Udatha

Alpha Venturi – Wilfried Pimenta de Miranda

20
9.30 Norway: Overview of the e-health situation and roadmap, examples

Norwegian Health Directorate – Erik Hedlund

10
9.40 Norway: Perspectives on ongoing e-health research and innovation related to MyData

Norwegian Centre for E-Health Research – Gustav Bellika

10
9.50 Finland: Overview of the e-health situation and roadmap, examples

Digital Health Revolution – Maritta Perälä-Heape

20
10.10 The changing data landscape and its impact on biopharma

Amgen- Jonathan Doogan

30
10.40 Pause 10
10.50 A person centric example, Health Iceland Living Lab

Digi.me – Julian Ranger and Andrew Carmody

30
11.20 Q&A 20
11.40 Lunch – Open discussions and networking 60
12.40 Introduction to Blockchain + Use cases in the Health sector

Alpha Venturi – Wilfried Pimenta de Miranda

30
13.10 Healthcare pilot for Estonia

Guardtime – Martin Ruubel

30
13.40 Q&A 20
14.20 Pause 10
14.30 How could a person centric approach be applied to a Norway/Finland healthcare sector 30
15.00 How to make personal data available to individuals 30
15.30 Pause 15
15.45 Building a common vision for the partnership, design principles, initial pilot thoughts 45
16.30 Agreement of next steps; creation of working group to follow up from the day 45
17.15 End & Networking until 17.45 30

For further information and discussions on Oslo Cancer Cluster’s digital health projects, please contact our Project Manager D.B.R.K. Gupta Udatha

D.B.R.K Gupta Udatha

Oslo Cancer Cluster and NCE Smart Energy Markets together with four European clusters in medicine and IT managed to land a prestigious Horizon 2020 EU project. The EU project will use innovative IT solutions to develop personalized cancer treatment. Allocated funds are 45 million NOK, of which 34 million NOK are earmarked for small and medium enterprises in the clusters. The EU project with the sounding name “Personalised Medicine Innovation through Digital Enterprise Solutions: PERMIDES”, will utilize digital tools and novel solutions from the IT sector  to support the development of new cancer treatment. This will be achieved by matching small and medium enterprises from the IT and the biopharma sector for joint innovation projects.

View PERMIDES page

Cancer Crosslinks 2017

Det er med stor glede vi inviterer onkologer, hematologer og forskere til det niende Cancer Crosslinks i vår egen Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovasjonspark.

Cancer Crosslinks er den årlige møteplassen for onkologer og hematologer. I 2017 går Cancer Crosslinks av stabelen 26. januar. Vi har delt inn dagen i tre faglige sesjoner som alle presenterer relevante, tverrfaglige temaer med stor klinisk relevans:

• Sesjon 1 “Cancer and Inflammation – new insights and their clinical impact”
• Sesjon 2 “Today’s cancer treatment: how individualized can it be?”
• Sesjon 3 “Classical endpoints vs. Real-world evidence – need to rethink?”

Vi er veldig stolt over å presentere internasjonale toppforelesere fra både Europa og USA som sammen med nasjonale eksperter vil gi innsikt i et fagfelt i rivende utvikling. Åpningssesjonen er med Professor Jerome Galon fra INSERM som blant annet står bak Immunoscore, som er ny metode for rutinemessig klinisk vurdering av prognosen til kreftpasienter. Vi ser også veldig fram til å høre Professor William G. Wierda fra MD Anderson snakke om hvor persontilpasset behandlingen av blodkreft kan gjøres i dag.

Vi håper møtet vil stimulere til tverrfaglig diskusjon og samarbeid “fra laboratorium til sykeseng”.
Presentasjonene vil foregå på engelsk.

Om du har problemer med å registrere deg elektronisk, scann inn svarslippen og send den på mail til jh@oslocancercluster.no. På grunn av stor interesse for Cancer Crosslinks, kan firmaer kun stille med to personer. Kaare Norum Auditorium har plass til 290 deltagere. Møtet vil også bli strømmet direkte.

  • Dersom du trenger fly eller togbillett, ta kontakt med vårt byrå Berg-Hansen på e-mail: bestilling@berg-hansen.no eller på telefonnummer: 08050. Vennligst oppgi kode “OCC”, belastes Oslo Cancer Cluster. Booking vil åpne torsdag 1. desember 2016.

Møtet arrangeres i samarbeid med Bristol-Myers Squibb og AbbVie Norge. Arrangementet er i samsvar med retningslinjene som er inngått mellom Legeforeningen og Legemiddelindustriforeningen. Denne invitasjonen er også sendt til administrasjonen og/eller avdelingsansvarlig, i henhold til sykehusets interne regler.

Targovax granted European Patent for ONCOS platform lead product, ONCOS-102

Oslo Cancr Cluster member Targovax has been granted European Patent for ONCOS platform lead product, ONCOS-102. This composition of matter patent protects Targovax’s lead product from its ONCOS platform, the oncolytic viral product ONCOS-102 and expires in 2029. A US patent covering ONCOS-102 was granted in May 2016.

