Inven2 with broad immuno-oncology portfolio

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Inven2 is the largest technology transfer company in the Nordic region and a leading actor within Life Science. Oslo University Hospital and the University of Oslo are pioneers in several areas of immunology and cell based cancer therapies. Due to this, Inven2 has a broad portfolio within immuno-oncology to offer.

Immuno-oncology is one of the hottest topics globally at the time. Cancer immunotherapy, as this field is also called, was voted the “Science breakthrough of the year for 2013″ and qualified as “one of the world’s top disrupters” by Goldman Sachs in 2013. Cancer immunotherapy was also the “hot-topic” at the 2014 American Association for Cancer (AACR) meeting where the various current approaches and strategies being advanced today were well represented.


Portfolio of both immuno-oncology therapies and methods

Ongoing innovation projects within immuno-oncology at Oslo University Hopsital and the University of Oslo counts 6 therapies and 8 different technologies/methods being explored. Please see a full list below:

Immune-Oncology-2015_01-print

 

If you want to know more about these projects, please contact Jonny Østensen, Vice President Technology: jonny.ostensen@inven2.com / +47 911 922 36

BerGen Bio, Nexstim and AMRA receive Nordic Stars 2015 Awards

BerGen Bio, AMRA and Nexstim have been announced as the recipients of the Nordic Stars 2015 Awards. The awards were presented at the conclusion of the Nordic Life Science Days in Stockholm, which again set a new record for attendance, with over 1000 delegates from 31 countries, establishing itself as the premier Nordic life sciences event.

Nordic Stars Awards were introduced in 2013 in special recognition of life science companies in the Nordic region demonstrating outstanding innovation and entrepreneurial skills.

“This year’s winner of the Nordic Stars Awards are clearly future-­‐oriented and committed to working in new ways to bring medical innovations to patients. They are both role models for others and an example of the innovation capacity in the life sciences in the Nordic countries “, says Jonas Ekstrand, Director General SwedenBIO.

This year’s winners are:

BerGen Bio
Norwegian BerGenBio’s commitment to develop companion diagnostics and first-­‐in-­‐ class drugs targeting the cellular processes that make cancer cells immune-­‐evasive, drug resistant and metastatic is a great example of what the future might hold. With focus on ground-­‐breaking therapies and precision medicine BerGenBio is a leading example and   a Nordic Star. www.bergenbio.com

Nexstim
Norwegian NexStim’s development and commercialization of a non-­‐invasive technology to monitor and modulate brain function provides a good example of how an innovative combination of new and established treatment modalities could add significant value to patients. NextStims strategic management shows how to step by step bring an innovation to the market. www.nexstim.com

Amra
Swedish AMRA’s exciting technology that transforms MRI images into body composition measurements provides a solid basis for precision medicine approaches in the area of metabolic diseases. With innovative collaborations, AMRA shows how the combination of technology and cutting edge management brings new knowledge to the world. www.amra.se

 

Ekstrand also reflected on a highly successful two days: “NLSDays has continued to grow and established a strong reputation. We are particularly pleased to see the high level of international interest, which is a recognition of the thriving entrepreneurial life sciences environment here and we look forward to continuing to develop and expand NLSDays over the coming years. ”

The theme of the conference “The New Value Chain and the Future” was also well received, as was the focus on three trends -­‐ Digitalization, Precision and Preventive Medicine and Breakthrough Therapies. These are described in a brief report co-­‐written by SwedenBIO and Arthur D. Little that also outlines key factors for success for companies in these areas in the future.

 

Nordic Life Science Days 2016 will be held September 13-­‐15 in Stockholm.

Nordic Life Science Days 2015 in brief:

  • Registered Delegates: 1026
  • Registered Companies: 680
  • Countries Represented: 31 Partnering Meeting Requests: 9514 Partnering Meetings Scheduled: 1957 Licensing Opportunities: 541

NLSDays was founded in 2012 and has grown rapidly to become the largest Nordic partnering conference for the global life science industry. Among the investors and big pharma attending NLSDays 2015 were AbbVie, Alexion, Almi Invest, Astellas, AstraZeneca, Bayer HealthCare, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-­‐Myers Squibb, Cadila Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, HealthCap, Industrifonden, Karolinska Development, Merck-­‐MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, Pierre Fabre, P.U.LS. AB, Recipharm, Roche, Seventure Partners  and SR-­‐One.

In addition to partnering, NLSDays also offers an exhibition and a seminar program. Speakers include senior representatives from the global life science companies, investors, and academic leaders who will all share their expertise and views for the future.

 

 

 

 

PCI Biotech signs research collaboration with top-10 large pharma company

Oslo Cancer Cluster member PCI Biotech has signed an agreement with an undisclosed top-10 large pharma company, with the aim to evaluate synergistic effects of the PCI technology with their therapeutic nucleic acid technology. Initially, the purpose of the pre-clinical research program is to determine whether PCI has the potential to enhance the therapeutic effect of their nucleic acid technology platform.

The current pre-clinical research agreement covers evaluation of technology compatibility and synergy based on in vitro studies. The costs related to the research collaboration will be covered by the pharma company, which is one of the global leaders in nucleic acid therapeutics. The companies will evaluate the data generated in this research collaboration and based on this explore the potential for a further partnership. The original evaluation period spans over 9 months, but may be further extended.

“I’m delighted to announce this research agreement with one of the largest pharma companies in the world. We believe that the PCI technology has the potential to play a role in the realisation of several new therapeutic modalities, including cancer immunotherapy and mRNA therapeutics. This agreement shows that external players share this view”. Per Walday, CEO.

 

About PCI Biotech
PCI Biotech is a cancer focused biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Norway and listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (Axess). The company is developing therapeutic products based on its proprietary photochemical internalization (PCI) technology. Originating from world leading research at the Norwegian Radium Hospital, the PCI technology works by inducing triggered endosomal release and may be used to unlock the true potential of a wide array of therapeutic modalities, such as small molecules, vaccines and nucleic acids.

The company currently has a bile duct cancer program in phase I/II clinical development. Bile duct cancer is an orphan indication without any approved medicinal products and a high medical need for better local treatments. It is an indication well suited for PCI treatment, with easy light access for intraluminal surface illumination through routine endoscopic methods and an active generic drug (gemcitabine) significantly enhanced by PCI.

The company is also developing PCI as a CTL (Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte) induction technology for therapeutic and prophylactic vaccination. It has been demonstrated both in vivo and ex vivo that PCI significantly increases the number of activated antigen-specific CTLs by enhancing the MHC I antigen presentation of antigen presenting cells. When applied in the emerging field of cancer immunotherapy, PCI can be used to enhance the important cytotoxic effect of therapeutic cancer vaccines.

PCI Biotech follows a strategy to create value by improving the effect both of existing cancer drugs and by realizing the large potential in new therapeutics, including therapeutic vaccines.

For more information visit: www.pcibiotech.com

Fantastic opening of the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park

Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park´s grand opening on August 24th became a very special day: More than 290 invited guests celebrated the initiators Jónas Einarsson and Kaare Norum for turning the radical idea of an oncology innovation park integrating a high school into reality.

 

In his speech, Jónas Einarsson told the intriguing history of cancer treatment and research in Norway since the early 1900s; driven by visionary men and funding from the people. A joint effort that has made cancer research one of the strongest areas within medicine and health research in Norway.

Einarsson also used the opportunity to thank some of the truly vital players in the realization of the Innovation Park: Tron Sanderud from Utstillingsplassen Eiendom, Toril Mølmen, former Head of Innovation Norways office in Oslo, Jan Vincents Johannesen, CEO Radium Foundation, Espen Susegg in SIVA and Pål Riis, former principal of Ullern High School.

 

OBOS will sponsor lab
The Opening Celebration started with the fantastic news from Arne Baumann, Chairman of the Board of the Innovation Park, that OBOS, apart from being one of the largest owners, also will sponsor the lab in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator with 4MNOK.

Together with a 2 MNOK donation from the Radium Foundation the Incubator may offer state-of-the-art facilities to the companies and researchers renting here.

 

Erna tried out life as cancer researcher
Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway surprised Mr. Einarsson with inviting him on stage cutting an orange bond to mark the official opening. In her speech, Solberg, said that health industry is an industry with double return in from of the values it creates for the society and patients in developing new treatments as well as developing jobs and value. She also said that the Innovation Park will play a major role in the development of the cancer treatment of the future.

After her speech, Einarsson guided the Prime Minister and the media on a short tour of the Innovation Park where Solberg ended up in the Incubator lab where she tried out the PCI-technology to kill cancer cells.

 

Erna_lab

Photo credit both pictures: Gunnar Kopperud.

Below we have gathered some of the media coverage, both nationally and abroad. We will also publish some videos from the opening later on. 

 

Media coverage:

TV:

Digital:

 

International coverage:

 

PCI Biotech announces activation of Oslo University Hospital as a new clinical site

PCI Biotech has activated Oslo University Hospital as a new clinical site in the phase I/II study of Amphinex in patients with inoperable bile duct cancer, cholangiocarcinoma.

Principal Investigator at Oslo University Hospital, Dr. Svein Dueland, said: “Bile duct cancer is a devastating disease lacking good treatment options for a majority of the patients. PCI of gemcitabine with Amphinex is an innovative treatment concept that could potentially give significant local tumour response in these patients. I look forward to working on this study, which is well designed to demonstrate a potential clinical benefit of Amphinex induced PCI of gemcitabine in bile duct cancer patients.”

Per Walday, CEO of PCI Biotech, said: “I’m delighted with the activation of Oslo University Hospital as a contributing site for this study.  The PCI technology originates from this hospital and it will be a pleasure to work closely with these highly competent investigators to progress the study as quickly as possible. Bile duct cancer has a high need of new local treatment options and the specific attributes of the PCI technology fits well with this disease and its unmet medical need.”

 

About PCI Biotech
PCI Biotech is a cancer focused biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Norway and listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (Axess). The company is developing therapeutic products based on its proprietary photochemical internalization (PCI) technology. Originating from world leading research at the Norwegian Radium Hospital, the PCI technology works by inducing triggered endosomal release and may be used to unlock the true potential of a wide array of therapeutic modalities, such as small molecules, vaccines and nucleic acids.

The company currently has a bile duct cancer program in phase I/II clinical development. Bile duct cancer is an orphan indication without any approved medicinal products and a high medical need for better local treatments. It is an indication well suited for PCI treatment, with easy light access for intraluminal surface illumination through routine endoscopic methods and an active generic drug (gemcitabine) significantly enhanced by PCI.

The company is also developing PCI as a CTL (Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte) induction technology for therapeutic and prophylactic vaccination. It has been demonstrated both in vivo and ex vivo that PCI significantly increases the number of activated antigen-specific CTLs by enhancing the MHC I antigen presentation of antigen presenting cells. When applied in the emerging field of cancer immunotherapy, PCI can be used to enhance the important cytotoxic effect of therapeutic cancer vaccines.

PCI Biotech follows a strategy to create value by improving the effect both of existing cancer drugs and by realizing the large potential in new therapeutics, including therapeutic vaccines.

For more information visit: www.pcibiotech.com

NLSDays 2015: Meet international life science leaders and discuss the sector’s future at the Nordic region’s largest partnering meeting

NLSDays September 9-10 at Stockholm Waterfront is the Nordic region’s premier life science event. The global life science sector is undergoing major structural changes, and as part of a strong established hub, companies in Sweden and the Nordic countries are of great interest when international investors and corporations are looking for new partners.

The entire value chain from basic research to the introduction of new therapies is subject to transformation – not least due to rapid developments in digital health. Life science companies therefore need to find new ways to collaborate and fund their projects. Since the Nordic region offers a modern, competitive environment for academia and research companies alike, the region has become highly attractive for the global life science industry.

  • NLSDays has become the most important meeting place for global investors and corporations that are looking for new collaborations in the Nordic region. The event is on course for record numbers and deals such as the recent one between Alligator Bioscience and Janssen Biotech which illustrates that Swedish companies offer major value to partners, says Jonas Ekstrand, CEO SwedenBIO, the Swedish national life science industry organization which founded the event three years ago.

Overall, the life science sector is currently very active in the Nordic countries. For example, the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park, an investment of around 100 million Euros opens today (24 August). Furthermore, AstraZeneca recently announced a Euros 260 million investment in a new plant for bio-pharmaceutical production and from January 2014, 18 life science companies across all subsectors from medtech to biopharma have been listed on Nasdaq Nordic at a combined value of about Euros 250 million (Source Nasdaq). Furthermore, initiatives and companies in new areas such as personalized medicine, digital health and outcomes based provision are emerging at an accelerating pace.

During Nordic Life Science Days 2015 the main theme is “The New Value Chain”. The 2 day program covers several sessions in which international life science leaders will discuss strategies on how new partnerships can be established and how medical research and the life science industry in the Nordics can contribute.

Super Sessions from the program:

  • International Investors (9 September at 11.30 – 12.30)

International life science investors talk about their investment models and what they look for from entrepreneurs.

  • Personalized Healthcare – Matching Medicines to Patients (September 10 at 08:45 – 09-45)

How will big data and new diagnostic methods impact the future of medical research and treatment modalities? Listen to how the Digital Doctor Watson can revolutionize health care.

  • Oncology 2025 (10 September 11.30 – 12.30)

Immuno-oncology is hotter than ever and there is an ongoing competition between the big global companies to take on the most promising projects. Representatives from several of the major players talk about their strategies.

Currently, 800 delegates are registered for this year’s NLSDays, which is 33% more than at the corresponding time last year. This strongly indicate that the meeting will attract over 1,000 participants, outnumbering last year’s number of delegates.

The conference is organized September 9-10, 2015 at Stockholm Waterfront Congress Centre, Nils Ericssons Plan 4 in Stockholm. More info on www.nlsdays.com.

 

About NLSDays

Founded in 2012 the Nordic Life Science Days has grown rapidly to become the largest Nordic partnering conference for the global life science industry. In 2014, 890 delegates from 28 countries attended the meeting. The 580 companies attending offered 490 licensing opportunities in the partnering system and during the two days 1600 one-on-one meetings were scheduled. Among the investors and big pharma already registered for the meeting in September 2015 are AbbVie, Alexion, Almi Invest, Astellas, AstraZeneca, Bayer HealthCare, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Cadila Pharma, Johnson & Johnson, HealthCap, Industrifonden, Karolinska Development, Merck-MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, Pierre Fabre, P.U.LS. AB, Recipharm, Roche, Seventure Partners, SR-One.

In addition to partnering, NLSDays also offers an exhibition and a seminar program with 10 super session and four topic specific workshops. Speakers include senior representatives from the global life science companies, investors, and academic leaders who will all share their expertise and views for the future.

About SwedenBIO

SwedenBIO who is the founder and organizer of the Nordic Life Science Days is the Swedish life science industry organization. Our nearly 200 members operate across all sub-sectors from pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical technology to diagnostics. SwedenBIO serves to the benefit the entire life science industry in Sweden and is a member-driven, private, non-profit organization. The main objective is to improve the conditions for the life science industry for the benefit of industry growth and business development.

 

Oncology Super Session in Stockholm

Oslo Cancer Cluster is hosting a Super Session at the Nordic Life Science Days in Stockholm. International thought leaders will discuss current game changing innovations and their impact on the industry in the years ahead.

Oncology is at the forefront of realizing the promises of precision medicine. Huge and complex datasets are exploited for novel drug development as well as for informed and real-time care decisions. Emerging Cancer immunotherapies represent a paradigm shift for cancer treatment triggering a global R&D race and novel partnerships. Furthermore, the convergence of the genetics and digital revolution creates novel types of products, companies and growth opportunities transforming the sector.

 

Moderator: Mr. Richard Godfrey, CEO, BergenBio, Norway

Session Outline:

 

Min Topic Speaker
5 Introduction by moderator ·        Dr. Richard Godfrey, CEO BerGenBio

 

10 Topic 1 –global company – perspectives from industry leader – Precision Medicine ·        Dr. Vaios Karanikas, Senior Biomarker and Experimental Medicine Leader, Tumor Immunology, Roche Pharmaceutical Research and Early Development, Innovation Center Zurich
10 Topic 2 – Digital Health company – Big Data / artificial intelligence -> impact on cancer R&D and care ·        Dr. Anthony Bak, Principal Data Scientist, Ayasdi
10 Topic 3 – global company – perspectives from industry leader – Immuno-Oncology ·        Dr. Tim Fisher, Global Lead, Immuno-Oncology / Oncology, Search & Evaluation, Bristol-Myers Squibb
25 Panel Discussion ·        All speakers, joined by Dr. Erik Lund, Director, Worldwide Licensing at MSD (Merck & Co., Inc.)

 

Target Audience: Start-ups, Biotechs, Pharma, investors, academic innovators, TTOs

 

45 MNOK to innovative cancer treatments and diagnostics

The Norwegian Research Council and Norwegian Cancer Society are teaming up to make the results of medical and biotechnical research faster available for cancer patients.

The call on 45 MNOK will be administered through the Research Council’s program for biotechnology (BIOTEK21) and commercialization (FORNY2020).

– This is an exciting and unique collaboration between the Norwegian Cancer Society and the Norwegian Research Council. There is a long way from scientific idea to finished product. The process before the product is on the market and used by many patients are demanding and costly. These funds will provide important impetus to future-oriented Norwegian research. There is enormous potential in research and innovation in health, says the Norwegian Cancer Society General Anne Lise Ryel.

Arvid Hallén, CEO of the Norwegian Research Council agrees:

– I think it can mean much that the Norwegian Cancer Society and the Norwegian Research Council will work together on this. To be successful it is important that we also work closely with Norwegian companies that develop products and services for cancer diagnosis and cancer treatment. Fortunately, we have not only excellent researchers and clinics in health and biomedicine, we also have many companies that have shown that they can develop innovative products and services that can help cancer patients, says Hallén.

Applicants for this call will be commercial players who are affiliated research institutions. The announcement will be available on the Research Council’s website from the end of June and has a deadline of 9 September.

Find more information here:

 

255 MNOK to biomedical research

The Norwegian Research Council recently announced four large investments in biomedical research on a total of 255 MNOK.

Of these investments, 60 MNOK will go to to sequencing and precision medicine, 80 MNOK to national biobanks, 65 MNOK to brain research and 50 MNOK to Norwegian Clinical Research Infrastructure Network.

– This is great news. Biomedical research affects not only a nation’s health, but international competitiveness too, says Ketil F. Widerberg, General Manager in Oslo Cancer Cluster in a comment.

For more information: http://www.forskningsradet.no/no/Nyheter/13_milliarder_til_forskningsutstyr/1254010677263/p1174467583739

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator filling up

12 companies will have offices and lab in Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator from August on. Bjørn Klem, General Manager of the Incubator, anticipates full house by January 2016.

– If each and every company we have given a quote so far, accepts, we actually are over booked. As of now, we have a good mix of companies. We look forward to have even more start-ups as a result of the activity in Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park and the increased focus on commersialization of cancer research the building represents, says Klem.

The companies will start moving into the Incubator the first week of August, and from then on it is business 24/7. The Oslo Cancer Cluster Managament Team will support the incubator companies with competence within business development, communication, partnering, investor contacts and so on thorugh Oslo Cancer Cluster´s extensive network.