Targovax’s proprietary ONCOS platform generates novel oncolytic viruses, an emerging class of biological therapy. ONCOS exclusively uses adenoviruses, which are engineered to be tumor targeted immune activators. The platform has the potential to generate therapies with superior efficacy and safety compared to the first approved oncolytic virus therapy, Imlygic, recently launched by Amgen.

In a previously reported Phase I trial ONCOS-102 treatment induced tumor-specific immune activation both at a systemic and lesional level in tumors of late stage cancer patients. The immune activation was associated with signals of clinical benefit. Targovax is currently initiating a number of Phase I/II clinical trials that are expected to readout in the next two years for the treatment of solid tumors such as melanoma, malignant pleural mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer.

ONCOS-102 has Orphan drug designation with the FDA and EMA in mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and soft tissue sarcoma.

Jon Amund Eriksen, Chief Technology Innovation Officer and Co-founder of Targovax said, “This European patent is an important addition to Targovax’s intellectual property portfolio covering our ONCOS platform and the engineered oncolytic viruses that arise from it. The patent further extends the protection of the lead product candidate from the platform, ONCOS-102, following the grant of a US patent for ONCOS-102 in May this year, both of which expire in 2029. The US and Europe are expected to be the largest markets for immuno-oncology products, the most rapidly growing segment for the development of innovative cancer treatments.”

The main characteristics of ONCOS-102 include:

  • The adenovirus knob 5 domain is replaced by a protein from a different adenovirus (serotype 3) to facilitate the specific entrance of ONCOS-102 into tumor cells
  • One of the genes affecting virus replication in the host cells is inactivated (D24 deletion). As a result, the virus cannot replicate in normal cells, but can do so in tumor cells
  • A gene coding for GM-CSF, a drug stimulating the immune response, inserted into the virus genome and expressed during the virus replication in the tumor cells

 

 

About Targovax

Arming the patient’s immune system to fight cancer

Targovax (OSE: TRVX) is a clinical stage company focused on developing novel immuno-oncology therapies to target, primarily, treatment-resistant solid tumors. The Company’s pipeline is created from two novel proprietary platforms, with three therapeutic candidates in clinical development covering six indications including melanoma, mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and resected pancreatic cancer. Targovax’s strategy is to bring products to market directly in those indications where it already has Orphan drug status and to partner with pharmaceutical companies in larger disease areas with significant commercial potential.

Size Matters: Need for Nordic Collaboration in Oncology Now

By Elisabeth Kirkeng Andersen, Communication Consultant Oslo Cancer Cluster
& Ketil Widerberg, General Manager Oslo Cancer Cluster

 

The biopharmaceutical industry is at a frenzy to develop innovative drugs for cancer. No wonder, when the market size is estimated to over 800 BNOK in 2020, the population world-wide is getting older and the incidence and prevalence of cancer is increasing. Hence – the need for better treatments is increasing exponentially. Both within immunotherapies and precision medicine there is a global race to develop the next generation treatments.

Nordic countries have a lot to contribute to here: Excellent research, very good public healthcare systems, national registries. To make most out of this they should team up and position the Nordics as a strong player contributing to the global value chain from bench to bedside. The Nordics should unite and act as a one-stop shop for clinical trials within oncology and work with the global companies to set up Nordic collaborations through the value chain from bench to bedside.

Cancer is a global burden. Every year 14 million people are diagnosed with cancer and 8,2 million people die of the disease each year. WHO expect a 70 % increase in diagnosis in the next decade. With rich, stable societies and the happiest and well-educated inhabitants the Nordics have a moral and ethical duty to contribute to solve the Worlds toughest challenges like disease and climate change.

The countries individually, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark are way too small to get attention alone. We are not seen as interesting markets due to small population sizes. But if we team up it is different. Size matters in the war on cancer.

The Nordic countries have some unique features for oncology R&D, and the potential to be a global test bed for novel treatment. Factors we take for granted are unique features globally; great health registries, extensive bio banks, homogenous populations, trust in research, good and public health care systems and unique personal number each of us have from birth to death. The Nordic population may serve both as a predictor for novel biomarkers and diagnostic tests, and later as a real life verification for the effect of new treatments.

The need and benefits of Nordic collaboration within the oncology area is not a new idea. Several voices have raised this issue at numerous occasions. So far nothing more than words and political celebration speeches have come out of this. We have some initiatives going, like Nordic Life Science Days, collaborations between Oslo Cancer Cluster and the Medicon Valley Region and NordicNECT – but now is the time to step up on this. With the digital oncology revolution things will move fast. The Nordic countries need to get a much needed collaboration going. We are ready – let us move now.

Nordic Nanovector: Results from preclinical studies of Betalutin® in combination with rituximab in non-Hodgkin lymphoma model to be presented at ASH

Nordic Nanovector ASA (OSE: NANO) announces that a poster describing the therapeutic effect of combined treatment with Betalutin® (177Lu-satetraxetan-lilotomab) and rituximab in a preclinical model of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) (abstract 4189) will be presented at the 58th Annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) meeting (3-6 December 2016 in San Diego, CA, USA). These studies build on previously presented data showing that treatment with Betalutin® increased binding of rituximab to NHL cells and uptake of rituximab in NHL tumours. The combination treatment resulted in 90-100 % survival for 150 days after treatment, while each treatment alone gave from 10 to 40 % survival.

The ASH annual meeting is the premier event for scientific exchange in the field of hematology, attracting more than 20,000 attendees from all over the world. Typically, more than 5,000 scientific abstracts are submitted each year, and more than 3,000 abstracts are accepted for oral and poster presentations through an extensive peer review process.

Poster details

Abstract 4189
Abstract title: Combination of 177lutetium-Satetraxetan-Lilotomab and Rituximab Results in Improved Therapeutic Effect in Preclinical Models of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Authors: Repetto-Llamazares, AHV et al.
Session Name: 625. Lymphoma: Pre-Clinical – Chemotherapy and Biologic Agents: Poster III
Date/Time: Monday, 5 December 2016, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM (PST)
Location: San Diego Convention Center, Hall GH
Link to abstract see here.

PERMIDES European Workshop @ 06th December 2016

PERMIDES EU Workshop in Oslo @ 06th December 2016 (12:00 -16:30 hrs)

The workshop starts with an introduction to PERMIDES, the innovation challenges to be addressed with this project and short presentations to inspire the subsequent workshop part.

Why join? You can benefit from innovation vouchers of up to EUR 60.000 to develop and implement novel IT based solutions for biopharmaceutical R&D challenges. By sharing your IT related needs and discussing potential solutions with potential partners you ensure that the innovation calls match your needs.

Questions? Connect to Gupta Udatha (gupta.udatha@oslocancercluster.no; 45534627) or Jutta Heix (jh@oslocancercluster.no; 94163089).

register

PERMIDES is a perfect opportunity for start-ups and SMEs that are involved in biopharma value chain, IT sector and emerging personalized medicine industries to team up with complementary partners and opt for the rich portfolio of services & direct funding PERMIDES provides.

How can you as a SME benefit from PERMIDES?

SMEs from the biopharmaceutical sector get access to relevant partners from the IT sector. The IT companies can develop and implement tailored digital solutions to improve business and product development processes. The costs incurred for this purpose by the IT partner will be covered by means of consulting, prototyping and customised solution vouchers totalling up to EUR 60,000. The biopharmaceutical company may also benefit from new products and applications developed by the IT company within the framework of the joint project.

SMEs from the IT sector get access to partners and new customers from the biopharmaceutical sector to apply and adapt their solutions to SMEs developing novel personalized medicine products. Innovation vouchers will cover their expenses, and the knowledge gained during these projects may create new products and business opportunities.

PCI Biotech with share issue in November

Oslo Cancer Cluster member PCI Biotech has initiated a process with the objective to carry out a share issue in the range of NOK 40-50 million by the end of November 2016. Two of the largest shareholders have pledged that they will at least follow up their pro-rata in the share issue. Fondsfinans is retained as advisors in this process.

 

The promising results from the Phase I part of the Phase I/II study of fimaChem in bile duct cancer and the recently granted orphan designation in EU have provided the Company with new exciting opportunities.  The Company has initiated processes to assess whether a well-designed pivotal Phase II study may provide market authorisation, which would significantly shorten the time to market for this orphan indication.

The proceeds from the contemplated share issue will allow the Company to complete regulatory interactions with European and US authorities, to determine the fastest way to market. The Phase I results have also furnished increased external interest, which will be assessed in relation to various financing and partnering alternatives for further development.

Establishing fimaVacc as a clinical asset in immunotherapy is a major milestone towards commercialisation and the proceeds will also be used to fund completion of the Phase I study. The initiated Phase I study in healthy volunteers is designed to show enhancement of the cellular immune responses important for therapeutic effect of vaccines, with expected read-out of results in the first half of 2017.

The strategy for the fimaNAc programme will continue to be an opportunistic approach, pursuing out-licensing opportunities.

 

About PCI Biotech
PCI Biotech is a biopharmaceutical company focusing on development and commercialisation of novel therapies for the treatment of cancer through its innovative photochemical internalisation (PCI) technology platform.  PCI is applied to three distinct anticancer paradigms: fimaChem (enhancement of chemotherapeutics for localised treatment of cancer), fimaVacc (T-cell induction technology for therapeutic vaccination), and fimaNAc (nucleic acid therapeutics delivery).

Photochemical internalisation induces triggered endosomal release that is used to unlock the true potential of a wide array of therapeutic modalities. The company’s lead fimaChem programme consists of a Phase I/II clinical study in bile duct cancer, an orphan indication with a high unmet need and without approved products. fimaVacc applies a unique mode of action to enhance the essential cytotoxic effect of therapeutic cancer vaccines, which works in synergy with several other state-of-the-art vaccination technologies. fimaNAc utilises the endosomal release to provide intracellular delivery of nucleic acids, such as mRNA and siRNA therapeutics, thereby addressing one of the major bottlenecks facing this emerging and promising field.