 

Overview Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator companies as of mid-June:
See profiles of the companies on the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator website

  • DNB
  • Curida
  • Intersint
  • Ultimovacs
  • Inven2
  • Lifandis
  • Medivir
  • Pharmalink
  • Normetrix
  • Lytix Biopharma
  • Radium Hospital Research Foundation
  • Oslo Cancer Cluster Management Team

 

 

Great media interest in immunotherapy against cancer

On June 11 Oslo Cancer Cluster and  Norwegian Cancer Society arranged a breakfast meeting on immunotherapy against cancer. Norwegian media showed huge interest in the topic. Below we have collected some of the coverage – and we know more is coming.

Grand Opening of the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park

When the Prime Minister opens the Oslo Cancer Cluster innovation Park at Montebello in August, the founder Jónas Einarsson are already planning the next steps for the Radium Hospital Innovation Campus.

Monday August 24th is the official opening of the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park. This unique project is built on private enthusiasm and builds on the long history of cancer research and treatment performed at the Norwegian Radium Hospital. The Innovation Park includes Ullern High School, The Cancer Registry of Norway, Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, and Institute for Medical Informatics and Pathology at Oslo University Hospital – as well as global biopharmaceutical and biotech companies.

Integrated high school
Early 2000, Jónas Einarsson, CEO at the Radium Hospital Research Foundation, and Kaare Norum, former principal of the University of Oslo, realized that a natural cluster for cancer research, development and innovation emerged in the Oslo-area. Together they established Oslo Cancer Cluster, a research and industry cluster within cancer.

They soon realized that the milieu needed a physical innovation center for collaboration, innovation and networking across disciplines. The idea of an innovation park were born, optimally placed right next to the Norwegian Radium Hospital and with Ullern High School as an integrated part to attract and develop talents to cancer R&D and entrepreneurship.

“As a former principal and a man with education as his focus, Kaare Norum came up with the idea to integrate Ullern High School,” says Einarsson. “Ullern and principal at that time, Paal Riis, was very positive from day one, “Einarsson explains, “The collaboration started in 2009 and is expanding every year, and we look forward to being located in the same building.”

All ready for next steps
Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park aims to create one of Europe’s leading centers for education, research and industry in cancer. “By building the park right next to the hospital and Institute for cancer research, the value chain from basic research to industry is brought together at one place: The Radium Hospital Innovation Campus.

Einarsson is already planning the next steps to strengthen the campus further; “We will expand with more buildings and facilities,” he says. “The need for a new clinic building at the Radium Hospital is urgent, and the Oslo-area lack a center for proton treatment. We have investors and drawings in place already”.

Unique project
“We are honoured to have Prime Minister Erna Solberg opening Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park. Governing Mayor of Oslo, Stian Berger Røsland and Head of Oslo University Hospital, Bjorn Erikstein are also part of this celebration “ says  Arne Baumann, Chairman of the Board of the Innovation Park. “We look forward to show them the uniqueness of this project; the park integrates education, excellent research and innovations, and represents a real opportunity to make biotech and health research a new Norwegian industry. Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park is really one of a kind,” Baumann states.

 

Facts:

Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park AS

Total space: 36 000 m²

Tenants: Oslo university Hospital, The Institute for Cancer Genetics and Informatics, Norwegian Cancer registry, Oslo Cancer Cluster SA, Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator AS, The Norwegian Radium Hospital Research Foundation, The Oslo Hospital Pharmacy, Ullern High School, global pharma companies, Norwegian biotech companies.

Opens officialy August 24.th 2015 by the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg.

Targovax and Oncos Therapeutics join forces to create a Nordic leader within immuno-oncology

Targovax and Oncos Therapeutics join forces to create a Nordic leader within immuno-oncology and contemplate a private placement of NOK 125–150 million to fund the combined business

Tagovax has entered into an agreement with the shareholders of Oncos Therapeutics to acquire the shares of Oncos with settlement in Targovax shares. The combined company with multiple assets in research and development will be a Nordic leader within immuno-oncology. The new company will have a strong senior management team and be financially backed by reputable institutional investors with sector specialist HealthCap as the largest shareholder.

To fund the combined company, Targovax contemplates to raise NOK 125-150 million through a private placement directed towards Norwegian and international investors, and has already received indications from leading institutional investors for a substantial amount, including but not limited to a NOK 26 million commitment from HealthCap, NOK 25 million from Datum Invest AS and NOK 5 million from the Norwegian Radium Hospital Research Foundation. In addition, the Private Placement is directed towards the 24 employees of Targovax and Oncos and their respective subsidiaries, and companies controlled by any such employees.

 

Rationale for the Transaction

Targovax and Oncos—based in Oslo and Helsinki, respectively—are both clinical-stage biotechnology companies with broad pipelines addressing the immuno-oncology market, which currently is quite modest, but is expected to grow to USD 30-35 billion over the next decade.

By combining Targovax and Oncos, a larger and more visible Nordic immuno-oncology player with a more extensive portfolio will be created. Furthermore, the combination of two highly competent and complementary organizations will promote more efficient execution and accelerate the development of ongoing and future programs.

Clinical results to date confirm the safety and the mechanisms of action for both technology platforms. Safety data from Targovax and Oncos programs have been collected on approximately 250 and 290 patients, respectively. Both companies have completed Phase I and are now in Phase II development, or about to enter Phase II development, with broad pipelines, and both utilize an immuno-oncology approach that is highly suitable for combination therapies. Clinical programs in several indications will provide increased opportunities for newsflow over the next 18 months.

“The combination of Targovax and Oncos creates a major Nordic player within immuno-oncology. We will have a wide array of programs in the pipeline and multiple shots at goal. The companies’ complementary technologies will provide a unique platform for the development of cutting-edge immunotherapies, and we will have a higher chance of success, thus offering investors an even more compelling opportunity. I am excited to lead an organization of highly skilled professionals with deep industry experience”, said Gunnar Gårdemyr, Chief Executive Officer of Targovax.

 

Senior Executives and Board of Directors

After the Transaction, the highly experienced senior management team will consist of the following members:

  • Gunnar Gårdemyr (Chief Executive Officer) has more than 30 years of international experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry from companies such as Nycomed and Takeda
  • Magnus Jäderberg (Chief Medical Officer) has more than 25 years of experience from R&D functions and was previously CMO at Bristol-Myers Squibb (Europe)
  • Øystein Soug (Chief Financial Officer) has prior experience as the Chief Financial Officer of Algeta and in positions with the Orkla Group
  • Jon Amund Eriksen (Chief Operating Officer) was the co-founder of Targovax and has 35 years of R&D experience in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, of which 25 years were within immuno-oncology

After the Transaction, the proposed Board of Directors will consist of the following members:

  • Jónas Einarsson (Chairman of the Board of Directors), Chief Executive Officer of the Norwegian Radium Hospital Research Foundation
  • Johan Christenson (Board Member), Partner at HealthCap
  • Per Samuelsson (Board Member), Partner at HealthCap
  • Lars Lund-Roland (Board Member), CEO of Bringwell, with more than 25 years of experience from various executive positions within Merck
  • Bente-Lill Romøren (Board Member), Board Member of the Norwegian Radium Hospital Research Foundation and Chairman of Farmastat and Photocure
  • Robert Burns (Board Member), Chairman of Haemostatix, previously CEO of 4-Antibody, Affitech, and Celldex Therapeutics, all three being early companies in the immuno-oncology space

 

The Transaction and the Private Placement

Targovax has entered into an agreement with the shareholders of Oncos to acquire the shares of Oncos with settlement in Targovax shares. After completion of the Transaction, the shareholders of Oncos will own 50 per cent of the combined company. The shareholders of Oncos will in aggregate receive 9,429,404 new Targovax shares that are to be issued at NOK 25.00 per share.

Targovax further contemplates to raise NOK 125-150 million in equity through the Private Placement to fund the combined business. The subscription price in the Private Placement is set to NOK 25.00 per share. The application period commences today on 11 June 2015 at 09:00 (CET) and will close on 19 June 2014 at 16:00 hours (CET). The Company, together with the Joint Global Coordinators (as defined below), reserve the right to close the application period at any time at their sole discretion, at short notice. The minimum order size and allocation in the Private Placement has been set to offer shares worth the NOK or share equivalent of EUR 100,000. The minimum order size and allocation amount does not apply to Eligible Employees. The allocation of shares will be determined at the end of the application period. The final allocation will be made at the Board’s sole discretion.

An updated presentation of the Company and the Transaction is available on the Company’s web site, www.targovax.com.

ABG Sundal Collier, Arctic Securities and DNB Markets are acting as Joint Global Coordinators and Bookrunners for the Private Placement (the “Joint Global Coordinators”). DNB Markets has acted as financial adviser to Targovax in relation to the Transaction. Guggenheim Securities, LLC has acted as financial adviser to Oncos in relation to the Transaction.

 

About Targovax
Targovax is an Oslo-area based global biotechnology company, dedicated to the design and development of immunotherapy vaccines for patients with RAS-mutated cancers. Established in 2010 by the inventors of this RAS-targeted technology and the Norwegian Radium Hospital Research Foundation in Oslo, Targovax has over 25 years of direct experience and has seen more than 250 patients treated with this promising technology.

 

About Oncos
Oncos is a privately funded clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of targeted cancer immunotherapy. Oncos’ product candidates induce a tailored response by the immune system directed at each patient’s unique cancer cells. Oncos’ lead product candidate, ONCOS-102, has successfully completed Phase I clinical studies. Additionally, a promising pipeline has been developed using Oncos’ patented adenovirus-based cancer immunotherapy platform, for the treatment of several cancer types, including soft tissue sarcoma, ovarian cancer and mesothelioma. The novel immunotherapy platform is based on engineered oncolytic viruses armed with potent immune-stimulating transgenes.

 

 

Centre for Cancer Biomedicine in Nature – again

In a recent article in Nature, published on-line 3rd June, PhD student Marina Vietri and her co-workers in Harald Stenmark’s group at Centre for Cancer Biomedicine and Institute for Cancer Research have uncovered a new cellular mechanism that contributes to keep our genome intact.

The authors of the Nature paper. Front row, from left: Kay O. Schink, Harald Stenmark, Marina Vietri (first author), Coen Campsteijn (co-corresponding author). Middle row, from left: Camilla Raiborg, Liliane Christ, Sebastian W. Schultz. Back row, from left: Andreas Brech, Catherine Sem Wegner, Sigrid B. Thoresen. Photo: Tore Skotland.

This is the second article in Nature the group has published the last two months – you may read the other article here.
NRK Viten has published this article about the research: Norske forskarar har avdekka mysterium bak celledeling

The research by Vietri and her colleagues explains how the cell protects the DNA from damage during cell division: During cell division, the nuclear envelope breaks down so that duplicated chromosomes can be separated by the microtubule-containing spindle apparatus.  Upon completion of this process, in anaphase, new nuclear envelopes are formed around the two daughter nuclei, and the mitotic spindle is disassembled by a mechanism that has not been known.

Vietri and her co-workers noticed that certain subunits of a protein complex known as endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) accumulate around the reforming daughter nuclei in anaphase. This observation made them uncover a mechanism whereby ESCRT proteins coordinate nuclear envelope sealing and mitotic spindle disassembly. The ESCRT proteins are recruited to points in the reforming nuclear envelope that are intersected by microtubules. Here, they recruit an enzyme, Spastin, that severs microtubules. The remaining holes in the nuclear envelope are then sealed by the membrane-healing activity of the ESCRT proteins.

Vietri and co-workers also addressed what happens if this process goes wrong. By interfering with normal ESCRT functions during anaphase, the researchers observed that DNA becomes damaged, so evidently the novel mechanism of spindle disassembly and nuclear envelope sealing is important for keeping our genome safe.

Because genome instability is strongly connected to cancer development, it will now be interesting to examine which roles the ESCRT machinery play in preventing cancer.

 

Links:
Spastin and ESCRT-III coordinate mitotic spindle disassembly and nuclear envelope sealing
Marina Vietri, Kay O. Schink, Coen Campsteijn, Catherine Sem Wegner, Sebastian W. Schultz, Liliane Christ, Sigrid B. Thoresen, Andreas Brech, Camilla Raiborg & Harald Stenmark
Nature (2015) doi:10.1038/nature14408
Published online 03 June 2015

Nature | News & Views:
Cell biology: Nuclear dilemma resolved
Brian Burke
Nature (2015) doi:10.1038/nature14527
Published online 03 June 2015

www.nrk.no/viten:
Norske forskarar har avdekka mysterium bak celledeling

Vaccibody part of project that has successfully landed EU Horizon 2020 funding

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Vaccibody AS wil take part in SAPHIR, a 4 year collaborative research project that has succesfully raised 78 million NOK from the EU Horizon 2020 program. SAPHIR brings together interdisciplinary expertise from 14 academic institutions, 5 small and medium-sized enterprises  and 2 pharmaceutical companies. The project aims to improve animal production and health through development of improved vaccination strategies. 

Vaccibody is dedicated to the development of novel immunotherapies and vaccines for prevention and treatment of cancer and infectious diseases for human and veterinary purposes. For SAPHIR, Vaccibody will provide vaccines against Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus for evaluation in pigs. Upon successful completion of the SAPHIR project, Vaccibody will have increased expertise and network within the veterinary vaccine and administration field.

Tom Pike, Chairman and Acting CEO of Vaccibody, commented: “This is another example of how Vaccibody intends to broaden the use of our platform technology in collaboration with acknowledged partners. We recently attended the kick-off meeting in Paris and we are proud to be a part of this international consortium with expertise within veterinary vaccine development. The support from EU for collaborative initiatives like SAPHIR will allow Vaccibody to expand its experience of the technology within the veterinary field while the company remains fully focused on the clinical development of it’s lead drug candidate, VB10.16 for treatment of HPV16 induced precancer and cancer.”

 

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 drug candidate VB10.16 is a therapeutic DNA vaccine against HPV16 induced pre-malignancies and malignancies. The company is currently entering it’s first-in-man study that will evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of VB10.16 in women with high grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (HSIL; CIN 2/3).

 

Vaccibody aquaculture collaboration granted 10 MNOK

The research collaboration “New Targeting Vaccines for Sustainable Aquaculture” has received a grant of NOK 10 Million through the Norwegian Research Council’s program Biotek2021. Oslo Cancer Cluster member Vaccibody is a partner in the project together with The Norwegian Veterinary Institute, Pharmaq AS, Kjeller Innovasjon and Kongla AS. 

 

The purpose of the project is to develop customized targeted fish vaccines based on the Vaccibody principle.  The NOK 10 million will be awarded over 3 years.

Tom Pike, Chairman and Acting CEO of Vaccibody, commented: “We are very pleased to be a part of this collaboration and for the funding it will receive from the Norwegian Research Council .The fish farming industry are facing a number of challenges related to infections and the Vaccibody technology is well suited to attack these challenges in a sustainable manner, without the global issues associated with antibiotics. We are also proud to work with a consortium of well qualified partners.  The project fits well with Vaccibody’s strategy to develop its technology platform together with partners while focusing the main share of its internal resources on the development of VB10.16, a therapeutic DNA vaccine to treat precancerous lesions of the cervix currently entering Phase I/IIa.”

 

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 drug candidate VB10.16 is a therapeutic DNA vaccine against HPV16 induced pre-malignancies and malignancies. The company is currently entering it’s first-in-man study that will evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of VB10.16 in women with high grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (HSIL; CIN 2/3).

NLS Days – time to sign up

Oslo Cancer Cluster is one of the supporting organizations for this years Nordic Life Science Days in Stockholm. Members of the cluster benefit from special rates on participation plus we host an Oncology 2025 Super Session.

In collaboration with LMI, Nansen Neuroscience Network and other healthcare industry actors in Norway, Oslo Cancer Cluster will attend NLSDays to promote Norwegian Healthcare Industry and the cluster members.

Questions regarding the conference may be directed to Jutta Heix, International Advisor or Elisabeth Kirkeng Andersen, Head of Communicaton.

Read the latest newsletter from NLSDays 2015 below or online

The 3rd annual Nordic Life Science Days partnering conference will take place September 9–10 in Stockholm, Sweden, at the Waterfront. NLSDays Super Sessions and Workshops feature top industry leaders and executives speaking on relevant trends to industry decision makers.


Already 50+ Company Presentations confirmed

Presenting at NLSDays is the perfect chance to increase your visibility and attract more partners. Pitch your company’s profile, strategy and objectives to a global audience. Be seen by BD executives, investors, analysts, media and get more activity in partneringONE®. Still a few 6mn and 12mn available slots, don’t miss the opportunity to book your presentation when registering.


Already 50+ Exhibitors confirmed
NLSDays brings hundreds of Life Science Industry leaders from 30+ countries together for 2 days of intensive networking. As an exhibitor, you will reach high-level executives and influential decision makers who come to NLSDays to meet with new players in the industry and initiate partnerships. Still a few 4sqm, 6sqm and 9sqm available stands, don’t miss the opportunity to book yours now.


Oncology 2025 Super Session
Hosted by Oslo Cancer Cluster. Oncology is at the forefront of realizing the promises of precision medicine. Huge and complex datasets are exploited for novel drugs devolpment as well as for informed and real-time care decisions. Emerging cancer immunotherapies represent a paradigm shift for cancer treatment triggening a global R&D race and novel partnerships. Furthermore, the convergence of the genetics and digital revolution creates novel types of products, companies and growth opportunities transforming the sector.


International Investors Super Session

Hosted by Business Sweden, co-hosted by Industrifonden and HealthCap. Meet the investors actively investing in European Life Sciences companies. What are they looking for? What are the learnings in biotech and medtech investing over the past decade? How are these learnings being applied in current investments decisions? How is the financial climate in Life Sciences today?


Member of a supporting organization?
Since Oslo  Cancer Cluster is a supporting organization, members get a discount. Send an e-mail to Elisabeth Kirkeng Andersen, Head of Communicaton to get the Promotion Code and benefit from discount on all registration fees. Remember that Regular Rate registration period ends on June 30, 2015.


Interested in
sponsoring, exhibiting, presenting ? Contact: Olivier Duchamp, olivier.duchamp@bionordic.org

Large Oslo Cancer Cluster delegation to BIO2015

More than 15 Oslo Cancer Cluster members will be present at BIO2015 in Philadelphia in June. BIO is the world´s largest biotech fair and a very important partnering event for the cluster.

The companies attending BIO from the cluster are: BerGenBio, Lifandis, Lytix Biopharma, Nextera, Nordic Nanovector, Normetrix, Pharmalink Oncology, Inven2, BTO, Targovax, Ultimovacs, Vaccibody, The Radium Hospital Research Foundation, Chiltern and DNB Healthcare.

International Advisor Jutta Heix will represent Oslo Cancer Cluster Managment Team.

International Cancer Cluster Showcase
Oslo Cancer Cluster will also this year arrange International Cancer Cluster Showcase at BIO, together with other world-leading cancer clusters.  New partners are OBN, UK with a strong international investor network and the Wistar Institute from Philadelphia as local partner.

Member companies pitching at the International Cancer Cluster Showcase are Inven2, Ultimovacs and Nordic Nanovector.