For more information visit: www.pcibiotech.com

 

Two new members i Oslo Cancer Cluster: NorGeno Tech & DNVGL

NorGeno Tech & DNVGL are now members of the Oslo Cancer Cluster. Please find more information on the new members below. 

About NorGeno Tech

NorGenoTech AS s a start-up company arose from the success of the EU FP6 project ‘COMICS’ in making improved high throughput methods for analysis of DNA damage and repair with the comet assay. Our main business is innovative products development, genotoxicity testing, expertise and consultancy.
We aim at becoming a leading comet technology player in Europe, carrying out laboratory services and providing modern equipment for high throughput diagnostic use and screening of chemicals, nutrients and drugs.
The founders of the company Gunnar Brunborg, Andrew Collins and Sergey Shaposhnikov are leading researchers in the field responsible for numerous innovations. Chris Brøvig is a business generalist involved in commercialisation of our inventions

ACTIVITIES WITHIN THE ONCOLOGY FIELD:
1. Genotoxicity testing of novel chemicals and drugs
2. Developing diagnostic tools for measuring DNA integrity in patients at the level of individual cells.

 

For more information see here.

About DNVGL

Driven by its purpose of safeguarding life, property and the environment, DNV GL enables organizations to advance the safety and sustainability of their business. We help businesses assure the performance of their organizations, products, people, facilities and supply chains through certification, accreditation, verification, assessment, and training services. Partnering with our customers, we build sustainable business performance and create stakeholder trust across all types of industries. Operating in more than 100 countries, our 14,000 professionals are dedicated to helping our customers make the world safer, smarter and greener.

We support healthcare organizations across the globe to apply a systems thinking to address risks and deliver high-quality, person centered care. Through our research programmes we are working to identify transformational changes needed in order to make healthcare safer and more sustainable. As a trusted partner, we work with healthcare providers, national and regional health authorities and key stakeholders around the world to improve healthcare quality and facilitate the provision of patient-centered, safe care. Building on more than 150 years of expertise in working with high risk industries to make them safer.

Building on our strong presence and recognition in Food & Beverage and Healthcare, we are expanding our scope and service offerings as a global assurance provider in the Life Sciences domain. More specifically to help organizations preserve health and provide food – two of the most fundamental human needs.

The world population is growing and life expectancy is increasing. Combined, this will put significant pressure on our food supply and healthcare systems. One response to this is the rapid advancement in supporting technologies and the harnessing of big data. But there are challenges related to quality, safety and integrity that must to be addressed. The involvement of independent assurance providers will be increasingly important.

 

For more information see here.

Kom med innspill til Helsedatautvalget

Ekspertutvalget for helsedata ønsker innspill fra Oslo Cancer Cluster sine medlemmer om hvordan man kan utnytte opplysninger i sentrale helseregistre, kvalitetsregistre, befolkningsbaserte helseundersøkelser og biobanker på en bedre måte.

Vi ønsker innspill til konkrete organisatoriske, tekniske og juridiske tiltak for å forbedre dagens system for tilgang til helsedata. Dette gjelder både til forskning og til tjenester/innovasjon.

Send dine innspill innen 15.11 til:

Les mer om ekspertutvalget her:

Nordic Nanovector and Heidelberg Pharma with new collaboration

Nordic Nanovector ASA (OSE: NANO), announces it has entered into a collaboration with Heidelberg Pharma GmbH, a subsidiary of biopharmaceutical company WILEX AG (FSE: WL6) specializing in the development of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), to develop novel ADCs for treating leukaemias. Leukaemias are orphan diseases with a significant unmet medical need, applicable indications representing a growing market worth over USD 5 billion by 2020.

This collaboration is part of Nordic Nanovector’s strategy to develop its pipeline of targeted therapies to include antibody products conjugated to anti-cancer compounds that are not radionuclides. Such conjugates are commonly referred to as ADCs.

Jostein Dahle, Nordic Nanovector’s Chief Scientific Officer, commented -We are pleased to further expand our R&D activities into the ADC area with Heidelberg Pharma in this second strategic collaboration, following closely the collaboration announced recently with LegoChem. During the past year, we have made important steps to execute our strategy designed to build a pipeline of innovative antibody-radionuclide conjugates (ARCs) and ADCs that combine our expertise and platform with complementary technologies from expert partners. This strategy is aimed at creating multiple new targeted treatment options for patients who suffer a range of leukaemias and lymphomas.

Professor Dr Andreas Pahl, Head of Research & Development and member of the Management Board of WILEX and Heidelberg Pharma, commented -This project extends our portfolio of ADCs to further haematological cancers. Nordic Nanovector has an established chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) process for their antibody which will speed up processes and reduce the development costs of an ADC.

Career Day RealKarriere at UiO in February 2017

RealKarriere is the Career Day for the The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at University in Oslo. In 2017 the Career day will be arranged on February 9th 2017. Find more information below in Norwegian or reach out to Oda Felix Sønslien  for more info or info in English.

 

RealKarriere er en nettverksdag for det Matematisk-Naturvitenskapelige fakultet ved Universitet i Oslo. Målet med dagen er å øke kontakten mellom arbeidslivet og fremtidens talenter innen teknologi- og realfag.

Bak denne dagen sitter en arbeidsgruppe bestående av studenter innen ulike fagområder og ansatte ved Universitetet. Målgruppa er hele det Matematisk-Naturvitenskapelige fakultet som består av studieprogram som dekker det meste av teknologi-og realfag. Dette er altså en flott mulighet for profilering av dere som bedrift, og til å plukke opp de dyktigste studentene! For mer informasjon se nettsiden.

 

Profileringsmuligheter

  • 2 minutters presentasjon for studentene på start av dagen (GRATIS)
  • Temapresentasjon på 20 minutter (5000,-)
  • Speed-intervju (3000,-)
  • Stor stand, 3 meter (10.000,-)
  • Liten stand, 2 meter (6000,-)
  • Snapchat og instagram “take over” (1000,-)

Prisene er eksl. Moms og inkluderer matservering samt eget pauserom for bedriftene.

Alle bedrifter som melder seg på vil få tilbud om en 2 minutters presentasjon på starten av dagen, dette vil hjelpe dere å hente relevante studenter til deres stand. Vi tilbyr også større presentasjoner på 20 minutter; her vil dere kunne velge et tema som vi vil profilere ekstra på sosiale medier opp i mot dagen.

Dere kan velge å ta over vår Snapchat og Instagram konto for en dag, der dere for eksempel kan vise frem en arbeidsdag hos deres bedrift.

Dere kan også velge å kjøre et speed-intervju, hvor dere selv plukker ut kandidatene dere ønsker å intervjue.

Påmeldingsskjema finner dere.
Kontakt:
Oda Felix Sønslien // E-mail: odafs1993@gmail.com //Mobile: 90109590

Ny rapport: Kreftkostnader i Norge

Kreftkostnader i Norge: Hvor ligger de største kostnadene? Hvilken kreftform er dyrest? Oslo Economics har utarbeidet en rapport om kostnadene ved kreft.

Kreft er på vei forbi hjerte- og karsykdom som den vanligste dødsårsaken i industrialiserte land. Samtidig lever stadig flere med en kreftsykdom. Oslo Economics har utarbeidet en analyse basert på registerdata, og ved hjelp av en referansegruppe med fremtredende krefteksperter og representanter fra Kreftregisteret, Oslo Cancer Cluster og Kreftforeningen, gjort et forsøk på å fylle kunnskapshullet.

Bristol-Myers Squibb har finansiert arbeidet, men har ikke vært involvert i design, analyser eller rapportering.

Help define gene panel

The Norwegian Research Council-financed project NCGC are joining forces with Norwegian Cancer Registry to establish a research platform for tumor-profiling in recruiting patients for clinical trials.

The objective is to make Norway an even more attractive location for the industry and to meet the industries specific needs. The first step in this work is to define a gene panel. In this connection the project team wants to get in contact with Oslo Cancer Cluster members who can give feedback on what targets should be included.

For more information, please contact:

More about NCGC here: cancergenomics.no 

New NRC grant: 45 MNOK to value creation in health care industry

The Research Council is planning to announce up to NOK 45 million in funding for projects that promote value creation in the healthcare industry. The call for proposals targets consortia comprised of companies and cooperating R&D groups and concerns new production technology within diverse areas such as pharmaceutical industry, diagnostics or medical technology.

Read the news story here (in Norwegian only).

The call is organised in two phases, where applicants first apply for funds to support mandatory feasibility studies. These are amongst other things intended to stimulate cooperation between parties with common needs.  The application deadline for feasibility studies is 23. November 2016. Find the call “NOK 5 million for feasibility studies of projects targeting production technology for the healthcare industry” here.

The Research Council is organising an applicant’s workshop on 24. October from 10:00-13:00, register here.

Nordic Nanovector and LegoChem Biosciences enter collaboration to develop novel antibody-drug conjugates

Nordic Nanovector ASA (OSE: NANO), is pleased to announce it has entered into a collaboration with LegoChem Biosciences, Inc. (“LegoChem”; KOSDAQ: 141080), a South Korea-based biopharmaceutical company, to develop novel CD37-targeting antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) for the treatment of leukaemias.

Leukemias are orphan diseases with a significant unmet medical need, representing a growing market estimated to be worth over USD 5 billion by 2024. This collaboration supports Nordic Nanovector’s strategy to expand its pipeline of targeted therapies to include CD37-targeting antibody products conjugated to anti-cancer compounds that are not radionuclides. Such conjugates are commonly referred to as antibody-drug conjugates or ADCs.