Inven2, Norway´s largest TTO, will pitch their portfolio of early projects which is really strong in immuno-oncology, Ultimovacs will present the clinical development of their universal cancer vaccine, whilst Nordic Nanovector will present the clinical development of their targeted radiopharmaceutical treatment of lymphoma. Nordic Nanovector went public this March with one of the biggest IPO´s in European biotech so far this year.

We are very proud to have two Oslo Cancer Cluster members sponsoring the International Cancer Cluster Showcase this year: Chiltern and DNB Healthcare.

DNB Healthcare is also hosting a special healthcare event in New York on June 12 prior to BIO.

 

Ultimovacs, Inven2 and Nordic Nanovector will present at ICCS

Oslo Cancer Cluster will for the 4th time arrange International Cancer Cluster Showcase, ICCS in collaboration with leading cluster partners from Europe and North America. 20 oncology biotechs will pitch their latest innovations and partnering opportunities.

Member companies pitching at ICCS are Inven2, Ultimovacs and Nordic Nanovector:

  • Ultimovacs will present the clinical development of their universal cancer vaccine
  • Inven2, Norway´s largest TTO, will pitch highlights from their portfolio which is particularly strong in immuno-oncology
  • Nordic Nanovector will present their lead clinical-stage product opportunity Betalutin™, the first in a new class of Antibody-Radionuclide-Conjugates (ARCs).Nordic Nanovector went public this March with one of the biggest IPO´s in European biotech so far this year.

Below you may find some more information on this years edition of ICCS and BIO2015.

International Cancer Cluster Showcase 2015, June 15th, 2015 – Philadelphia Convention Center

General BIO Info:

  • BIO 2015 takes place in Philadelphia. From what we hear the hotels are filling up, so be sure to book your housing soon if you are attending
  • Oslo Cancer Cluster will not feature a booth this year, but International Advisor Jutta Heix will be present at BIO and participate in partnering meetings

 

 

Opptak: Fremtidens kreftbehandling – hvordan sikre norske kreftpasienter den beste behandling?

28. april arrangerte Oslo Cancer Cluster sammen med LMI, Astra Zeneca og MSD et møte om tilgang til nye kreftmedisiner. Møtet ble strømmet og kan sees i sin helhet her.

På møtet hørte vi innlegg fra flere om hvordan norske pasienter i dag slett ikke har lik tilgang på nye kreftmedisiner.  I tillegg var det paneldebatt, der helsepolitikere fra Ap, Høyre, Krf og Frp deltok for å svare på kritikken mot beslutningsforum og metodesystemet.
Se fullstendig program her.

Dette var det andre møtet i en serie om fremtidens kreftbehandling. Møteserien setter søkelys mot hvordan Norge skal sikre sine kreftpasienter en behandling på høyde med det beste internasjonalt – både i dag og i fremtiden.

Det tredje møtet vil finne sted torsdag 13. august under Arendals-uka med tema persontilpasset kreftmedisin.


 

 

PCI Biotech starts collaboration in siRNA therapeutics

PCI Biotech, a Norwegian cancer focused biopharmaceutical company, announced that it is initiating a pre-clinical research collaboration with RXi Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: RXII). RXi is an American biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing innovative therapeutics, that address high-unmet medical needs primarily in the area of dermatology and ophthalmology.

The partnership is governed by a pre-clinical research collaboration agreement. Initially, the purpose of the pre-clinical research collaboration is to utilize the companies’ complementary scientific platforms to explore potential synergies.

In brief the pre-clinical research collaboration will evaluate technology compatibility based on in vitro and in vivo studies. The costs related to the research collaboration will be covered by each company separately. The companies will evaluate results achieved from this research collaboration and then explore the potential for a closer collaboration.

Both companies will retain exclusive ownership rights to existing registered intellectual property. However, any inventions arising from the collaboration will be jointly owned by the companies.

 

About PCI Biotech
PCI Biotech is a cancer focused biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Norway and listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (Axess). The company is developing therapeutic products based on its proprietary photochemical internalization (PCI) technology. Originating from world leading research at the Norwegian Radium Hospital, the PCI technology works by inducing triggered endosomal release and may be used to unlock the true therapeutic potential of a wide array of modalities, such as small molecules, ADCs and siRNA. Two programs are currently in clinical development in patient populations with a high unmet medical need; recurrent head and neck cancer (phase II) and bile duct cancer (phase I/II).

The company is also developing PCI as a CTL induction technology for therapeutic and prophylactic vaccination. It has been demonstrated both in vivo and ex vivo that PCI significantly increases the number of activated antigen-specific CTLs (Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes) by enhancing the MHC I antigen presentation of antigen presenting cells. When applied more specifically to the emerging field of cancer immunotherapy, PCI can be used to enhance the important cytotoxic effect of therapeutic cancer vaccines. PCI Biotech follows a strategy to create value by improving the effect both of existing cancer drugs and by realizing the large potential in new therapeutics, including therapeutic vaccines.

www.pcibiotech.com

Nordic Nanovector raised MNOK 500

Oslo, 20 March 2015. Nordic Nanovector ASA (“Nordic Nanovector”, the “Company”, OSE ticker code: “NANO”) announces the successful completion of the bookbuilding period for its initial public offering (the “Offering”), which was multiple times oversubscribed for the full amount of the Offering (including over-allotment) throughout the narrowed indicative price range.

In summary:
• Nordic Nanovector will issue 15,625,000 new shares in connection with the Offering, raising gross proceeds of NOK 500 million. There will in total be 42,175,291 shares in issue following the issuance of the new shares.
• The Managers (as defined below) have over-allotted 2,343,750 shares, representing 15% of the number of shares issued and sold in the Offering before over-allotments, and exercised their option to borrow an equal number of shares from HealthCap VI L.P. for the purpose of covering such over-allotments.

• The shares are priced at NOK 32 per share. The price implies a market capitalisation of Nordic Nanovector of approximately NOK 1,350 million (excluding shares that may be issued in connection with the over-allotment).

• Trading of the shares in Nordic Nanovector on the Oslo Stock Exchange will commence on 23 March 2015.

Approximately 91% of the shares in the Offering have been allocated to investors in the institutional offering and approximately 9% of the shares have been allocated to investors in the retail offering. Following the Offering, Nordic Nanovector is expected to have approximately 1,200 shareholders.

Luigi Costa, CEO of Nordic Nanovector, said: “We are delighted with the positive support Nordic Nanovector and its team has received by domestic and international investors. This has enabled us to upsize our IPO and raise additional funds to advance the development of Betalutin™, our first-in-class Antibody-Radionuclide-Conjugate, beyond the first regulatory submission planned in 2017”.

Luigi Costa continued: “Betalutin™ is specifically designed to deliver better treatment outcomes for patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma by improving and complementing current therapy options. Betalutin™ targets CD37, a different antigen compared to standard CD20-targeted therapies with a short-range radiotherapy effecting tumour cell death while minimizing exposure to healthy cells. Based on this mechanism of action and promising clinical results to date, we have designed a robust development plan through to commercialisation.”

Notifications of allocated shares and the corresponding amount to be paid by investors are expected to be communicated to investors today (20 March 2015). Investors having access to investor services through their VPS account manager will be able to check the number of shares allocated to them from approximately 09:00 hours (CET) on 20 March 2015. The Managers may also be contacted for information regarding allocations.

The Company has granted the Managers an over-allotment option, exercisable by ABG Sundal Collier as stabilisation manager within 30 days from the first day of listing to cover over-allotments and short positions in connection with the Offering. A separate disclosure will be issued by the stabilisation manager regarding the over-allotment and stabilisation activities.
ABG Sundal Collier and DNB Markets, a part of DNB Bank ASA, are acting as Joint Global Coordinators for the Offering and ABG Sundal Collier, Carnegie and DNB Markets are acting as Joint Bookrunners for the Offering. The Joint Global Coordinators and Joint Bookrunners are herein referred to as the “Managers”.

 

About Nordic Nanovector

Nordic Nanovector is a biotech company focusing on the development and commercialization 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-Radio-Conjugates (ARCs), designed to improve upon and complement current options for the treatment of Non-Hodgkin’s 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 tumor-seeking anti-CD37 antibody conjugated to low intensity radionuclide (Lutetium 177). It has shown promising efficacy in Phase 1 studies in a difficult-to-treat NHL patient population and as well as a very favourable tolerability. Betalutin™ is fast advancing through clinical development and with first approval anticipated in 2018.
Nordic Nanovector intends to retain marketing rights and to actively participate in the commercialization of Betalutin™ in core markets, while exploring potential distribution agreements in selected geographies. The Company is committed to developing its ARC pipeline to treat a number of select cancer indications.

 

 

NLSDays 2015 – Early Bird through March 31

Oslo Cancer Cluster is one of the supporting organizations for this years Nordic Life Science Days in Stockholm, as we were last year. This means that members of the cluster benefit from special rates on participation. Through March 31 you may also get early-bird discount.

In collaboration with other healthcare industry actors in Norway, Oslo Cancer Cluster will have a stand at NLSDays to promote Norwegian Healthcare Industry and the cluster members.

Questions regarding this conference may be directed to Jutta Heix, International advisor or Elisabeth Kirkeng Andersen, Head of Communicaton.

Read the latest newsletter from NLSDays 2015 below.

 

Why registering now?
Benefit from our Early Bird rates by registering before March 31st, 2015. Book and secure your company presentation slot when registering.

Benefit from an exclusive discount on all NLSDays’ registration rates. Please contact your organization to get your promotion code.

 

Why attending NLSDays 2015?

NLSDays annually attracts the best from pharma, biotech, medtech and finance the Nordic region has to offer for two days of intense networking. NLSDays’ Super Sessions, topical workshops and vibrant exhibition along with thousands of prescheduled face-to-face meetings make this event the place to be for companies across the Life Science value chain to meet and do business.

Attend NLSDays and take advantage of the opportunity for more partnering meetings in two days than in the rest of the year.

Based on attendance at previous events, NLSDays 2015 will bring together more than 1000 executives from biotechnology, medtech, pharmaceutical and finance companies from the Nordic region and from around the world, who will engage in some 2,000+ face-to-face meetings.

 

Why presenting at NLSDays 2015?

Presenting at NLSDays gives you a chance to increase your visibility and attract more potential partners. Pitch your company’s profile, pipeline and strategy to a selected audience representing over 30 countries. Be visible by business development executives, investors, media, and increase your activity in the partneringONE platform.

NB: Company presenters receive much more requests and schedule more meetings than non-presenting companies! Presenting companies are also spotlighted in NLSDays marketing material leading up to the event, as well as onsite.
Don’t miss the opportunity to book your presentation slot when registering.

Benefit from Early Bird rate on Company Presentation fees through March 31, 2015.

 

Why exhibiting at NLSDays?

The 2015 NLSDays Exhibition reflects our 2015 manifesto: “The Life Science Value Chain”.

Regional and country pavilions, from the Nordic Region and Europe, will showcase and host many companies from their regions or countries. Pharma, biotech, medtech and servives providers will join NLSDays exhibition as well.
About partneringONE™, the leading conference networking solution

partneringONE™ powered by EBD Group increase your ROI at the Nordic Life Science Days conference, reduce your overall business development costs and enhance your partnering effectiveness before, during and after the event. partneringONE allows you to:

• Search companies to source potential collaborations and funding opportunities

• Communicate directly with potential investors and/or partners

• Pre-schedule 30-minute face-to-face meetings to be organized onsite.

 

 

 

NICE, UK recommends photodynamic diagnosis of bladder cancer

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Photocure ASA, is pleased to announce that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the UK has published its first guidelines on bladder cancer, recommending photodynamic diagnosis for improved detection of bladder cancer. NICE makes evidence-based recommendations for healthcare, with the aim of improving treatment and reducing variations in care.

The NICE guidelines recognize cystoscopy as the standard for diagnosis and follow up for patients with bladder cancer, and recommend that people with suspected bladder cancer should be offered surgical removal of the tumor using white-light guided cystoscopy supported by additional techniques to improve tumor detection, such as photodynamic diagnosis.

Kjetil Hestdal, President and CEO of Photocure, said: “We are pleased to have photodynamic diagnosis included in the NICE guideline for diagnosis and management of bladder cancer. This is another important milestone providing further evidence of the value of Hexvix/Cysview in the diagnosis and management of bladder cancer patients. NICE is internationally recognised and well respected for its evidence-based recommendations.”

Photodynamic diagnosis of bladder cancer involves the instillation of a photosensitive compound, such as Hexvix®/Cysview® (hexaminolevulinate), into the bladder. Hexvix/Cysview accumulates in tumor tissue and fluoresces pink under blue light, allowing cancerous areas on the lining of the bladder to be distinguished from healthy tissue.2 Using Hexvix/Cysview as an adjunct to standard white-light cystoscopy (WLC) enables the urologist to better detect and remove lesions compared with white-light cystoscopy alone. After applying stringent cost-effectiveness analyses, NICE concluded “Photodynamic diagnosis appears to be a cost-effective alternative to WLC as an initial diagnostic test.”

Bladder cancer is the fifth most common cancer in Europe, accounting for an estimated 124,000 newly diagnosed cases and more than 40,000 deaths in 2012. Bladder cancer has a high recurrence rate (up to 78% of patients experience recurrence within 5 years of their initial diagnosis), making the lifetime costs of managing bladder cancer one of the highest of all cancers. If bladder cancer is detected at an early stage, the risk of recurrence can be reduced, and management and long-term outcomes for patients improved.

Per-Uno Malmström, Professor of Urology at Uppsala University, Sweden, said: “NICE is a leading authority in healthcare management; this recognition by NICE of the benefits that can be achieved from photodynamic diagnosis will open the door to improved management of bladder cancer for many patients.”

Gregers Hermann, Chief Urologist at Frederiksberg Hospital, Copenhagen University, Denmark, stated: “Patients with bladder cancer deserve the best evidence-based diagnosis and management of their disease. NICE guidelines highlight the proven value of photodynamic diagnosis in terms of achieving cost-effective diagnosis as well as reducing the risk of recurrence for patients with bladder cancer.”

The full NICE bladder cancer guidelines can be found here: http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng2

 

About Photocure ASA
Photocure ASA, headquartered in Oslo, Norway, is a specialty pharmaceutical company and world leader in photodynamic technology. Based on our unique proprietary Photocure Technology® platform, Photocure develops and commercialises highly selective and effective solutions in disease areas with high unmet medical need, such as bladder cancer, HPV and precancerous cervical lesions, colorectal cancer and skin conditions. Our aim is to provide solutions that can improve health outcomes for patients worldwide. Photocure is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSE: PHO). Information about Photocure is available at www.photocure.com

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®/Cysview® is approved in Europe and the USA.

Targovax appoints former Algeta-CFO

Mr. Øystein Soug, has been the CFO of the late-stage oncology biotech company Algeta ASA since 2008, building up the functions of Finance, IR, Compliance, IT and HR. During Mr. Soug’s period at Algeta, the company raised USD 200m capital, launched Xofigo, established production and sales in the USA, partnered with and was acquired by Bayer AG. 

Gunnar Gårdemyr, CEO of Targovax, says “I am excited to welcome Øystein Soug to Targovax. With Øystein in place we are well positioned to move our products through the important Proof of Concept phase. Øystein’s recent experience from the successful financing and sub-sequent sale of Algeta to Bayer will be important to develop Targovax further.”

Before 2008, Mr. Soug was with the Norwegian Orkla group, holding two functions; first as project manager in Orkla’s Corporate Development M&A team and later as the CFO of SladCo, the Russian operations of Orkla. Prior to Orkla, Mr. Soug spent five years in banking. He has 17 years’ experience in international finance and corporate development. In addition, he has served as Deputy Chairman and Director of Bionor Pharma ASA since 2013.

Mr. Soug has an MSc in Economics and Finance and a Master of International Management (CEMS) both from the University of St Gallen in Switzerland.

Facts:
Targovax
Targovax was established in October in 2010 to develop immunotherapy in the form of therapeutic cancer vaccines based on pioneering research at the Norwegian Radium Hospital and Norsk Hydro. Mutation of RAS is an early mutation in the transformation of a normal cell into a cancer cell.

Lead candidate TG01 educates the body’s immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells with RAS mutations. TG01 has Orphan Drug status for pancreatic cancer in the EU and US and is currently in Phase II trials in operated pancreatic cancer. The company is located in Lysaker, close to Oslo, Norway.

 

Immuno- oncology / Cancer vaccines
The Norwegian cancer research community has been in the forefront of understanding the mechanisms for immuno-oncology and cancer vaccines. A cancer vaccine educates the body’s immune system to recognize and kill the cancer cells. The TG01 vaccine is therapeutic and is given as treatment to patients after surgery of cancer patients, to prevent relapse.

 

Pancreas cancer and other RAS-mutated cancer forms
Pancreatic cancer is a disease affecting 116 000 patients each year in EU and USA, and approximately 690 persons each year in Norway. Approx 15-20% of these are discovered at an early stage and are operable. The mortality is high, and the prognosis for these patients has been more or less unchanged the last 30 years. Approximately 80-90% of patients with pancreatic cancer have RAS mutations in the cancer cells.

RAS mutations occur in approx. 20% of all cancer cases, and are also frequent in colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and other cancers. Patients with RAS mutations within these indications have proved to be difficult to treat with current treatments, and there is a significant unmet medical need.

 


Oslo, 26. februar 2015 Pressemelding no 3 -2015:

Targovax melder med stor tilfredshet at Øystein Soug er selskapets nye CFO fra 1. juni 2015.

Øystein Soug har vært Chief Financial Officer i kreft-biotekselskapet Algeta ASA siden 2008, der han bygde opp funksjonene for finans, IR, virksomhetsstyring, IT og HR. I løpet av Sougs periode i Algeta, hentet selskapet inn USD 200 millioner i kapital, lanserte Xofigo, etablerte produksjon og salg i USA og inngikk samarbeid og ble kjøpt opp av Bayer AG.

Soug hadde før 2008 to funksjoner i den norske Orkla-gruppen, først som prosjektleder i Orklas Corporate Development M&A team, og deretter som CFO i SladCo, den russiske delen av Orkla. Før Orkla var Øystein Soug fem år i bank. Han har 17 års erfaring fra internasjonal finans og selskapsutvikling. I tillegg har han vært nestleder i styret og styremedlem i Bionor Pharma ASA siden 2013.

Øystein Soug har en MSc i Økonomi og Finans og en Master i Internasjonal Ledelse (CEMS), begge fra Universitetet i St Gallen i Sveits.

Gunnar Gårdemyr, CEO i Targovax sier “Jeg er glad for å kunne ønske Øystein Soug velkommen til Targovax. Med Øystein på plass, er vi godt posisjonert for å utvikle produktene våre gjennom den viktige Proof of Concept-fasen. Øysteins nylige erfaring fra suksessfull finansiering og etterfølgende salg av Algeta til Bayer vil være viktig for å utvikle Targovax videre.»

Kontakt:

Targovax Gunnar Gårdemyr, Chief Executive Officer, mob: E-mail: ggardemyr@targovax.com

Jonas Einarsson, Chairman of the Board, mob: (+47) 48 09 63 55 E-mail: je@radforsk.no

Fakta: Targovax

Targovax ble etablert i oktober 2010 for å utvikle immunterapi i form av terapeutiske kreftvaksiner, basert på pionérforskning ved OUS Radiumhospitalet og Norsk Hydro. Mutasjoner i RAS forstyrrer normal celledeling, og bidrar til utvikling av kreftceller og svulster. Første legemiddel under utvikling, TG01, lærer opp kroppens immunsystem til å gjenkjenne og drepe kreftceller med RAS-mutasjoner. TG01 har Orphan Drug Status for bukspyttkjertelkreft i EU og USA, og er nå i fase II klinisk utvikling innen operabel bukspyttkjertelkreft. Selskapet er lokalisert på Lysaker utenfor Oslo.

Immuno-onkologi / kreftvaksiner

Det norske kreftforskningsmiljøet har vært i forskningsfronten når det gjelder å forstå mekanismene for immuno-onkologi/immunterapi og kreftvaksiner. En kreftvaksine lærer opp kroppens immunsystem til å gjenkjenne og drepe kreftcellene. TG01 er terapeutisk, den gis som behandling til pasienter etter kirurgi, for å forhindre tilbakefall.

Bukspyttkjertelkreft og andre RAS-muterte kreftformer.

Bukspyttkjertelkreft er en sykdom som rammer 116 000 pasienter hvert år i EU og USA, og ca 690 pasienter årlig i Norge. Ca 15-20% av disse avdekkes på et tidlig stadium og kan opereres. Dødeligheten er høy, og prognosen for disse pasientene har vært mer eller mindre uendret de siste 30 år. Ca 80-90% av pasienter med bukspyttkjertelkreft har RAS-mutasjoner i kreftcellene.

RAS-mutasjoner forekommer i ca 20% av alle krefttilfeller, også ofte i tykktarmskreft, ikke-småcellet lungekreft og andre kreftformer. Pasienter med RAS – mutasjoner innen disse sykdommene har vist seg å være vanskelig å behandle med dagens tilgjengelige medisiner, og det er et stort udekket medisinsk behov.

– See more at: http://www.noodls.com/viewNoodl/27052320/targovax-as/trvx-targovax-appoints-216ystein-soug-as-new-cfo#sthash.zygqEXIj.dpuf

View videos from Cancer Crosslinks 2015

At this years Cancer Crosslinks we made short video interviews with presenters Professor Paul Baas, Professor Nicholas Navin, Professor Bjørn Tore Gjertsen and Professor Kimmo Porkka on their research and views on cancer treatments in the future. You may watch them below.

We would like to thank the presenters for taking the time to share their knowledge and our sponsors Bristol-Myers Squibb and Roche for making it possible to produce these videos.

Lifandis, Smartfish and BerGenBio got funding from BIA

The Norwegian Research Council granted BerGenBio, Lifandis and Smartfish –  all Oslo Cancer Cluster member companies – funding through the Programme for User-Driven Research Based Innovation (BIA).

In total, the Research Council will grant a record amount of over 600 MNOK to 65 Norwegian companies, of which 9 are biotech companies.

BerGenBio, Lifandis and Smartfish will receive around 10 million NOK each over 4 years, depending on the outcome of the contract negotiations between the council and the companies. Funding from the BIA programme is a quality stamp since the companies compete in “open class” where all sectors are represented. The funding may also trigger interest  from private investors. BerGenBio also received funding from BIA one year ago.

On the Research Council`s website you may more information and a list of all the companies that received funding now (in Norwegian).

October 14th 2015 is next application deadline  for funding from the BIA-programme.

Hexvix® can improve the overall survival in bladder cancer patients

In a retrospective study Hexvix fluorescence-guided bladder resection significantly improved overall survival and recurrence free survival compared to resection performed with standard white light.

Photocure ASA  is pleased to note that a study on the impact of Hexvix® on survival in bladder cancer patients has been published in the World Journal of Urology.

The study investigated the impact on survival in bladder cancer patients of photodynamic diagnosis (PDD)-guided bladder tumor resection (TUR-BT), including that guided by Hexvix (hexaminolevulinate (HAL)).

The findings from this retrospective study of 224 patients demonstrate for the first time that Hexvix guided TUR-BT in bladder cancer patients, who later progressed to requiring radical cystectomy (RC), significantly increased the three year overall survival (p=0.037) and the median three year recurrence free survival (p=0.002) compared to patients in the comparator group.

Dr. Georgios Gakis of the Department of Urology, Eberhard-Karls University at Tuebingen, Germany and lead author, stated: “These data indicate for the first time that improved patient management with HAL-guided TUR-BT can make a difference in outcomes even for those bladder cancer patients who later progress to advanced disease and require radical cystectomy.”

Kjetil Hestdal, President and CEO of Photocure, said: “These exciting data add to the growing clinical evidence that Hexvix/Cysview makes a positive impact on the diagnosis and management of bladder cancer in multiple patient types. We believe the continuously increasing adoption of Hexvix/Cysview guided TUR-BT will bring significant clinical and health economic benefit to urologists, patients and payers fighting the disease.”

Bladder cancer, which affects 550,000 people in the U.S. and 500,000 in Europe has a high recurrence rate, up to 61% in one year and 78% over five years, making the lifetime costs of managing bladder cancer one of the highest of all cancers.

 

About Photocure ASA
Photocure ASA, headquartered in Oslo Norway, is a specialty pharmaceutical company and world leader in photodynamic technology. Based on our unique proprietary Photocure Technology® platform, Photocure develops and commercializes highly selective and effective solutions within disease areas with high unmet medical need, such as bladder cancer, HPV and precancerous cervical lesions, colorectal cancer and skin conditions. Our aim is to provide solutions, which can improve health outcomes for patients worldwide. Photocure is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange (OSE: PHO). Information about Photocure is available at www.photocure.com.

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/Cysview is approved in Europe and US.

 

Supercomputing reveals the genetic code of cancer

Cancer researchers in Oslo are now using one of the world’s fastest computers to detect which parts of the genetic code may cause bowel and prostate cancer.


Written by Yngve Vogt, Apollon. Read the original article in English here and in Norwegian here. Published on www.oslocancercluster.no with permisson from the author.

Cancer researchers must use one of the world’s fastest computers to detect which versions of genes are only found in cancer cells. Every form of cancer, even every tumour, has its own distinct variants.

“This charting may help tailor the treatment to each patient,” says Associate Professor Rolf Skotheim, who is affiliated with the Centre for Cancer Biomedicine and the Research Group for Biomedical Informatics at the University of Oslo, as well as the Department of Molecular Oncology at Radiumhospitalet, Oslo University Hospital.

His research group is working to identify the genes that cause bowel and prostate cancer, which are both common diseases. There are 4,000 new cases of bowel cancer in Norway every year. Only six out of ten patients survive the first five years. Prostate cancer affects 5,000 Norwegians every year. Nine out of ten survive.

Comparisons between healthy and diseased cells
In order to identify the genes that lead to cancer, Skotheim and his research group are comparing the genetic material in tumours with the genetic material in healthy cells. In order to understand this process, a fast introduction to our genetic material is needed.

Our genetic material consists of just over 20,000 genes. Each gene consists of thousands of base pairs, represented by a specific sequence of the four building blocks adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine, popularly abbreviated to A, T, G, and C. The sequence of these building blocks is the very recipe for the gene. Our whole DNA consists of some six billion base pairs.

The DNA strand carries the molecular instructions for activity in the cells. In other words, DNA contains the recipe for proteins, which perform the tasks in the cells. DNA, nevertheless, does not actually produce proteins. First a copy of DNA is made. This transcript is called RNA, and it is this molecule that is read when proteins are produced.

RNA is only a small component of DNA, and is made up of its active constituents. Most of DNA is inactive. Only 1–2 % of the DNA strand is active.

In cancer cells, something goes wrong with the RNA transcription. There is either too much RNA, which means that far too many proteins of a specific type are formed, or the composition of base pairs in RNA is wrong. The latter is precisely the area being studied by the UiO researchers.

Wrong combinatorics
All genes can be divided into active and inactive parts. A single gene may consist of tens of active stretches of nucleotides (exons).

“RNA is a copy of a specific combination of the exons from a specific gene in DNA.”

There are many possible combinations, and it is precisely this search for all of the possible combinations that is new in cancer research.

Different cells can combine the nucleotides in a single gene in different ways. A cancer cell can create a combination that should not exist in healthy cells. And as if that didn’t make things complicated enough, sometimes RNA can be made up of stretches of nucleotides from different genes in DNA. These special, complex genes are called fusion genes.

In other words, researchers must look for errors both inside genes and between the different genes.

“Fusion genes are usually found in cancer cells, but some of them are also found in healthy cells.”

In patients with prostate cancer, researchers have found some fusion genes that are only created in diseased cells. These fusion genes may then be used as a starting-point in the detection of and fight against cancer.

The researchers have also found fusion genes in bowel cells, but they were not cancer-specific.

“For some reason, these fusion genes can also be found in healthy cells. This discovery was a let-down.”

Can improve treatment
There are different RNA errors in the various cancer diseases. The researchers must therefore analyse the RNA errors of each disease.

Among other things, the researchers are comparing RNA in diseased and healthy tissue from 550 patients with prostate cancer. The patients that make up the study do not receive any direct benefits from the results themselves. However, the research is important in order to be able to help future patients.

“We want to find the typical defects associated with prostate cancer. This will make it easier to understand what goes wrong with healthy cells, and to understand the mechanisms that develop cancer. Once we have found the cancer-specific molecules, they can be used as biomarkers. In some cases, the biomarkers can be used to find cancer, determine the level of severity of the cancer, the risk of spreading, and whether the patient should be given a more aggressive treatment.

Even though the researchers find deviations in the RNA, there is no guarantee that there is appropriate, targeted medicine available.

“The point of our research is to figure out more of the big picture. If we identify a fusion gene that is only found in cancer cells, the discovery will be so important in itself that other research groups around the world will want to begin working on this straight away. If a cure is found that counteracts the fusion genes, this may have enormous consequences for the cancer treatment.”

Laborious work
Recreating RNA is laborious work. The set of RNA molecules consists of about 100 million bases, divided into a few thousand bases from each gene.

The laboratory machine reads millions of small nucleotides. Each one is only one hundred base pairs long. In order for the researchers to be able to place them in the right location, they must run large statistical analyses. The RNA analysis of a single patient can take a few days.

All of the nucleotides must be matched with the DNA strand. Unfortunately the researchers do not have the DNA strands of each patient. In order to learn where the base pairs come from in the DNA strand, they must therefore use the reference genome of the human species.

“This is not ideal, because there are individual differences.”

The future potentially lies in fully sequencing the DNA of each patient when conducting medical experiments.

Supercomputing
There is no way the research can be carried out using pen and paper.

“We need powerful computers to crunch the enormous amounts of raw data. Even if you spent your whole life on this task, you would not be able to find the location of a single nucleotide. This is a matter of millions of nucleotides that must be mapped correctly in the system of coordinates of the genetic material. Once we have managed to find the RNA versions that are only found in cancer cells, we will have made significant progress. However, the work to get that far requires advanced statistical analyses and supercomputing,” says Rolf Skotheim.

The analyses are so demanding that the researchers must use the University’s supercomputer, which was ranked as one of the world’s fastest computers a few years ago. It is 10,000 times faster than a regular computer.

“With the ability to run heavy analyses on such large amounts of data, we have an enormous advantage not available to other cancer researchers. Many medical researchers would definitely benefit from this possibility. This is why they should spend more time with biostatisticians and informaticians. RNA samples are taken from the patients only once. The types of analyses that can be run are only limited by the imagination.”

“We need to be smart in order to analyse the raw data. There are enormous amounts of data here that can be interpreted in many different ways. We have just got started. There is lots of useful information that we have not seen yet. Asking the right questions is the key. Most cancer researchers are not used to working with enormous amounts of data, and how to best analyse vast data sets. Once researchers have found a possible answer, they must determine whether the answer is chance or if it is a real finding. The solution is to find out whether they get the same answers from independent data sets from other parts of the world.”

By Yngve Vogt

Partnership4Life – oncology session and opportunity to do 1:1 meetings

February 12, LMI, DNB Healthcare, AbbVie, Novartis and Pfizer hosts a one day seminar called A partnership for life in 2015 – How to develop a strong Norwegian biotechnology and health industry sector?

Oslo Cancer Cluster is well represented this day; we will host an oncology session and Jónas Einarsson, CEO Radium Hospital Research Foundation, will give a spech on Norwegian biotech and health industry from words to action. There will also be opportunity to do 1: 1 meetings with potential partners.

Global biotech and pharmaceutical industry, academia, financial institutions, investors, hospitals and politicians are invited to participate.

The program is twofold. Before lunch there will be an overarching focus with introductions and a panel discussion on this subject. After lunch there will be shorter seminars where different actors will exchange information and experiences.

Finally, it is allocated time for the 1: 1 meetings between potential partners. The day ends with dinner at Cafe Christiania in Oslo.

  • Register her
  • Register for 1:1 meetings by sending e-mail to monica@lmi.no to be put in contact with the international companies

PROGRAM
Forskningsparken, 12 February 2015

8:30 to 9:00 Registration and refreshments

9:00 to 9:15 Opening

9:15 to 9:30 Travelogue from Silicon Valley
Alexander Woxen, entrepreneur and investor

9:30 to 10:00 Introduction by Ministry of Economics
Dilek Ayhan, Secretary in the Ministry of Industry

10:00 to 10:15 Norwegian biotech and health industry from words to action
Jonas Einarsson, CEO Radium Hospital Research Foundation

10:15 to 11:30 Plenary Discussion: “How do we build a strong Norwegian biotech and health industry sector.”
Else-May Botten (AP)
Harald Tom Nesvik (FRP)
Trine Skei Grande (Left)
Karita Bekkemellem (LMI)
Benedicte Bakke (DNB)
Alexander Woxen (Investor)
Sander Tufte (Research)
Thomas Ramdahl (Bayer)

13.00 to 14.30 Parallel Sessions on 1 Public-private research collaborations and 2 Access to capital

14.30 to 15.00 Coffee and refreshments

15.00 to 16.30 Exchange of research ideas and focus. Introduction of national and international companies about their research focus. Parallel Sessions: Neuroscience and Oncology.

Session: Oncology

  • Elisabeth Kirkeng Andersen, Head of Communication in Oslo Cancer Cluster (chairperson)
  • Dr. Morten Sogaard, Vice President and Head Enterprise Scientific Technology Operations in Pfizer Worldwide R&D
  • Dr. Peter Schuld, Head of Medical Affairs Oncology Western European Cluster in Novartis
  • Dr. Anil Singahl, Vice President & Head, AbbVie biotherapeutics
  • Øyvind, Arnesen, CEO Ultimovacs
  • Konstantinos Alevizopoulos, CEO Apim Therapeutics

Session: Neuroscience

  • Leif Rune Skymoen, CEO Nansen Neuroscience Network
  • Dr Scott Brown, Vice President of Pharmaceutical Development in AbbVie
  • Dr. Morten Sogaard, Vice President and Head Enterprise Scientific Technology Operations in Pfizer Worldwide R & D

16.30 to 18.30 Possibility of 1-1 meetings between national and international companies
In agreement with the companies. Interested parties may send email to monica@lmi.no to be put in contact with the international companies.

19.00 to 22.30 Dinner at Cafe Christiania
Lower Vollgate 19, 0158 Oslo (Entrance from Stortingsgaten)

Vaccibody Granted Platform Patent in the US

Vaccibody AS, a biopharmaceutical company focusing on immunotherapy and vaccines, is pleased to announce that the U.S. Patent Office has Issued patent No. US 8,932,603 B2 covering the Vaccibody format which can be described as homodimeric modular constructs targeting vaccines to antigen presenting cells designed to increase the immune system’s antibody and T-cell responses. In December 2014 Vaccibody announced that the equivalent patent was granted by the European Patent Office.

 

This patent protects Vaccibody’s platform technology on which the company has based its lead drug candidate VB10.16 as well as the previously announced license agreement with the Phibro Animal Health Corporation, covering vaccines for poultry. The technology allows for the development of new and more efficient vaccines as well as new versions of existing vaccines with a need for improved efficacy.  It lends itself to therapeutic vaccines, such as cancer vaccines, as well as prophylactic (preventive) vaccines against infections.

The company will utilize its technology platform to develop human and veterinary Vaccibody vaccines both through developing its own drug pipeline as well as offering the pharmaceutical industry exclusive licenses to the technology platform.

The company’s lead product, VB10.16, is being developed as a DNA vaccine to prevent the development of and treat HPV16 induced pre-malignancies and malignancies. The first in man clinical trial is currently in late stage preparations. This initial clinical evaluation will aim to characterise the safety and immunogenicity of VB10.16 in HPV16 infected women with high grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (HSIL; CIN 2/3).

Tom Pike, Acting CEO of Vaccibody, commented: “This patent is a cornerstone in the protection of our novel technology platform, which is the discovery engine of Vaccibody’s own pipeline. We expect that it will also provide the basis for additional strategic partnerships with pharmaceutical companies in the future. Although Vaccibody has filed a number of additional patent applications offering several layers of protection to our pipeline and technology, this patent family is the first and thus represents an important milestone for the company.”

 

About Vaccibody AS
Vaccibody is a vaccine company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel 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 HPV induced  pre-malignancies and malignancies. A first-in-man study currently in preparation will evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of VB10.16 in women with high grade cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (HSIL; CIN 2/3) and is planned to be initiated early 2015. www.vaccibody.com

 

View presentations from Cancer Crosslinks

Cancer Crosslinks 2015 featured some very interesting, cutting-edge presentations from some of the leading cancer clinicians and researchers. Below we have published the presentations so you may watch them again or for the first time.

Presentations are published by courtesy of the lecturers.

 

 

 

 

 

Ultimovacs carries out NOK 45 million share issue with Canica AS and Sundt AS as the main investors

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Ultimovacs AS has carried out a successful NOK 45 million share issue with DNB Markets and Arctic Securities as financial advisors. The issue was fully subscribed by new shareholders. The two biggest new shareholders are Canica AS and Sundt AS.

 

The funds raised through the share issue will be used to implement and further develop the company’s programme to document the effect of its first product; the therapeutic cancer vaccine UV1. During the next two years, the company will complete and finish two clinical trials to show how UV1 activates the immune system.

In addition, Ultimovacs began a third trial in January 2015 to explore efficacy and safety of UV1 is in combination with another drug that also manipulates the immune system into attacking cancer cells. The new funds will also cover the costs of this trial and allow the company to establish and document a commercial-scale production process for UV1.

CEO Øyvind Kongstun Arnesen comments: ‘This share issue enables the company to maintain its strong professional focus as it continues its work on documenting efficacy and safety of UV1 is in cancer treatment. We are very pleased to have some of the strongest investment communities in Norway on our team. The new owners recognise the company’s ambitions to improve the current cancer treatment while developing a business enterprise with great potential.’

Canica looks forward to further developing Ultimovacs in cooperation with an expert community and a sound investor base. ‘We believe that the company is well placed to succeed with its innovative immunotherapy,’ says Nils Selte, CEO of Canica.