Jostein Dahle, Nordic Nanovector’s Chief Scientific Officer, commented -We are delighted to expand our R&D activities into the ADC area, a strategic and natural progression for us given our expertise in antibodies and the prevalence of the CD37 antigen on many tumour cell types. We believe that anti-CD37 ADCs will have clinical characteristics that are beneficial for treating a range of haematological malignancies. Our strategy to build a pipeline of innovative antibody-radionuclide conjugates (ARCs) and ADCs based on our expertise and platform, and in collaboration with expert partners such as LegoChem, is aimed at creating multiple new product opportunities bringing new targeted treatments to patients.

-We are very excited to enter into this collaboration agreement to develop CD37-targeting ADCs with Nordic Nanovector, which has expertise with anti-CD37 antibodies and experience of advancing candidates into clinical research, said Jeiwook Chae, Chief Business Development Officer of LegoChem. -We strongly believe that our proprietary conjugation platform addresses significant unmet needs of current ADC technologies. With Nordic Nanovector’s deep expertise in antibodies and commitment to develop novel therapeutics, we are confident that we will further enrich the pipeline of next-generation ADCs and achieve our goals of advancing the landscape of cancer treatment and providing new clinical options for cancer patients.

DNB Health Care Prize and Nordic Health Care Conference

December 15th is the date for the annual DNB HealthCare Conference. Be sure to apply for both the Health Care prize and to be a part of the Venture Session. You should find all information needed below.

Deadline for applying for the DNB Health Care Prize  and for pitching at the Venture Session is October 26th.

Great interest in R&D Precision Cancer Medicine meeting

Over 50 people turned up for our R&D Network meeting on Precision Cancer Medicin at Stavanger University Hospital yesterday. The meeting was a collaboration beetween Oslo Cancer Cluster and Stavanger University Hospital(SUS) and was hosted by SUS.

The speaker list included Jon Arne Søreide from the Gastrointestinal Surgical Research Group, Bjørnar Gilje from the Reseach Group for Oncology and Medical Physics and Emiel Janssen from the research group at the Department of Pathology.

We were also fortunate to have Åslaug Helland from Oslo University Hospital (OUS) with us to give us some clinical perspectives. Helland is the group leader for the Research Group for Translation Studies on Solid Tumours. More info on Hellands group here

Representing the biotech side, we had Kjetil Hestdal from PhotoCure showing examples of the opportunities photodynamic technology give patients with bladder cancer.

Aslaug Aamodt Muggerud from MSD talked about biomarkers and how precision medicine is different from “traditional treatment”.

Great collaboration between IBM:Watson and Oslo Cancer Cluster

Since IBM became a member of Oslo Cancer Cluster in June this year, there has been a tremendous interest in their software Watson who is about to learn Norwegian from students at Ullern High School.

The role of cognitive technology in cancer diagnostics has received attention both in national and international media. You can find some of the news stories on Watsons role in the fight against cancer below:

Repeat use of Blue Light Cystoscopy with Hexvix®/Cysview® shows excellent tolerability

Oslo, Norway, September 28th, 2016: Photocure ASA announced today that a study published on-line in the peer reviewed Journal of Urology, shows that there is no significant statistical difference in the frequency or grade of adverse events in patients having one Blue Light Cystoscopy with Cysview® (BLCC) versus repeat BLCC procedures. Here is a link to the abstract.

 

This retrospective review of 180 patients who underwent 269 BLCC procedures at two institutions in the United States compared the incidence and grade of Adverse Events (AE), after initial and subsequent BLCC procedures.  35% of the patients underwent BLCC more than once, including 2 patients who underwent BLCC five times.

-We found no statistically significant difference in AEs between those patients undergoing 1st versus two or more repeat procedures.  None of the AEs were classified as probably or definitely related to BLC with Cysview.  These results, along with the excellent clinical efficacy seen with BLC with Cysview, give those who manage Bladder Cancer patient’s further reassurance in using BLCC repeatedly, said Dr. Badrinath Konety, Professor and Chair Dept of Urology, University of Minnesota, Associate Director for Clinical Affairs Masonic Cancer Center.

– It is very encouraging to see more data being generated from the use of BLC with Cysview in the U.S. These data are supportive of the current clinical practice in Europe, and demonstrate that using BLC with Cysview repeatedly in the same patient has no safety concerns”, commented Kjetil Hestdal, M.D., Ph.D., President and CEO, Photocure ASA.

 

About Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in men with more than 330 000 new cases annually and more than 130 000 die of the disease1. It has a high recurrence rate with an average of 61% in one year and 78% over five years, making the lifetime costs of managing bladder cancer one of the highest amongst all cancers. It is a costly, potentially progressive disease for which patients have to undergo multiple cystoscopies because of the high risk of recurrence. A recent paper on the economic burden of bladder cancer across the European Union estimates that bladder cancer cost the EU 4.9 billion Euro in 20122. There is an urgent need to improve both the diagnosis and the management of bladder cancer for the benefit of patients and healthcare systems alike.