Leiv Askvig, CEO of Sundt, comments: ‘With its universal cancer vaccine, Ultimovacs has great potential, both when it comes to developing new cancer treatments to benefit patients and creating good value for shareholders.’

Ultimovacs is a biotechnology company that develops a therapeutic universal cancer vaccine. Such cancer treatment is not linked to a specific type of cancer, but has the potential to trigger a general immunologic reaction against cancer cells, regardless of the type of cancer. Stimulating the immune system to attack cancer cells is a revolutionary form of cancer treatment and a treatment principle in rapid international development. Several new treatments based on this principle have already been introduced, and the technology has the potential to greatly improve the treatment options available for cancer. The Norwegian academic communities and companies that belong to Oslo Cancer Cluster are world-leading in this field. Ultimovacs is one such company.

About Ultimovacs:

Ultimovacs AS was established by Inven2 in 2011. The company’s goal is to develop technology from the Norwegian Radium Hospital for use in cancer treatment and to make the treatment available to patients. The technology is based on the possibility of controlling the immune system to make it recognise and kill cancer cells.

Ultimovacs is carrying out three clinical trials intended to document that the company’s main product, UV1, can produce a controlled immune response and is safe to use, either alone or in combination with other drugs that also activate the immune system to attack cancer cells.

The biggest shareholders in the company are Gjelsten Holding AS, Inven2, Langøya Invest AS, Canica AS, Sundt AS and the Norwegian Radium Hospital Research Foundation. From July 2015, the company will be located in Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park at Montebello.

 

European Biotechnology Book 2015

HORN International is developing the 2nd edition of ‘European Biotechnology.’  The 2014 edition is available here.

The digital & hardback book will profile several countries, including main bio agencies and organizations, regional structures, IP, pricing & regulatory environments, MAHs, and bio-economy.  Each country will present 20-25 R&D-based companies in editorial format.

The books are given for free to cooperating European and national agencies & organizations, each country’s main bioregions, clusters, academic & research institutes, science parks, and embassies.  The publication will launch in November at BIO-Europe in Munich, as well as BIO-Europe Spring 2016, BIO International, and many others.  Based on demand, first print will increase from 20.000 to 30.000 copies.

Members of the Oslo Cancer Cluster are invited to participate with a discounted offer, and should email Chelsea Ranger, Life Science Project Manager, at chelsea@hornonline.com to reserve space.

 

References:

  • The digital book had over 44.000 viewers from 26 countries within two weeks of launching online, and held 18 of the Top 30 HORN-site trafficked sites in 2014.
  • 1500 books were distributed at the publications launch, BIO-Europe Frankfurt in November 2014
  • “ ‘European Biotechnology, A Medical Focus’ was for the Belgian life sciences community a piece of reference and high standard even before it was published. The collaboration with HORN Publishing was both constructive and inspiring and the response of the life sciences actors in Belgium to the opportunity to feature in this reference work was indeed overwhelming. It demonstrates the motivation of our actors but also the maturity of the Belgian cluster. The fact that we are anxious for the opportunity to be part of the next edition, is likely the best tribute to this wonderful initiative. The main challenge will be to find a picture to represent Belgium next time. But we will handle that with pleasure.”
    Henk Joos, Managing Director, FlandersBio

 

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator receives SIVA-funding

The governmental agency SIVA will support the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator with MNOK 15 over the next 10 years in order to develop cancer treatment from companies that spins out from strong cancer research.

– Oslo Cancer Cluster is leading within a research field that is of great importance for Norway and the World. An Incubator will contribute to more commersialisation, more start-ups and a faster way to the market, says Roy Strømsnes, Head of Communcation in Siva.

Bjørn Klem, General Manager of the Incubator, is very pleased with the support from Siva.

– The  support from SIVA is very important for us. The road to the market for cancer biotechs is demanding, and it is crucial to support the start-ups in the critical first years in order to create more succeful companies.

The Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator will be situated in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park, that will open in August 2015.

 


Read the press release here – Norwegian only:

Krafttak for norsk kreftindustri

 Siva støtter Oslo Cancer Cluster Inkubator med totalt 15 millioner til å utvikle kreftbehandling fra bedrifter som bygger på sterk norsk kreftforskning.

Hvert år får omtrent 30 000 nordmenn kreft. Ringvirkningene er store i kjølvannet av en slik beskjed, både for den det gjelder, familie, venner og jobb. Heldigvis blir mange friske eller lever godt med kreften.

Mest solgte i verden
Det er likevel mange kreftformer vi ikke klarer å behandle, og tradisjonell kreftbehandling som stråling og kjemoterapi har alvorlige bivirkninger. Dette er grunnen til at Oslo Cancer Cluster Inkubator åpner dørene neste år, med mål om å utvikle morgendagens kreftbehandling fra norsk kreftforskning i verdensklasse. Dette vil utgjøre en forskjell for kreftpasienter over hele verden, ikke bare i Norge.

Kreftmedisinen Algeta utviklet til behandling av menn mer prostatakreft med spredning som kom på markedet i 2013, var i 2014 den den femte mest solgte nye kreftmedisinen i verden. Dette viser hvor stort behov det er for nye, innovative behandlinger og at norske bedrifter er helt i front.

– Oslo Cancer Cluster er ledende innen et forskningsfelt som har enorm samfunnsverdi for Norge og verden. En inkubator vil bidra til mer kommersialisering, flere nyetableringer og raskere vei fra laboratorium til marked, sier Roy Strømsnes som er kommunikasjonsdirektør i Siva.

Skal få støtte til suksess
Oslo Cancer Cluster Inkubator skal hjelpe flere kreftselskaper å lykkes med å utvikle sin behandling av ulike kreftformer.

– Hos oss skal forskerne og gründerne få leie lab, kontorplass og samtidig ha tilgang til et nettverk av kompetansepersoner som de kan trekke på når de trenger det. Veien til markedet er krevende, og vi skal hjelpe bedriftene i den kritiske oppstartsfasen for å skape flere suksesbedrifter, sier Bjørn Klem som starter som leder av Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator i januar 2015.

Klem viser til at da det norske kreftselskapet Algeta ble solgt for 18 milliarder norske kroner til Bayer, så styrket den norske kronen seg.

Kommersialiseringsselskapet Inven2 mener Oslo Cancer Cluster Inkubator vil være med å bygge norsk helsindustri.

– Oslo Cancer Cluster Inkubator er en svært viktig byggestein på veien mot en slagkraftig helsenæring i Norge. Der vil oppstartselskaper møte stor industri og være tett på banebrytende kreftforskning, og inkubatoren vil gi dem større sjanser for å lykkes med å bringe nyttige produkter til markedet, sier Ole Kristian Hjelstuen, daglig leder i Inven2.

Betyr mye for pasientene
Oslo Cancer Cluster er overbevist om at inkubatoren som nå skal utvikles vil bety mye for kreftpasienter over hele verden.

– Vi er utrolig glad for denne støtten fra Siva, dette betyr mye for bransjen og vil bety mye for pasientene. Siva er også en av eierne av Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovasjonspark, som gjør at vi får samlet hele verdikjeden innen kreftforskning- og utvikling på ett sted i Oslo, sier Ketil Widerberg, leder av Oslo Cancer Cluster som er en nettverksforening som samler hele kreftmiljøet i Norge og knytter det opp mot lignende organisasjoner internasjonalt.

Oslo Cancer Cluster har siden 2010 hatt en liten inkubator i sine kontorlokaler på Lysaker og har bare god erfaringer med det.

– Vi ser at det å sitte sammen gir gunstige synergier og det er flere av selskapene som har kommet lengre enn antatt med utviklingen av sine kreftbehandlinger på grunn av dette, sier Widerberg.

Kontaktpersoner:

Oslo Cancer Cluster Inkubator:
Bjørn Klem // daglig leder // mobil: 92 41 61 56

Oslo Cancer Cluster:
Ketil Widerberg // daglig leder // 915 77 990

Siva
Roy Strømsnes // kommunikasjonsdirektør // 909 3 3 114
Om oss:

Oslo Cancer Cluster Inkubator

Oslo Cancer Cluster Inkubator tilbyr kontor og laboratorier til forskere og start-ups som utvikler kreftbehandling. I tillegg får leietagerne tilgang på et bredt nettverk av kompetente støttespillere. Målet til inkubatoren er å utvikle flere bedrifter fra norsk kreftforskning, samt bidra til at bedriftene lykkes. Det er per i dag noe ledige lokaler i Inkubatoren som åpner offisielt 24. august 2015.
www.occincubator.com

Oslo Cancer Cluster

Oslo Cancer Cluster er en not-for-profit medlemsorganisasjon som samler hele kreftmiljøet i Norge. Klyngen er i tillegg den eneste innen helse som har status som Norwegian Center for Expertise. Vår visjon er å akselerere utviklingen av morgendagens kreftbehandling til det beste for kreftpasientene. www.oslocancercluster.no

Siva

Siva gir næringslivet rom til å vokse gjennom å investere i eiendom, innovasjonsselskap og utvikling av oppstartsmiljø. Selskapets hovedmål er å utløse lønnsom næringsutvikling i bedrifter og regionale nærings- og kunnskapsmiljø. Siva er et statsforetak eid av Nærings- og fiskeridepartementet. www.siva.no

Inven2

Inven2 er innovasjonsselskapet til Oslo universitetssykehus og Universitetet i Oslo, og kommersialiserer idéer fra forskningen. I 2013 opprettet Inven2 syv selskaper og inngikk 31 lisensavtaler. Selskapsporteføljen til Inven2 er på 32 selskaper og er nå verdt 1,6 milliarder kroner, inkludert en rekke selskaper som utvikler legemidler mot kreft. www.inven2.no

 

Photocure: Green light for phase 3 in the U.S

Photocure ASA, a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on photodynamic technologies in dermatology and cancer, announces the conclusion of the Phase 2 program, and FDA clearance to prepare Phase 3 protocol for the clinical development of Cevira, the innovative breakthrough for the treatment of precancerous lesions of the cervix.

The conclusion of a Phase 2 meeting with the FDA confirmed that the Phase 2 data supports the proposed Phase 3 program, and are sufficiently robust to continue the development of Cevira. Following a guidance meeting with FDA in December 2014, Photocure completed the re-analysis of the Phase 2b data as requested by the Agency. The re-analysis included a new panel read pathology assessment and applying new clinical success criteria in the end-point definition. The re-analysis demonstrated that Cevira provides improved treatment efficacy compared to placebo among patients with cervical high grade lesions (HSIL). Photocure discussed the results, including target population and statistical sample size, in the FDA meeting in early December.

Kjetil Hestdal, President and CEO of Photocure, said:  “With End of Phase 2 achieved for Cevira in the U.S., together with the support achieved through Scientific Advice in key European markets to progress to Phase 3 in women with HSIL (CIN2), Photocure has reached an important milestone in the development of Cevira.

Cevira has the potential to treat HPV induced cervical high grade disease and prevent the development of cervical cancer which affects more than 500 000 women annually. We will continue discussions with leading companies in women’s healthcare to secure a strategic partnership that will assist in the Phase 3 development and commercialization of Cevira.“

Following the positive outcome of the meeting with the FDA, Photocure plans to submit the proposed Phase 3 protocol for a detailed Special Protocol Assessment (SPA) to the FDA first half 2015.

www.photocure.com

Oslo Cancer Cluster`s start-ups highlighted in investor report

A recent analysis from the audit and advisory company EY is cautiously optimistic on behalf of startup companies in the Nordic Life Science industry – and points to possibilities within Oslo Cancer Cluster.

The analysis, which was commissioned by Norwegian Investinor and Swedish Industrifonden, points to four segments in the Nordic life science market that has the most mature startup companies, and thus are believed to be most attractive for investments: oncology (cancer treatment), inflammation treatment, niche products and imaging. From these segments, several startup companies have already appeared. They have also raised substantial capital.

Some Norwegian examples are Nordic Nanovector, BerGenBio and Targovax, which has raised a total of NOK 485 million in 2014 .These companies are all members of Oslo Cancer Cluster, developing cancer treatments using different technologies.

Excellent quality of research
The strength of the Nordic life science industry is the quality of the research performed, especially in some selected clusters, such as the Oslo Cancer Cluster. Scientific development is a key driver for innovation in the highly regulated pharmaceutical industry.

The biggest concern among life science industry players interviewed in the survey is however, the attention from investors, especially from professional investors with industry insights, which can handle the risks of investing in the earliest stages of company development.

─ The early phase of life science involves great risk, but can also give great returns, so investors should pay close attention to what is now happening in Oslo Cancer Cluster and corresponding clusters, says Ann- Tove Kongsnes, Investment Director of Investinor.

Investinor actively works to attract more foreign investors to Norwegian life science industry, and has also made ​​two investments together with Swedish Industrifonden in Oslo Cancer Cluster members Smartfish and Pharmalink.

 

 

 

 

Oslo Cancer Cluster events on World Cancer Day

February 4th is World Cancer Day. Oslo Cancer Cluster will pay tribute to this day by arranging a breakfast meeting at Litteraturhuset together with LMI. This breakfast meeting is the first of a series of three political breakfast meetings in 2015, addressing  the topic “Future cancer treatment – how to secure Norwegian cancer patients the best treatment in the future?”

Our first breakfast meeting on World Cancer Day, February 4th, address “clinical cancer studies”: Why is clinical cancer studies important to convey in Norway, what are the unique advantages for conducting studies in Norway and in what way are experimental cancer studies a vital part of access to the latest treatment available for cancer patients not responding to standard treatments.

The political breakfast meetings aim to contribute to ensure that Norwegian cancer patients receive a treatment that is on par with the best internationally, to ensure political involvement and come up with concrete proposals for improving the framework conditions for Norwegian cancer research- and treatment.

Target groups for the meetings are health politicians and authorities, members companies from Oslo Cancer Cluster and LMI, patients and everyone interested in the topics.

The meeting is open for the public and free of charge. Please register here.

 

Afternoon member meeting
On World Cancer Day we also arrange the first member meeting of 2015, addressing the topic og conjugated antibodies. Program will follow – but you may already register here. Please note that this is a meeting only for members of the Oslo Cancer Cluster.

 

 

BerGenBio Completes NOK90 Million Fundraising

Oslo Cancer Cluster member BerGenBio AS, a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing innovative drugs for aggressive drug resistant cancers, announces that it has raised NOK90 million (c. $15 million) in a private placing from new and existing investors.

BerGenBio will use the proceeds from the financing to support the development of its pipeline of innovative cancer therapeutics, in particular an enlarged clinical development program for its lead drug candidate, BGB324, a first-in-class selective Axl kinase inhibitor, which is currently in Phase 1b clinical trials for patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

Richard Godfrey, Chief Executive Officer of BerGenBio, commented:

“I am delighted we have received continued funding support for the Company and our clinical development plans for BGB324. Our recent research findings have shown broader potential clinical application for BGB324, and we intend to evaluate these in additional Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials starting in 2015. In aggressive drug resistant cancers our on-going Phase 1b trial in AML is expected to report towards the end of 2015 and in non-small-cell-lung-cancer we will start enrolling patients very soon.”

Ann-Tove Kongsnes, Investor Director at Investinor, commented:

“We are very satisfied with the development of BerGenBio and its exciting pipeline of first-in-class cancer therapies. In the near future we see attractive opportunities for value uplift in the Company and are pleased to support the business.”

Arctic Securities AS acted as sole bookrunner for the private placement.

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 drug-resistance and metastasis.

About BerGenBio AS
BerGenBio AS is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company. The Company is committed to developing innovative therapeutics that inhibit EMT, prevent the formation of cancer stem cells and disrupt the cellular mechanisms that drive acquired cancer drug resistance. The Company is founded on proprietary platform technology, CellSelect™, which uses information from RNAi screening studies to identify and validate novel drug targets and biomarkers. BGB324 is the first compound in BerGenBio’s pipeline to enter clinical trials in AML and soon NSCLC, with additional compounds and drug targets at different stages of preclinical development. www.bergenbio.com

Career Day at University of Oslo

Real Karriere is the meeting arena for industry and companies and the students within technolgy and natural sciences at the University of Oslo. February 12 Real Karriere invites companies to have a stand, set up speed-dates with students and/or present them selves. 

Please find more information here:

You may register your company here: https://nettskjema.uio.no/answer/60769.html

Questions regarding this event may be adressed to:
Kristina E. Sæterdal, e-mail: realkarriere@mn.uio.no, mbile: +47 95819674 web page: uio.no/realkarriere

 


Real Karriere ved Universitetet i Oslo er en kontaktarena for bedrifter og våre studenter innen realfag og teknologi.

Ved å delta på Real Karriere kan du profilere din bedrift gjennom:
● Stand
● Speed-intervjuer i egne lokaler med påmeldte studenter
● Bedriftspresentasjoner

Alt vil skje i Vilhelm Bjerkes’ hus.

Opplegg for dagen:
12.00 Åpning av standområdet. Servering av kaffe og kake
16.00 Mingling i studentkjelleren med matservering, underholdning og premieutdeling.

For å gjøre denne dagen mer attraktiv for begge parter ønsker vi at:
● Dere har informasjon om mulige sommerjobber og/eller faste jobber om dette er mulig
● Dere er tydelige på kompetansen dere søker
● Hold gjerne egen konkurranse på standen, der premien blir delt ut under minglingen

Vi vil fra vår side forberede studentene best mulig for denne dagen.

Meld på din bedrift via nettskjema: https://nettskjema.uio.no/answer/60769.html

Ved spørsmål, kontakt: Kristina E. Sæterdal, realkarriere@mn.uio.no, 95819674 Nettside: uio.no/realkarriere

Priser
Prisene (ekskl. moms) inkluderer profilering av bedriften i forkant av arrangementet og matservering.
– Stand, 2 meter bred: 6 000,-
– Stand, 3 meter bred: 10 000,-
– Speed-intervju: 3000,-
– Bedriftspresentasjon (20 min): 5000,-

Profilering: Som deltaker på Real Karriere vil din bedrift profileres på nettsider og i brosjyren som deles ut til studentene.

The investment in proton therapy for cancer

Written by Prof. Stein Kvaløy, senior physician and Head of Research at the Division of Cancer, Surgery and Transplantation, Oslo University Hospital and University of Oslo.
First featured in forskning.no


In 2012 there were just above 30,000 new cancer cases in Norway. The number of cases is increasing by 1-2 percent each year, so that more than 40,000 cases are expected in 2030.

More cancer survivors

Fortunately, treatment results are improving. During my time as a cancer specialist (from 1976) the healing improved significantly – from 40 percent survival to 70 percent for both men and women. There are several reasons for this improvement.

We can roughly divide cancer treatments into three methods; surgery, radiation therapy and medication. Nowadays various specialists jointly discuss the treatment program and the best use of the three modalities of treatment for each case. Often will all three methods be used in a well-planned combination to best suit the patient. This is referred to as a multi-disciplinary approach.