Bladder cancer is classified into two types, non-muscle invasive bladder cancer (NMIBC) and muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC), depending on the depth of invasion in the bladder wall. NMIBC is still in the inner layer of cells. These cancers are the most common (75%) of all bladder cancer cases and include the subtypes Ta, carcinoma in situ (CIS) and T1 lesions. MIBC is when the cancer has grown into deeper layers of the bladder wall. These cancers, including subtypes T2, T3 and T4, are more likely to spread and are harder to treat.

 

About Hexvix®/Cysview®

Hexvix®/Cysview® (hexaminolevulinate hydro-chloride) is an optical imaging agent in the diagnosis and management of non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer. It is designed to selectively target malignant cells in the bladder and induce fluorescence during a cystoscopic procedure using a blue light enabled cystoscope. Using Hexvix®/Cysview® as an adjunct to standard white light cystoscopy enables the urologist to better detect and remove lesions, leading to a reduced risk of recurrence.

Hexvix® is the tradename in Europe, Cysview® in U.S. and Canada. Hexvix® is marketed and sold by Photocure in the Nordic countries and in the US with the trade name Cysview®. Photocure has a strategic partnership with Ipsen for the commercialization of Hexvix in Europe, excluding the Nordic region.  Please refer to https://www.photocure.com/Partnering-with-Photocure/Our-partners for further information on our commercial partners.

International press event created attention all over Europe

Early September Oslo Cancer Cluster hosted an international press event with our member Abbvie. Over 20 journalists from all over Europe came to the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator and Innovatiion Park to learn more about the latest technological and scientific developments within cancer research.

 

The journalists attended a full day meeting at the Innovation Park which included a lab session with Ullern High School students and researchers at the Cell Therapy Lab, whom showed them how cells are programmed to kill cancer cells. Gunnar Sæter, Head of the Cancer Institute, introduced the journalists to the topic of precision medicine in oncology with Oslo Cancer Cluster members SAS and IBM demonstrating the latest developments within data collection and analysis. Giske Ursin, Director of  Cancer Registry Norway, explained how the unique health data we have in Norway provides a large unused potential within oncology.

 

The journalist also got to meet Deborah Simms, journalist and cancer survivor and her doctor, John Gribben from the Barts Cancer Institute. They explained the role of collaboration in the diagnostics and treatment of patients with unmet need.

 

You can see the invitation video for the event here:

See the video from the event made by students at Ullern High School here:

More about Deborah Simms and her patient journey here:

News stories related to the event:

Successful Nordic Life Science Days 2016

The Nordic Life Science Days 2016 was a great success at many levels. For the first time the Norwegian life science actors invited to a joint meeting to promote a closer collaboration with the Swedish life science milieu at an even t at the Norwegian Embassy in Stockholm. Oslo Cancer Cluster was co-hosting the Nordic Life Science conference this year, and we hosted three super-sessions on oncology which set the scene for the future of oncology treatment.

 

Below you may find a summary of the coverage of our joint activities with UIO:Life Science and LMI at the Nordic Life Science Days, only in Norwegian. We will also like to stress our gratitude towards both Ambassador Kai Eide and his staff at the Noorwegian Embassy in Stockholm and Director for Innovation Anne Kjertsi Fahlvik at the Norwegian Research Council for sponsoring and great collaboration.

 

Kronikk i Dagens medisin 13. september: Livsvitenskap stort potensial for verdiskaping

Med et nordisk samarbeid for klinisk utprøving kan vi stå sterkere i konkurransen om å tiltrekke oss aktører som vil gjennomføre kliniske studier. Dette kan gi nordiske pasienter tilgang til innovativ behandling.

#noswelife

Aktivitet på Twitter fra nettverkskvelden kan på ses på hashtagen #noswelife

https://twitter.com/search?q=%23noswelife&src=typd

Standbesøk

Fra ambassadørens besøk på standen sammen med medsponsor Forskningsrådet
https://twitter.com/forskningsradet/status/776023988204101633

Omtaler på lmi.no

Nordic Life Science Days er i gang i Stockholm

LMI står på stand med flere andre aktører for å promotere Norge og norsk livsvitenskap.
http://www.lmi.no/aktuelt-fra-lmi/2016/09/nordic-life-science-days-er-i-gang-i-stockholm

Trenger Norge en egen koordinator for livsvitenskap?

Det var et av temaene da ambassaden inviterte til nettverkskveld i går.

http://www.lmi.no/aktuelt-fra-lmi/2016/09/trenger-norge-en-egen-koordinator-for-livsvitenskap

Omtaler på uio.no/livsvitenskap

Norsk-svensk nettverkskveld og Nordic Life Science Days

http://www.uio.no/forskning/satsinger/livsvitenskap/aktuelt/aktuelle-saker/2016/norsk-svensk-nettverkskveld-og-nordic-life-science.html

Også sendt med nyhetsbrev til over 1000 abonnenter

http://www.uio.no/forskning/satsinger/livsvitenskap/aktuelt/nyhetsbrev/2016/september.html

Omtaler på norge.se

Vellykket norsk-svensk dialog-kveld om Life Science samarbeid. Norsk-svensk «Helseinnovatørskole» lansert. http://www.norge.se/News_and_events/Nyheter-om-politikk-og-okonomi/Vellykket-norsk-svensk-dialog-kveld-om-Life-Science-samarbeid-Norsk-svensk-Helseinnovatorskole-lansert-/#.V-kZnfmLRaQ

Nordic Life Science Days og norsk-svensk nettverkskveld

  1. og 15. september arrangeres Nordic Life Science Days i Stockholm, Nordens største konferanse for den globale livsvitenskapsindustrien. I tilknytning til konferansen arrangerer Norges ambassade en svensk-norsk dialog og nettverkskveld.

http://www.uio.no/forskning/satsinger/livsvitenskap/aktuelt/nyhetsbrev/2016/september.html

 

New BGB324 study points to novel mechanism to enhance immunotherapy efficacy

Bergen, Norway, September 25, 2016 – Leading oncology biopharmaceutical company BerGenBio AS, today released important new preclinical study data on its first-in-class AXL inhibitor, BGB324. The study showed AXL to be a key factor in tumour resistance to the emerging class of new immune checkpoint inhibitors that can be targeted through combination therapy with BGB324. The study data was presented in a poster today at CRI-CIMT-EATI-AACR – The 2nd International Cancer Immunotherapy Conference, in New York.

 

The new study evaluated whether BGB324 used in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors (anti-CTLA-4 and anti-PD-1) in mouse carcinoma models enhanced the effect of immune checkpoint blockade in aggressive adenocarcinomas displaying limited immunogenicity. BGB324 is a highly selective small molecule inhibitor of the AXL receptor tyrosine kinase. An important regulator of the tumour cell plasticity related to EMT (Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition), AXL signalling is also a key suppressor of the innate anti-tumour immune response. Thus Axl contributes uniquely to both tumour intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms that suppress anti-tumour immunity. The new study shows that AXL was induced in tumours by immune checkpoint inhibitor treatment and postulated that this could limit their efficacy.

 

The poster was entitled “BGB324, a selective small molecule inhibitor of AXL receptor tyrosine kinase, enhances immune checkpoint inhibitor efficacy”, and presented in Poster Session B on September 26. In the study, immune therapy with anti-PD-1/anti-PD-L1 or anti-CTLA-4/anti-PD-1 increased AXL and EMT-marker expression in the murine lung cancer (Lewis lung, LL2) and mammary adenocarcinoma (4T1) syngeneic models, and correlated with a lack of response to immune checkpoint therapy. However, combination treatment with BGB324 significantly enhanced durable responsiveness to anti-PD-1/anti-PD-L1 or anti-CTLA-4/anti-PD-1 treatment  in mice bearing established LL2 or 4T1 tumors. BGB324 in combination with anti-PD1/PDL1 increases the number of tumor infiltrating cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, natural killer (NK) and NKT cells and decreases levels of myeloid derived suppressor cells (mMDSCs) in the Lewis Lung cancer model.

 

Studies with human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) indicated that BGB324 blocks a critical protective mechanism used by cancer cells to avoid destruction by effector immune cells. Targeting this mechanism resulted in a highly immunogenic cell death and increased cytotoxicity by human NK cells. Further, BGB324 blocked tumour suppressive (M2) polarization of primary human macrophages in vitro.  BGB324 treatment in combination with PD-1 pathway inhibition reduced mouse lung tumor expression of the key macrophage stimulating cytokine CSF-1, emphasizing how Axl targeting abrogates anti-tumour immune suppressive macrophage action.

 

BGB324 is the only selective AXL inhibitor currently in clinical development. Phase Ib clinical trials are underway as single agent and in combination with standard of care drug (cytarabine) in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), and in combination with erlotinib in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Richard Godfrey, Chief Executive Officer of BerGenBio, commented -We believe this strong new preclinical data clearly demonstrates the rationale for combining BGB324 with immune checkpoint inhibitors to treat aggressive cancers. This study shows that these inhibitors actually increase AXL expression that supports immune evasion.  Treatment with BGB2324 counters this, increasing tumor immunogenicity and promoting the anti-tumour response. In addition to the ongoing development of BGB324 in AML and NSCLC, this data suggests that BGB324 could also be used in combination with cancer immunotherapeutic agents to enhance their efficiency.

 

 

About BGB324

BGB324 is a first-in-class, highly selective small molecule inhibitor of the Axl receptor tyrosine kinase. It blocks the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which is a key driver in immune evasion, drug-resistance and metastasis.

About BerGenBio AS

BerGenBio AS is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing first-in-class drugs for aggressive cancers. The company is a world leader in understanding the biology of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a widely recognised key pathway in immune evasion, acquired cancer drug-resistance and metastasis. BerGenBio AS is founded on proprietary platform technology, CellSelect™, to identify and validate novel drug targets and biomarkers. The company has progressed its lead drug candidate BGB324, an EMT inhibitor, into clinical trials in AML and NSCLC, while pursuing the pre-clinical development of additional compounds and proprietary EMT drug targets.

For more information see here.