Radiotherapy is used both as treatment for cancer cure and for symptomatic relief. This is a local treatment with photon beams that have high enough energy to reach tumors located deep inside the body. This procedure resembles the similar idea of surgery, sterilization and removal of the tumor with minimal damage to the healthy tissue located around a tumor. Modern radiation machines allow optimization of the radiation dose against the tumor and thus reduce the dose for the healthy tissue. Damage of the healthy tissue cannot, however, be completely avoided and is the “price” one must pay to stay healthy. My impression is that most patients understand and accept this if they are informed about it.

Radiation can cause damage

As more patients are cured and we gather observations over a long time period (more than 20 years), we see that patients can develop long-term side effects and damage due to the treatment they received a long time ago. This may often be as far back in time that one no longer sees the connection to previously given treatment. Such an example is patients who received radiation therapy for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Some of these patients may among other things suffer of heart disease which results in significant distress and reduced quality of life. It is important to emphasize that this is not due to errors in medical treatment.

Proton treatment reduces side effects

Other types of radiation therapy that can reduce side effects do exist nowadays. The development of radiation devices that can provide particle irradiation with protons or ions has been tremendous in recent decades. It is like shooting at the tumor with small bullets. The particles can be more precisely directed at the tumor, and the biggest benefit of this is that we can reduce the dose to the healthy tissue.

This reduces short-term and long-term side effects, which for some patients implies avoiding a new disease after being cured of cancer. However, it should be mentioned that not all cancer patients will benefit from this type of radiation therapy compared with current treatment.

Where radiation center be placed?

A national team of specialists have worked with the question of whether we should get proton therapy to Norway. The group agreed on the idea and has estimated that 8-10 percent of cancer patients who should have radiotherapy should get it as proton therapy.

This would be applicable for approximately 12-1500 of cancer patients each year. International estimates are somewhat higher. Benefits will probably be greatest for children and adolescents who have a long life expectancy.

Why not just do it? The health benefits seem obvious. The Ministry of Health and Care Services gave a remarkably quick positive signal to the establishment of costly buildings and equipment.

It is now being examined how construction should be carried out.  All regional health authorities are included in these plans. The South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority has a group working on plans to add such a facility to Oslo University Hospital.

The main question has been localization: Should the unit be established in hospitals that already offer radiotherapy (such as Radium Hospital or Ullevål Hospital), or should we adapt a new center with proton facility into the plans for the new OUS – Campus in Oslo? There are drafts for different exciting localization possibilities at Rikshospitalet. This is exciting plans.
It is clear that we must consider carefully the appropriate location for such a large investment (about two billion NOK). It is important that the plans for OUS-Campus, do not delay the establishment of a proton facility in Oslo University Hospital, which at the earliest could be completed in 2020.

This has great significance for the individual patient.

 

Winners of Immuno-Oncology Call are: BerGenBio, Targovax and Ultimovacs

By deadline November 15, Oslo Cancer Cluster had received 9 applications for collaborative innovation projects addressing our Immuno-Oncology call on MNOK 1, 2.  From these,  three winners have been chosen, and those are: BerGen Bio, Targovax and Ultimovacs. Each company will receive MNOK 0,4 from Innovation Norway.

 

BergenBio will use the funding to prove that Axl kinase inhibition may provoke anti-tumour immune response
BerGenBio receives funding for the project Enhanced tumor immune activation by clinical Axl‐targeting agents, with partners from the University of Bergen, Oslo University Hospital and University of Texas. The goal of this project is to demonstrate that Axl receptor inhibition potentiates anti-­‐tumor immune responses against poorly immunogenic cancers and to develop improved clinical immunotherapeutic strategies based on Axl targeting.

– BerGenBio are very pleased to be one of the three companies to win an I-O innovation project. The award will allow the company to demonstrate that Axl kinase inhibition can play a key role in provoking anti-tumour immune response, and thus may be a valuable immunotherapy target. BerGenBio is a leader in the field of Axl kinase biology and the Company’s clinical candidate, BGB324, is the first selective Axl kinase inhibitor to be tested in the clinic, says Richard Godfrey, CEO BerGen Bio.
Targovax awarded an immuno-oncology innovation prize
The Immuno-Oncology prize from Oslo Cancer Cluster will contribute to the funding of Targovax´s development of new cancer vaccines, with focus on the new peptide vaccine TG03 for treatment of RAS mutated malignant melanoma.

– Targovax is proud to receive this prize and wants to thank Oslo Cancer Cluster for the grant.  This is a great acknowledgement and support of Targovax’s work to develop the new cancer vaccines in pipeline towards clinical testing, says Hanne Mette Kristensen, CEO Targovax.

 

Ultimovacs will use the funding to develop novel cancer therapy
Ultimovacs receives funding for the prjoect Re-targeting T-cells against cancer – development of T-cell receptors directed against telomerase, with partner Oslo University Hospital. The overall goal of the project is to develop novel cancer therapy by reprogramming immune cells to target the universal tumour antigen telomerase.

– Ultimovacs are very happy and proud to be one of the winners of this funding granted by Oslo Cancer Cluster and Innovation Norway. The funding gives us the opportunity to expand our technological platform. This project has the potential to combine vaccine technology and cell therapy in the treatment of patients with advanced cancer. The research is an example of the strength of collaboration between industry and academia, says Øyvind Arnesen, CEO Ultimovacs.

 

Strength within Immuno-Oncology in Norway proven
Jutta Heix, International Advisor in Oslo Cancer Cluster and project coordinator of the Norwegian Immuno-Oncology Consortium, is very pleased with this years call.

– We are very pleased about the significant interest and very positive feedback from our members for this funding opportunity. The number and quality of the applications and the breadth of the topics confirms the particular strength in the cancer immunotherapy area in Norway. Based on the feedback from last year’s winners we know that the funding despite the relatively small amount, truly makes a difference and helps to advance the immuno-oncology portfolio within the cluster. Therefore we continuously work to increase the funding available for our members, says Jutta Heix, International Advisor in Oslo Cancer Cluster.

 

 

Nordic Nanovector And Affibody Collaborate On Radio-Immunotherapies Program For Multiple Myeloma

Nordic Nanovector ASA and Affibody AB today announced that the companies have entered into a three-year collaborative research agreement to discover and develop new advanced radio-immunotherapies (RIT) for multiple myeloma.

Backed by a Eurostars grant, the project will combine Affibody’s proprietary platforms with Nordic Nanovector’s radioimmunotherapy technology. The project aims to provide documentation necessary to start GMP manufacturing of the Affibody®-based RIT and subsequently start clinical trials. The companies have also been awarded approximately €1m in total by Vinnova in Sweden and The Norwegian Research Council in Norway.

Upon a successful conclusion of the collaboration Nordic Nanovector will have the opportunity to license the global rights to the Affibody®-based RIT. The development of an Affibody®-based RIT treatment represents a distinct work stream to be carried out in parallel with Nordic Nanvector’s lead product candidate Betalutin™ for non-Hodgkin Lymphoma treatment.

Luigi Costa, Nordic Nanovector CEO commented, “The collaboration with Affibody will allow Nordic Nanovector to expand its product pipeline, while at the same time retaining full focus on the clinical development and commercialization of our lead product candidate, Betalutin™. This collaboration serves as an example of how the company intends to leverage its proprietary targeting technology to treat other hematological cancers in need of novel therapeutic approaches. “

David Bejker, Affibody CEO commented, ”We are delighted to enter into this agreement with Nordic Nanovector and see RIT’s as an area with great potential and a logical continuation of some of our research. The Eurostars platform offers an excellent way for two companies with complementary technologies to collaborate and bring novel therapeutics to market and for Affibody, this comes on top of a year of increased uptake for our platform.”

 

More information:

Affibody
Affibody is a Swedish biotech company focused on developing next generation biopharmaceuticals based on its unique proprietary technology platforms: Affibody® molecules and Albumod™. Affibody is developing a portfolio of innovative drug projects and, in addition, offers the half-life extension technology, Albumod™, for outlicensing.

Affibody has ongoing commercial relationships with several companies including Algeta, Amylin, Sobi, Daiichi-Sankyo, Daewoong, GE, and Thermo Fisher.

Affibody was founded in 1998 by researchers from the Royal Institute of Technology and the Karolinska Institute and is based in Stockholm, Sweden. Major shareholders in the Company include HealthCap and Investor AB. Further information can be found at: www.affibody.com.

 

Nordic Nanovector

Nordic Nanovector ASA is a privately held company established in 2009. The company is developing innovative radioimmunotherapeutics to treat non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) and other difficult to treat cancers. Nordic Nanovector intends to commercialise its product candidates through strategic alliances and partnerships with experienced oncology businesses and by establishing its own sales and marketing capabilities in selected markets. The company is based and has offices and laboratories in Oslo, Norway.

The company’s lead product candidate, Betalutin™, is a radioimmunotherapeutic that aims to prolong and improve the quality of life of people who suffer from NHL. Further information can be found at: www.nordicnanovector.com.

Oslo Cancer Cluster members will be featured in Nordic Life Science Database

Biotechgate welcomes the three Norwegian partners Innovation Norway, Oslo Cancer Cluster and Nansen Neuroscience Network. This partnership further completes the Nordic Life Sciences Database which allows users to search for companies in the Biotech, Pharma and Medtech area.

More than 170 Norwegian companies can currently be found in the Nordic Life Sciences Database (www.nordic-lifesciences.com). All profiles are updated continuously and the database will be further completed with new profiles over the next months. Due to the partnerships with Innovation Norway, Oslo Cancer Cluster and Nansen Neuroscience Network, the database can be used free of charge. It is also possible for companies to publish their profile at no cost.

Thanks to additional partners from Sweden and Denmark, also Swedish and Danish profiles can be found and viewed for free on the Nordic Life Sciences Database. The portal is part of Biotechgate, a global life science directory which provides information such as product pipelines, management contact details, financing information and much more of more than 30,000 companies in the Biotech, Pharma and Medtech space. Thanks to various search features the information is easily accessible.

“Being the primary government agency for industry development, it is a priority for Innovation Norway to promote our prosperous life science community. Norway has close to 200 companies depending on biotechnology in their daily business and a total of more than 400 companies when looking at life sciences at large. We are very pleased to enter into this collaboration with Biotechgate together with our most prominent biomedical clusters in oncology and neuroscience, respectively.”
Ole Jørgen Marvik, Sector Head, Health and Life Sciences, Innovation Norway

“Oslo Cancer Cluster is very pleased to have teamed up with Venture Valuation to profile our members through Biotechgate. We are reassured that this gives our SME-members a great exposure to the international VC and pharma milieu, which is important in our work to build a Norwegian Healthcare Industry.”
Ketil Widerberg, General Manager, Oslo Cancer Cluster

“Our companies work to address important and complex challenges. Success will require collaborations and partnerships, and we believe that Biotechgate can be a powerful tool to help build those. We look forward to offering this to our members.”
Leif Rune Skymoen, CEO of Nansen Neuroscience Network

“We are more than happy to close this gap in the Nordic Life Science Database. We are sure that having the Norwegian company profiles available on the database, will be a great contribution to all kind of actors active in the life sciences field – inside and outside of Norway and Scandinavia.”
Jost Renggli, COO, Venture Valuation / Biotechgate

 

Registration for Cancer Crosslinks 2015 is open

Cancer Crosslinks 2015 will be held January 15th at The Institute for Cancer Research at the Norwegian Radium Hospital. The program features several renowned international speakers as well as Norwegian experts. Main theme is “Novel insights into tumor heterogeneity and clonal evolution: how to design treatment and follow-up strategies”.

 

  • Program and registration form (close to the bottom of the page)
    Since the auditorium is usually fully booked for this event we limit the number of participants per company  to 2 people in the main auditorium. However,additional participants may follow the program from the seminar rooms and participate at lunch and networking parts. The meeting will also be streamed.

 

Exciting program bridging latest research and clinican implementation
In the first part of the program, international and Norwegian clinicians and researchers will discuss the clinical impact of approaches as single cell sequencing and liquid biopsies across different tumor types. We look forward to welcoming our keynote speakers Professor Nicholas Navin from MD Anderson and Professor Klaus Pantel from the University Hospital Hamburg–Eppendorf working at the international forefront in their fields

The second part deals with emerging treatment strategies integrating novel insights into tumor heterogeneity and building on both, molelularly targeted therapies and emerging cancer immunotherapies. You have the opportunity to hear recent insights from various tumor types and to discuss novel opportunities but also the challenges faced during the clinical implementation with our international and Norwegian speakers.

The third part is dedicated the patients perspective, where Anniken Golf Rokseth will share her story reminding all of us why we are putting our efforts into this area every day.

 

Welcome for the 7th time
Cancer Crosslinks 2015 is the seventh edition of this national meeting. This year’s event is hosted and developed in collaboration with BMS, Roche and the Norwegian Cancer Society. We thank our Program Committee with Bjørn Tore Gjertsen, Hans Petter Eikesdal, Christian Kersten and Ragnhild Lothe for their important contributions to the program development.

Call in Immuno-Oncology: 9 applications received

By deadline November 15, Oslo Cancer Cluster received 9 applications for collaborative innovation projects addressing our Immuno-Oncology call on MNOK 1, 2. The applications are now being evaluated and the winners will be announced on Oslo Cancer Cluster`s Christmas Meeting, December 1st.

– We are very pleased about the significant interest and very positive feedback from our members for this funding opportunity. The number and quality of the applications and the breadth of the topics confirms the particular strength in the cancer immunotherapy area in Norway. Based on the feedback from last year’s winners we know that the funding despite the relatively small amount, truly makes a difference and helps to advance the immuno-oncology portfolio within the cluster. Therefore we continuously work to increase the funding available for our members, says Jutta Heix, International Advisor in Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Evaluation process

A selection committee with representatives from Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, Innovation Norway, with academic, clinical and financing experts as advisors will review the applications. Projects are selected based on their novelty, commercial potential and feasibility. It is important that the funding must make a significant difference for the applicant. This can be in the sense that the project will not be materialized without the funding or that the project will be better (e.g. broader in scope or deeper in its investigation. In addition all applications are reviewed by Innovation Norway to see if they qualify for other funding schemes

 

Questions?

Invitation: Career day at NTNU

Volvox&Alkymisten is the society for chemists, biologists and biotechnologists studying at NTNU in Trondheim. Januray 22, 2015 Volvox&Alkymisten host a career day named VIVO, and they invite members of the Oslo Cancer Cluster to attend and also to present themselves.

Please find more information here:

Questions regarding this event may be adressed to:

Sigrid Ruyter Smolan: +47 93292182 //srsmolan@gmail.com

Gunnar Gårdemyr appointed CEO in Targovax

The board of Targovax is pleased to announce Mr. Gunnar Gårdemyr as the new CEO from January 12th, 2015.

Mr Gårdemyr has more than 30 years of international experience from the pharmaceutical and biotech industry. His experience includes management, business development, mergers & acquisitions, global marketing and commercial strategy. He holds the position as Corporate Advisor for Acino Pharma in Basel, Switzerland today. Prior to this position, he was Senior Vice President, Corporate Development/M&A, Global Business Development, Nycomed and Senior Vice President, Global Marketing, Takeda in Zurich, Switzerland, where he was in charge of the commercial assessment of external business development licensing opportunities.

Mr Gårdemyr started his career in Astra, followed by Ferring, Tigran Technologies and Retinalyze.

He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Economics from the University of Lund, Sweden.

Jónas Einarsson, Chairman of Targovax, says, “We are delighted to welcome Gunnar Gårdemyr to Targovax. Our ability to attract an experienced industry executive with Gunnar’s track record and knowledge reflects Targovax` potential. His leadership will accelerate the company’s further development”.

“We are very grateful to Hanne Mette D. Kristensen for her contribution by leading Targovax from establishment to a phase II company”, says Jónas Einarsson.

 

Facts:

Targovax
Targovax was established in October in 2010 to develop immunotherapy in the form of therapeutic cancer vaccines based on pioneering research at the Norwegian Radium Hospital and Norsk Hydro. Mutation of RAS is an early mutation in the transformation of a normal cell into a cancer cell. Lead candidate TG01 educates the body’s immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells with RAS mutations. TG01 has Orphan Drug status for pancreatic cancer in the EU and US and is currently in Phase II trials in operated pancreatic cancer, patients start treatment up to 12 weeks after surgery. The company is located in Lysaker, close to Oslo, Norway.
www.targovax.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BerGenBio Announces First Patient Dosed in BGB324 AML Trial

Oslo Cancer Cluster member BerGenBio AS announces first patient dosed in its multi-centre Phase 1b trial (BGBC003) of BGB324, a selective inhibitor of Axl, in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) at Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen, Norway.

The two part Phase 1b trial will primarily investigate the safety and tolerability of BGB324 when administered as a single agent and in combination with standard of care drug (cytarabine) in patients with AML; secondary endpoints will also explore evidence of clinical response and assess novel biomarkers. The study will be conducted at six sites in Norway, Germany and the United States. The Company expects data to be available from this trial in 2015.

Professor Bjørn Tore Gjertsen, Principal Investigator at Haukeland University Hospital, said:

“BGB324 is a potential breakthrough treatment for patients with aggressive AML, and it is particularly encouraging that a forward-thinking biotech company like BerGenBio prioritised a trial for patients with this aggressive blood cancer. I am delighted that I am able to offer this experimental drug to my patients and to allow us to test a novel therapeutic concept in patients that have limited treatment options.”

Richard Godfrey, Chief Executive Officer of BerGenBio, commented:

“We continue to progress BGB324, our first-in-class selective Axl inhibitor, through early clinical development; recently we also received FDA clearance and this trial will open imminently in the United States and at sites in Germany. The novel mechanism of action of this class of drugs holds great potential as a treatment for many aggressive drug resistant cancers; we will also investigate BGB324 in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Therefore we see successful completion of this study as a key value inflection point for the Company. We expect preliminary data from these studies in 2015.”

About the BGBC003 trial
BGBC003 is a multi-centre Phase 1b trial of BGB324, a selective inhibitor of Axl, in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) The two part Phase 1b trial will investigate dose escalation and expansion of BGB324 in patients with refractory/relapsed AML an aggressive form of cancer in which certain types of white blood cells (granulocytes or monocytes) become cancerous, at six sites in three countries.

The primary objective of the first part of the trial is to identify the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of BGB324 and the secondary objectives are to identify the dose limiting toxicity (DLT), safety and tolerability and confirm the pharmacokinetics of the drug candidate. The primary objective of the second part of the trial is to identify the safety, and tolerability of BGB324, as a single agent and in combination with low dose cytarabine, with a secondary objective of determining the efficacy of BGB324 as a single agent and in combination with low dose cytarabine.

 

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 drug-resistance and metastasis.

 

About Acute myeloid leukaemia
Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is an aggressive cancer of the blood and bone marrow. It is characterised by the rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells that accumulate in the bone marrow and prevent the production of other normal blood cells. It is estimated that 1 in 243 people will be diagnosed with AML during their lifetime. In the United States, the five-year overall survival is 24%. It is estimated that 40-45% of patients younger than 65 years can be cured with current therapies, however only 10% of older patients achieve long-term survival. BerGenBio has shown that more than 50% of AML patients have elevated levels of Axl and by inhibiting Axl with BGB324 in preclinical studies a substantial and potentially therapeutic reduction in leukaemic burden can be achieved.

 

About BerGenBio AS
BerGenBio AS is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company. The company is committed to developing innovative therapeutics that inhibit EMT, prevent the formation of cancer stem cells and disrupt the cellular mechanisms that drive acquired cancer drug resistance. The company is founded on proprietary platform technology, CellSelect™, which uses information from RNAi screening studies to identify and validate novel drug targets and biomarkers. BGB324 is the first compound in BerGenBio’s pipeline to enter clinical trials in AML and NSCLC, with additional compounds and drug targets at different stages of preclinical development.

www.bergenbio.com

 

Targovax AS has reached primary endpoint in ongoing phase I/II trial

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Targovax AS has reached an important milestone in the ongoing clinical trial investigating its cancer vaccine TG01 for treatment of operable pancreatic cancer.

Targovax announces that the primary endpoint for the ongoing phase I/II clinical trial CT TG01-01, regarding immune response and side effects, is already reached. Recruitment of patients for the clinical trial will continue according to protocol and plan as basis for readout of secondary endpoints.

Immunotherapeutic cancer vaccines
Targovax was established in October in 2010 to develop immunotherapy in the form of therapeutic cancer vaccines based on pioneering research at the Norwegian Radium Hospital and Norsk Hydro. Mutation of RAS is an early mutation in the transformation of a normal cell into a cancer cell. Lead candidate TG01 educates the body’s immune system to recognize and kill cancer cells with RAS mutations.

TG01 has Orphan Drug status for pancreatic cancer in the EU and US and is currently in Phase II trials in operated pancreatic cancer, patients start treatment up to 12 weeks after surgery. The company is located in Lysaker, close to Oslo, Norway.

 

FACTS

Immuno- oncology / Cancer vaccines
The Norwegian cancer research community has been in the forefront of understanding the mechanisms for immuno-oncology and cancer vaccines. A cancer vaccine educates the body’s immune system to recognize and kill the cancer cells. The TG01 vaccine is therapeutic and is given as treatment to patients after surgery of cancer patients, to prevent relapse.

Pancreas cancer and other RAS-mutated cancer forms
Pancreatic cancer is a disease affecting 116 000 patients each year in EU and USA, and approximately 690 persons each year in Norway. Approx 15-20% of these are discovered at an early stage and are operable. The mortality is high, and the prognosis for these patients has been more or less unchanged the last 30 years. Approximately 80-90% of patients with pancreatic cancer have RAS mutations in the cancer cells.
RAS mutations occur in approx. 20% of all cancer cases, and are also frequent in colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and other cancers. Patients with RAS mutations within these indications have proved to be difficult to treat with current treatments, and there is a significant unmet medical need.

Innovation Camp on personalized cancer medicine

Almost 350 students at Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences was engaged in last weeks Innovation Camp where they were asked to come up with original ideas on how to communicate personalized cancer medicine.

Photo: Cicilie S. Andersen/Khrono

 

Last week Oslo Cancer Cluster, Young Entrepreneurship Oslo, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HIOA) and researchers from Institute for Cancer Research at Oslo University Hospital teamed up. The reason for teaming up was this year’s Innovation Camp at HIOA for no less than 350 students from the faculties of both health and engineering. In collaboration, we had decided to let the students solve the following task in only 24 hours:

“It is important to give correct and realistic information about what personalized cancer medicine is. Please develop a (physical) product that communicates the essence of what personalized cancer medicine is. Please define your target group, for example students, adults, elderly, health personnel or politicians.”

The students were divided into groups of 4-5 people randomly – and then had 24 hours to come up with an idea, make a business plan and pitch it in a semi-finale before a jury.

 

Challenging assignment

The students were taken a bit back about the assignment at first – thinking it was almost impossible to solve. How ever it turned out that they were much clever than they thought them selves.

Before the assignment was presented they had been given a lecture on innovation and creativity by Kim Østberg Larsen from Young Entrepreneurship Oslo and a lecture on the concept of personalized cancer medicine from Leonardo Meza-Zepeda – plus a lecture on how cancer patient are treated with drugs that are classified as personalized by clinician Åslaug Helleland.

As Meza-Zepeda pointed out – the concept of personalized cancer medicine is unknow even for most of health personell – so there is a great need for communicating what this is, what is the upside are and of course the limitations.

 

Interactive game with cartoon caracters
After a hectic semi-finale round with more than 60 groups pitching in three parallel sessions, 9 groups where selected to go to the grand finale. Common for the groups that were selected was originality and a good understanding of the assignment and a good idea to solve it.

The jury decided on the three differet winners of the awards “Best Pitch”, “Best Innovation” and “Overall winner”.

The “Overall winner” turned out to be the same as the winner of the “Audience Award” that all the participants voted on. This was group nr. 1. They suggested to develop an interactive game for children diagnosed with cancer, using known and loved cartoon characters – where the children could play doctors combating cancer. As the group pointed out in their presentation: this would empower the children whilst giving them both knowledge and comfort.

The winners get an “Innovation Lunch” with the cancer researchers at Oslo University Hospital, including a guided tour to their labs and also inside the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park that is being built now.

 

Please read more about the Innovation Camp here:

 

 

 

 

4 new members in Oslo Cancer Cluster

Oslo Cancer Cluster would like to welcome our four new members on board: DNB Bank, Oslo and Akershus University College: Faculty of Health Sciences, Scandinavian Development Services and Prostataklinikken.

Read more about them here:

 

DNB Bank ASA

“DNB is a leading international bank within certain industries playing a significant role in financing and facilitating the Nordic and international health care sector. DNB Healthcare’s focus in the Nordic region includes companies in the range from small biotech companies to large pharmaceutical companies.  We serve these relationships with a broad range of products, including M&A advisory, equity issues, financing and cash management solutions. Internationally we have more than 50 relationships, including some of the largest healthcare companies in the world. DNB Healthcare mainly focus on pharma, medtech and diagnostic companies, and we work closely with our customers to find the best solutions based on their specific needs. Our teams are recognized as highly skilled and dedicated with extensive industrial, financing and M&A competence. This enable DNB Healthcare to be a valuable partner in strategic and financial discussions.”

Contact person: Benedicte Bakke, Senior Advisor
+47 934 44 029 // benedicte.bakke@dnb.no

 

Oslo and Akershus University College, Faculty of Health Sciences

Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HiOA) is Norway’s largest state university college, with a student body of 16 000 students and 1 850 employees. The Faculty of Health Sciences consists of seven departments and offers study programmes on all levels, including two PhD programmes. The faculty has about 5300 students and nearly 530 members of staff.

Contact person: Trine B. Haugen, Vice-Dean R&D, Professor
+47 672 36 104 // trine.b.haugen@hioa.no

 

Scandinavian Development Services

At Scandinavian Development Services we specialize in all regulatory and scientific aspects in the drug development process, from the initial project idea through to the completely developed product. We have expertise in formulation development, non-clinical program planning, design of clinical studies/programs and regulatory affairs during drug development. Depending on the need of the client, we develop strategies for a European or a more global development programs. As a Nordic consultancy company in drug development, we are aiming at building networks within the life-science environment in Norway. We are currently involved in and have extensive experience from oncology-related drug development projects; hence we can offer value to members of Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Contact person: Anna Törner, Managing Director
+46 734331709 // anna.torner@scanddev.se

 

Prostataklinikken AS

Prostataklinikken AS is a private clinic in Oslo that uses innovative technology to provide more accurate diagnosis and early detection of prostate cancer. Prostate Clinic AS uses innovative technology with targeted tissue samples. The method we use is called ANNA C-TRUS (Artificial Neuaral Network Analysis Computerassisted TransrRectal Ultra Sound). The method was developed during the last 20 years, mainly in Germany and partly in the United States, Prof. Dr. Tillmann Loch. The method’s efficiency is well documented by several studies over the past 10 years, Prof. Tillmann Loch has received several awards for his scientific work. ANNA C-TRUS is a method for targeted tissue samples. ANNA C – TRUS (Artificial Neuaral Network Analysis Computerassisted transrectal Ultrasound) can increase the accuracy of tissue samples significantly.

(Prostataklinikken AS changed its name to Colosseum Mann in 2017. The new webpage is colosseummann.no)

Contact person: Ole Mjåtvedt, CEO

+47 93006671 // mjaole@anna-ctrus.com

 

 

 

A Budget for Innovation and Knowledge

The Government of Norway launched their State Budget on October 8th. Overall, we are very pleased with the Government’s will for innovation and knowledge.

“New knowledge and innovation is crucial in order to create the companies of tomorrow and to ensure secure jobs in Norway. We therefore invest in industry-driven research and innovation and give nearly MNOK 300 to strengthen the competitiveness of Norwegian industry”, says Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland in realtion the the launch of the State Budget 2015.


Overall very satisfied
Oslo Cancer Cluster and Nansen Neuroscience Network have analyzed the budget together and are overall very satisfied with the proposals for 2015.

Ketil Widerberg, General Manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster says: “We are very satisfied that the Minister of Trade and Industry shows such a will to invest in industry-driven research. They have in total given more than MNOK 300 to industry-driven research – which is a substantial increase. However, we are dissatisfied that no new seed-funds were established. It is a fact that it is hard to get private investments in the biotech sector if the state is not willing to contribute.”

Leif Rune Skymoen, CEO of Nansen Neuroscience Network says: “The Nobel Prize to Edvard and May Britt Moser shows that it pays off to invest in excellent research. We are very happy to see that the Government agrees on this, and that they will give MNOK 100 to establish research environments of Nobel class. We hope these environments will provide the basis for new treatments for diseases of the brain, like Alzheimer’s and psychiatric disorders.”


Horizon 2020 – a grand possibility
All members of both clusters should be aware of the increased funding from the Norwegian Government’s side to take part in the Horizon2020 program.

“The Government gives 115 MNOK in order to stimulate higher participation in the Horizon2020 program. This is a great chance to receive substantial funding from the EU-program, and we should look at this together and see how we may do this successfully”, says Widerberg and Skymoen.


The most important points in the State Budget 2015

  •  120 MNOK more to Skattefunn: You may get up to 6.6 MNOK in tax relief.
    This is an increase from 4,4 MNOK in 2013.
  • Increase of MNOK 70 in the BIA program in the Norwegian Research Council.
    BIA stands for User-driven research-based Innovation and is an important funding scheme for biotech companies.
  •  Increase of 20 MNOK in the FORNY program in the Norwegian Research Council.
    This funding is for verification, and is important to commercialize research.
  • Increase of 110 MNOK in establishment support from Innovation Norway.
  • 115 MNOK to increased Norwegian participation in European research collaborations
  • 100 MNOK to Norwegian word-leading research environments
  • MNOK to free project support from the Research Council of Norway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bjørn Klem new General Manager for Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator is delighted to inform that Bjørn Klem has been hired as General Manager. He will start January 1st 2015.

Bjørn Klem is coming from Photocure where he is Project Director. He has been with the company for 17 years. In Photocure, Klem has been in charge of exploratory projects including clinical development of both Metvix® and Hexvix®, Lumacan and Allumera. Both Metvix® and Hexvix® have successfully been introduced to markets world-wide.

At the moment he is in charge of another project, Cevira, for treatment oncogenic HPV infections. This project is about to enter phase III in clinical development. Klem has also been working with market access and out-licensing of Cevira.

An asset for the Incubator
“We are very happy to have Bjørn on board as the first General Manager of the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator. He is in deed the right man for this job, based on his long experience with taking products all the way to the market. I am certain that the start-ups in the Incubator will get just the coaching and support they need from Bjørn and the team he will set up,” says Ketil Widerberg, General Manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator is currently situated at Lysaker, where the Incubator is sharing office space with the Management Team of Oslo Cancer Cluster, Pharmalink Oncology, Targovax and the Radium Hospital Research Foundation –  plus Nansen Neuroscience Network.

Symbiotic environment
In July 2015 all these actors will move to the brand new Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park at Montebello, right next to the Norwegian Radium Hospital and The Institute of Cancer Research at Oslo University Hospital. The Incubator will provide a symbiotic environment for scientists and biotech companies working in oncology. The aim is to promote development of novel diagnostics and treatments, and make them accessible to patients world wide.

“The Radium Hospital Innovation Campus is designed specifically to facilitate interactions between all players in this field (scientists, entrepreneurs, investors, biotech companies and providers) in the belief that “We are better than I”. We are now signing contracts with institutions and companies that want to be part of this adventure and would like to hear from you too,” says Bjørn Klem.

He will start full time as General Manager for the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator January 1st 2015. Mr. Klem is currently the Chairman of the Board of Oslo Cancer Cluster and Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, positions he will resign from due to his new obligation.

 

 

Juice with Omega-3 can become new cancer treatment

Professor Per Kogner (picture) and his research team at Karolinska Institute in Sweden have found that omega-3 fatty acids inhibit cancer growth. Now in a new study children who have had cancer are receiving supplementation of the fatty acids.

Experiments at the Karolinska Institute is already in full swing. Several years ago, Per Kogners research team saw that omega-3 fatty acids kill cultured cancer cells. Now a group of children who have finished cancer treatment have been selected for inclusion in a clinical trial. They get supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) in the form of a juice based nutritional drink containing a high dose of Omega 3 every day for three months. In phase one, researchers will determine the dose that is right, then with longer treatment during phase two, they will study the effects omega-3 have on late complications and cancer recurrence.

See the movie about Per Kogners research

– We know from other studies that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids are good for brain development and that those who eat a diet high in omega-3 are more rarely affected by cancer. Our own research shows that omega-3 fatty acids inhibit the growth of both neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma. Now we go on to see how large doses are needed and how they affect the children, says Professor Per Kogner.

Reduce the risk of relapse and complications
The purpose of the study is to see if supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of relapse in the disease and also if the children feel better when drinking the juice with the fats. The researchers also want to see if complications after treatment can be reduced by using the supplement since it is previously shown that these fatty acids promotes the vision, behavior, heart and blood pressure and brain development.

– We have reason to believe that omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of relapse and improve the child’s health, immune system, nutrition, cognition and quality of life. Other researchers have found that omega-3 fatty acids improve the condition of children with ADHD and dyslexia and therefore it is important to test our hypothesis in children with cancer, says Per Kogner.

The reason for the hypothesis that omega-3 fatty acids work for children who have had brain tumors or neuroblastoma, is exactly where the tumors arise.

– Neuroblastoma is a cancer of the peripheral nervous system, medulloblasom in the central nervous system. Nerve tissue contains more fat than any other tissue in the body and is dependent on addressing the omega-3 fatty acids that we eat. In our previous experiments, we have seen that the implanted nerve cell tumors grow smaller and occur less often if you eat a diet that is enriched with omega-3, particularly DHA. Complications affecting the brain or metabolism also occurs in children with other cancers, so they will also be included in the clinical studies.

Fruit juice and fish oil
Omega-3 is found in vegetables and oily fish. The children included in the study will be drinking a specially made fruit juice with fish oil from Norway. The dose of it will be increased over time – as the researchers want to see how the dosage affects the body and if a higher dosage better reduce the risk of late complications and relapse, or maybe just give unnecessary additional risk side effects. The importance of children’s normal diet and previouse fatty acid balance will be investigated thouroughly.

– We want to see what balance is prefered. To see this, we examine the children carefully and measure the cells’ membranes and blood fats repeatedly. The first thing we want answered is how big dose the child needs to feel better, and if any side effects occur. In a few years when Phase 2 is completed, hopefully we know if the risk of relapse can be avoided for children receiving the supplementation, says Per Kogner.
Omega-3 combined with traditional treatment

The research team examines particularly the balance between omega-3 and omega-6,

– Both fats are important for the body’s cell membranes and other processes in the body that inflammation and the immune system, including programmed cell death. Unfortunately, the modern diet has too much omega-6 compared to omega-3.

Another very important part of the research team’s study is to evaluate whether omega-3 fatty acids can be combined with chemotherapy and / or radiation early in cancer treatment.

– The combination may result in us being able to cure more children, while improving nutrition and immune defense. In a few years, the results of our studies might be of value for children with cancer, even for those with leukemia and other tumors, not only neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma.

Kind and effective supplements in cancer treatment
If a supplement of omega-3 fatty acids work in the treatment of children with cancer, says Per Kogner that it will be something completely new.

– We know that chemotherapy kills both cancer cells and normal cells as a double-edged sword, which can both cure cancer and cause severe complications. Omega-3 fatty acid kills cancer cells but protects normal cells, especially brain cells are sensitive. In this way, these fatty acids are both sword and shield at once. With omega-3 sword, you can kill the cancer cells while its shield protects the body’s other cells. It will be both a protective and effective supplement in cancer treatment, the combined sword and shield, says Per Kogner.

Facts about polyunsaturated fats
• Polyunsaturated fats are essential for life. The body can not produce them, we have to get ourselves in them through food.
• The most important polyunsaturated fats are omega-3 and omega-6.
• Omega-3 found in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines, some seaweed, walnuts, canola oil and flaxseed.
• Omega-6 For example, in corn oil, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil.
• Omega-3 and Omega-6 has many different functions and is required in particular for the body to build and repair cells. They also affect the regulation of blood pressure, the kidneys are functioning and our immune system.
• Omega-3 and omega-6 affects the body in different ways. In many cases omega-3 attenuates the effects of omega-6, for example, when it comes to blood clotting and the immune system. Both lipids interact and it is therefore important to get through the food right amount of both.

Flocking to Norway

Oslo’s cancer research community attracts international attention. Foreign companies engaged in the cancer field are flocking to Norway and Oslo to benefit from the city’s cancer research community. ‘This is a stamp of quality,’ says Ketil Widerberg, General Manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster.


This article is written by journalist Ina Vedde Fjærestad, and was published in KAPITAL 14/2014.
Oslo Cancer Cluster have kindly been allowed to translate it to English and publish it on our site.


 Several foreign companies are now showing an interest in establishing themselves in the capital to become part of Oslo Cancer Cluster. They are attracted by the close-knit environment for cancer research and development of drugs, treatment and diagnostic methods for cancer.

Major interest from abroad.
‘The fact that foreign companies are coming to Oslo is a stamp of quality for the Norwegian community and what we are developing here. It is also important in relation to developing an industry based on cancer research,’ says Widerberg of Oslo Cancer Cluster to Kapital business magazine. He does not want to reveal any names, but confirms that several foreign companies have shown an interest.

‘These are companies in the cancer field from countries such as the UK and Denmark – companies at the clinical stage,’ says Widerberg. He recently attended the world’s biggest biotechnological convention in San Diego, and says that he was surprised by the amount of interest several major companies showed in Norwegian research.

‘Several people contacted me and wanted to arrange a meeting to hear more about our work here.’
Kapital has information that the Danish company Rhovac is among the companies considering setting up in Norway. The company is at the final pre-clinical stage in the development of potential vaccines for cancer treatment.

Funding as a pull factor
Oslo Cancer Cluster was established in 2006 and currently has almost 70 members – enterprises, organisations, hospitals and universities that engage in cancer diagnostics and treatment. The cluster brings together the whole value chain in cancer treatment – everything from research institutions to hospitals, financial institutions and the big pharmaceutical companies.

The cluster is partly publically funded as a Norwegian Centre of Expertise (NCE). The overriding objective is to improve the lives of cancer patients by stimulating the development of new cancer drugs and diagnostics. The research community in Oslo has become especially well known for its expertise in immuno-oncology, a field that involves triggering the body’s own immune system in the battle against the cancer cells. This field attracts particular attention from foreign companies.

‘We are experiencing increasing interest from abroad, which is fun and a sign of recognition of our community,’ says Jónas Einarsson, CEO of the Norwegian Radium Hospital Research Foundation. He confirms that they are now working with four companies from Sweden, Denmark, the UK and Germany, respectively, some of which are considering moving their whole company to Norway.
Competitors and collaborators
The companies that choose to become Norwegian also gain access to good schemes for companies that engage in what is known as early-phase research. For example, they can apply for funding from the SkatteFunn tax relief scheme. All Norwegian companies that run research projects can apply for tax relief under this scheme.

‘Of course, the more companies that establish themselves and develop projects in this field, the better. We achieve good cluster dynamics. The companies compete for the same funding and investors, and will be competing in the same market later. At the same time, they can benefit in many ways from synergies and collaboration in the development phase,’ says Einarsson. He is often part of the delegations that present Oslo Cancer Cluster around the world.
‘Many Norwegian companies are going to the Nordic Life Science conference in Stockholm this September. We also attended the biotechnology convention in San Diego in June. We went there to look for partners in the bio-pharmaceutical field, to attract investors, and to help to market Norway as an exciting location for such companies.’

The Swedish company Pharmalink has decided to establish a subsidiary in Norway called Pharmalink Oncology. Pharmalink is engaged in speciality pharma, focusing on rare diagnoses for which they develop what is known as ‘orphan drugs’. The company currently has two products at the clinical stage, Nefecon and Busulipo, and is owned by the government investment company Investinor, Industrifonden and two of the entrepreneurs.

‘Our goal here in Oslo is to buy oncology projects where the research has come a long way and to expand our portfolio,’ said Johan Häggblad in a network meeting organised by Oslo Cancer Cluster on 20 August.

Important to the network
OncoImmunity is a company established by Richard Stratford from Britain, Trevor Clancy from Ireland and Norwegian professor Eivind Hovig. The company develops software intended to be able to assess tumour mutation and identify specific antigens in order to make it possible to use the body’s immune system to fight cancer.

‘The information obtained will help to pick the patients who will respond best to immunotherapy-based treatment. This will lead to a higher success rate at the clinical stage of the development and may spare patients unnecessary treatment.’ says Stratford.

Today, less than seven per cent of cancer drugs enter the clinical stage for the treatment that was the initial intention behind their development. ‘There is a great need for a review of and new methods in this field.’

OncoImmunity became a member of Oslo Cancer Cluster (OCC) in June this year. ‘We see OCC as a good forum for networking – for finding partners and potential investors.’ Stratford has lived in Norway for seven years, and has worked in the biotechnology field for most of that time. He was familiar with OCC before the company became a member. ‘The biggest advantage is the network and support OCC provides. They have a great team that has worked very actively to connect OncoImmunity to valuable contacts in research and development.’

 

DNB invites to informal Healthcare gathering

You are invited to our informal gathering and DNB event for key personell in the Norwegian health care industry, 12th of November 2014.


Please sign up by November 5th to https://www.deltager.no/DNBHealthcare_2014.

Welcome to the DNB Healthcare event 12th of November in DNB’s Headquarter in Bjørvika, Dronning Eufemiasgt 30.

Agenda
16:30-17:00 Registration and light food

17:00-17:10 Welcome and introduction
Terje Straume, Head of International Healthcare DNB

17:10-17:20 Oslo Cancer Cluster – a dedicated oncology cluster
Ketil Widerberg, CEO Oslo Cancer Cluster

17:20-17:40 Healthcare – a prioritized industry sector for DNB
Anders Grevstad, Head of Division International Corporates DNB

17:45-18:45 Business development from an industry perspective – triggers and opportunities
Gaël L’Hévéder, Chief Business Development Officer, PCI Biotech

18:50-19:20 Panel debate

  • Veronika Barrabes, Country Manager Novartis Norge
  • Anders Tuv, Investeringsdirektør Radiumhospitalets forskningsstiftelse
  • Unni Hjelmaas, CEO Lytix Biopharma
  • Karita Bekkemellem, CEO Legemiddelindustriforeningen
  • Benedicte Bakke, Senior Advisor, International Healthcare DNB

19:30 Dinner and networking in restaurant 16th floor

 

Win 100 000 NOK to further develop your research

Last year, a new vaccine technology aiming to manipulate our immune system and thereby combat cancer and HIV won Inven2’s idea competition. Do you have an idea that you want to further develop?

Inven2 is the largest contributor in Norway within the field of commercialization of research, owned by the University of Oslo (UiO) and the Southern and Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority (Helse Sør-Øst). The competition “Idéprisen” is open to all staff and students at UiO And HSØ and is aiming to discover new ideas for products, technologies and services within all disciplines.

Main prize: NOK 100 000
The main prize is 100 000 NOK to use for further developing and testing your idea. In addition, two other ideas will win 20 000 NOK and 10 000 NOK. All submitted ideas will receive written feedback. The deadline to submit is October 8th and the winners will be announced at the conference “Cutting Edge” in the Science Park (Forskningsparken) on October 16th.

Do you want more information or to submit an idea? Visit www.ideprisen.no

 

 

 

The Minister of Education pre launched the long-term plan for research and education with Lytix Biopharma

Yesterday Minister Røe Isaksen and the Minister of Health Bent Høie visited Lytix Biopharma at the Department of Cell therapy at the Cancer Research Institute/Oslo University Hospital. The background is that the Government will present a long-term plan for research and higher education on October 8. This white paper will outline how the government will prioritize the use of research resources in the coming years.

Health, nutrition and outstanding research are some of the priority areas, and the long-term plan will also follow up on Health&Care21. Both Ministers pointed out that Lytix Biopharma is a good example of several aspects of the plan.

CEO Unni Hjelmaas in Lytix Biopharma appreciate the contact with both ministries.

Right focus from the Government
– It is an honor for Lytix Biopharma to be part of this and at the same time be acknowledged for many of the objectives set in the long term plan for research and higher education as well as the Health&Care21, says Hjelmaas. We are ensured that the Government has the right focus after the insight we got into the long term plan today. We now look forward to seeing this be moved from words to action.

The General Manager of the Pharma Industry Association in Norway Karita Bekkemellem was also present. She was very enthusiastic after the meeting. – This is a recognition that the pharma industry is an important contributor to good patient treatment. It is positive that the Government now focus on an active public and academic partnership with the pharma industry. We look forward to contribute, she continues.

Long-term research and higher education
The Government announced in May that it will present a long-term plan for research and higher education in autumn 2014. The objective is a strategic, coordinated and predictable research and higher education policy that lays the foundation for Norway to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead of us.

The long-term plan is a tool to target efforts on areas where Norway has strategic advantages, and to meet future needs for knowledge in key areas. At the same time the long-term plan allow for crossing borders and for innovative research that can give us new insight in the long term.

 

Lytix Biopharma
Lytix Biopharma’s technology is based on nature’s own defense mechanism. The membranes of bacteria and cancer cells are destroyed. Our technology has the potential to meet two substantial medical challenges; treatment of infections regardless of resistance and cancer therapy that activates the patient`s own immune system. Lytix Biopharma’s strategy is to develop its drug candidates to Proof of Concept, and then bring in partners for the final stages of product development and commercialization. See www.lytixbiopharma.com.

16 MNOK to BerGenBio from the Wellcome Trust

Oslo Cancer Cluster member BerGenBio AS has been granted a 1.6 million (NOK 16 million) Seeding Drug Discovery Award from the UK’s Wellcome Trust to develop novel small molecule inhibitors against BGB002, its proprietary, novel cancer target.

The Wellcome Trust Seeding Drug Discovery Awards are to identify and fund especially promising, innovative new therapeutic concepts through to clinical implementation and applications are highly competitive.

 


We strongly encourage other members of the Oslo Cancer Cluster to apply for funding from the Wellcome Trust as well:


 

Novel cancer target
BGB002 is a novel cancer target identified by BerGenBio, which controls tumour cell malignant features. This gene is up-regulated in several cancer types incluApplication Not for Profit – the Wellcome Trustding the difficult to treat malignancies such as triple-negative-breast cancer. Using its CellSelect? technology, BerGenBio demonstrated that BGB002 strongly activates tumour cell Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT), a precursor to metastatic spread. Subsequent target validation studies demonstrated BGB002’s unique and pivotal role in mediating EMT, facilitating the escape of transformed cells and engendering resistance to standard of care anti-cancer regimens..

BerGenBio holds patent applications on BGB002 and is developing novel selective small molecule inhibitors to the target with Sygnature Discovery Ltd, the UK’s largest independent service provider of integrated drug discovery, with expertise in medicinal chemistry, in vitro bioscience, computational chemistry and informatics.

The Award, which is made in the form of a convertible loan, will fund the next phase of the Company’s BGB002 development project over the next 12 months.

Richard Godfrey, Chief Executive Officer of BerGenBio, commented:
“The receipt of this Wellcome Trust Seeding Drug Discovery Award is a tremendous achievement and a solid endorsement both for BerGenBio’s expertise in identifying key molecular drivers of aggressive drug resistant cancers and for our ability to translate these discoveries into viable drug candidates. I am particularly proud of the successful collaborative effort by our staff and the team at Sygnature. They work exceptionally well together and provide complementary skill sets. Scientists from BerGenBio and Sygnature worked co-operatively across their respective sites to assemble a highly compelling application and successfully co-presented the project at the final evaluation stage.

“The Wellcome Trust receives hundreds of applications for this type of funding and grants just a few awards each year to projects with outstanding science and innovation that are working to address a substantial unmet medical need.

“This funding will aid in our research and development effort to uncover novel small molecule therapeutics to treat aggressive, resistant cancers.”

 

About BerGenBio AS
BerGenBio AS is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company. The company is committed to developing innovative therapeutics that inhibit EMT, prevent the formation of cancer stem cells and disrupt the cellular mechanisms that drive acquired cancer drug resistance. The company is founded on proprietary platform technology, CellSelect?, which uses information from RNAi screening studies to identify and validate novel drug targets and biomarkers. BGB324 is the first compound in BerGenBio’s pipeline to enter clinical trials in AML and NSCLC, with additional compounds and drug targets at different stages of preclinical development. www.bergenbio.com

 

About the Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust is the second-highest-spending global charitable foundation, dedicated to achieving extraordinary improvements in human and animal health. It supports bright minds in biomedical research and the medical humanities, including public engagement, education and the application of research to improve health. It is independent of both political and commercial interests. www.wellcome.ac.uk.
For more information on the Seeding Drug Discovery Award, please visit the Wellcome Trust website: http://j.mp/SeedingDrugDiscovery


About Sygnature Discovery Ltd.
Sygnature Discovery is the UK’s largest independent provider of integrated drug discovery with core capabilities including medicinal chemistry, in vitro bioscience, computational chemistry and informatics. We also provide ADME, in vitro toxicology, early safety pharmacology, in vivo efficacy models, ion channel expertise, protein production and X-ray crystallography according to our clients’ specific needs, via long-term strategic alliance partners. http://www.sygnaturediscovery.com

 

Lytix Biopharma awarded Nordic Stars 2014

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Lytix Biopharma is one of three biotech companies selected as Nordic Stars 2014. The prize is given to companies that the organizers of the Nordic Life Science Days sees as extra promising.

The Nordic Stars Awards have been established to shed some extra light on those companies Nordic Life Science Days see really showcase how innovative Nordic companies can be.

– This is a great honour, says Unni Hjelmaas, CEO at Lytix Biopharma. – We appreciate that we are noticed in an active Nordic market with many promising companies. To receive such an award makes us aware that others are watching us and gives us an extra motivation to prove that it is possible for innovative Nordic companies to succeed.

– With this price and the attention given to us we have a good basis for dialogue with potential partners. We are very grateful that professionals outside our company believe in what we do, said Knut Eidissen, Chairman of the Board of Lytix Biopharma

 

Lytix Biopharma:
Lytix Biopharma’s technology is based on nature’s own defense mechanism. The membranes of bacteria and cancer cells are destroyed. Our technology has the potential to meet two substantial medical challenges; treatment of infections regardless of resistance and cancer therapy that activates the patient`s own immune system. Lytix Biopharma’s strategy is to develop its drug candidates to Proof of Concept, and then bring in partners for the final stages of product development and commercialization. See www.lytixbiopharma.com.

Nordic Life Science Days:
Nordic Life Science Days is the Nordic region’s largest partnering conference for the global life science industry. The conference attracts leading decision-makers in the life science sector, including the bioengineering, pharmaceuticals and Med Tech segments, along with investors, research institutions, politicians and authorities. This year’s Nordic Life Science Days event is taking place in partnership with Oslo Cancer Cluster and Toulouse Cancer-Bio-Santé Cluster.

This year they have:
840+ registered delegates
570+ companies/organizations
26 countries represented
7000+ meeting requests in partneringONE
1400+ accepted meetings
480+ licensing opportunities

Strong Scandinavian Cancer Immunotherapy Mission

A very strong Scandinavian immunotherapy delegation is in the US September 15 – 19 to meet peers from some of the most prominent institutions “over there”. Medicon Valley Alliance is arranging this unique opportunity and have kindly invited members of Oslo Cancer Cluster to join.

As of now 22 delegates from Scandinavia will visit some of the world’s leading universities, research groups, clinical centers and big pharmaceutical companies working within the immunotherapy field. This partnering mission will thus enable the delegates to learn more about the latest research and business trends within immunotherapy in the US while expanding their network – all in just one week.

Strong Norwegian players in the field of immuno-oncology; Inven2, Targovax, Ultimovacs, Nextera and PCI Biotech are joining the delegation from Oslo Cancer Cluster`s side. Immuno-oncology is one of the hottest research topics globally now, and the Scandinavian players are considered to be strong in this area.

Download program

CANCER IMMUNOTHERAPY PARTNERING MISSION 2014

Cancer Immunotherapy Partnering Mission
Washington DC – Baltimore – NYC – Boston

September 15 – 19, 2014

Delegates will visit:

  • The David H. Koch Institute for integrative cancer research @ MIT
  • Merck Research Laboratories
  • MASSBIO event: Cancer Immunotherapy – Investment and Partnering trends
  • Dana-Farber cancer institute
  • Novartis institute for Biomedical Research
  • NYU Langone Medical center/Perlmutter Cancer Center
  • Cancer Research Institute
  • Mount Siani Health System in NYC
  • Bristol-Myers Squibb
  • University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine
  • John Hopkins Hospital, the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • National Institute of Health, National Cancer Institute

Job opportunities: 2 Medical Advisors – CNS and Oncology

Janssen wish to strengthen their medical affairs team in Norway. We are hereby seeking 2 field based Medical Advisors to support our business in CNS and Oncology.

The Medical Advisor is responsible for becoming a scientific and clinical expert on our portfolios and its related clinical areas and competitors. With this expertise, the field based Medical Advisor provides clinical and scientific support to internal and external customers in the Nordic countries.

Please see the full advertisement here.

Both positions are based at Lysaker, Norway, and will report directly to Therapeutic Area Head Oncology and Therapeutic Area Head CNS.

Questions?
Further questions about the positions can be addressed to Mr Jon Bjørbekk, Kelly Scientific, +47 952 11 580
or Mr Thomas Lund, tel: +47 401 080 70.

 

Lifstream with in debth articles on Oslo Cancer Cluster

Karl Simpson from Liftstream, a company that provides recruitment services to the global life sciences sector, visited the Oslo Cancer Cluster this Summer. Simpson just published in-debth analysis of both the cluster and some of the members. Please read an excerpt below and more on their web site www.liftstream.com.

“Oslo, Norway is home to the emerging Oslo Cancer Cluster, a growing cluster with a host of exciting companies targeting the oncology therapeutics and diagnostics marketplace. These companies include, Nordic Nanovector, Lytix BioPharm, Targovax and Ultimovacs.

The Oslo Cancer Cluster has big ambitions to create a global cluster comprised of world-leading experts in cancer drug development and diagnostics and wishes to attract this competence.

With a brand new innovation centre to be launched in 2015, this is an exciting time for this biotech cluster and the companies in it. Liftstream has taken time to profile the cluster through interviews with the Oslo Cancer Cluster leadership, as well as CEO’s of some of the cluster’s companies.”

Why choose Norway as your partner in healthcare R&D?

Norwegian healthcare actors have joined forces and launch the “Norwegian Package” at next weeks Nordic Life Science Days/ECCP. The “Norwegian Package” is five reasons why Norway is a unique place to do research and development within healthcare.

If you would like to learn more – please download a brochure elaborating on the unique features of the Norwegian Healthcare R&D.
Please also come visit our joint stand “Norwegian Healthcare Industry” at the Nordic Life Science Days/ECCP September 7-9 hsoted by Oslo Cancer Cluster and Nansen Neuroscience Network.

Five reasons to collaborate closely with Norwegian actors within Healthcare R&D:

  1. A healthcare system with great opportunities for research
  2. Unique and accessible health registries and biobanks
  3. A great location for clinical trials with a history of delivering on time and quality, a population that is willing to participate in trials and a systematic and transparent regulatory approval process
  4. A strong player in biomedicine with excellent academicresearch environments
  5. A biomedical model that is well adapted for delivering the pharmaceuticals of the future

This is a joint initiative from: Oslo Cancer Cluster, Nansen Neuroscience Network, Innovation Norway, The Research Council of Norway, The Assosiation of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Norway and Link Medical.

Position open as General Manager for Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator AS is looking for a General Manager. Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator is a private company, 100% owned by Oslo Cancer Cluster SA. The Incubator will be the provider of infrastructure and  services to researchers and biotech startups to accelerate the development of new cancer treatments.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator is seeking a General Manager whom will be commercial responsible, as well as responsible for the services provided by the Incubator to foster accelerated development and innovation amongst incubator members and rentals. Position to be filled as soon as possible. The Incubator will occupy the entire 4th floor of Building C in Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park, opening medio 2015.

Requirements:
Academic back-ground and experience from industrial development and business development in Life Science, ideally in oncology. This includes understanding of basic research, IPR, funding, clinical and commercialization of research.

Questions regarding the position may be directed to Ketil Widerberg, General Manager Oslo Cancer Cluster:
Mobile:  +47 91 577 990
E-mail: kw@oslocancercluster.no

Application deadline:
September 7th at 20:00 on e-mail to kw@oslocancercluster.no

For more information: occincubator.com

K.G.Jebsen Colorectal Cancer Research Centre opened

Professor Ragnhild A. Lothe, Head of Dept of Cancer Prevention at Oslo University Hospital, will lead the new K.G.Jebsen Colorectal Cancer Research Centre that officially opened late August. The center was recently appointed in strong competition with other outstanding scientific environments.

A strong interdiciplinary team of PIs: Professor Michael Bretthauer (gastroenetrologist), Professor Arild Nesbakken (surgeon), Professor Kjell Tveit (oncologist), ass. Professor Rolf I Skotheim (bioinformatics) was co-applicants. The colorectal cancer research centre will focus on improving the methods for diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer and will receive 16 mill NOK over a 4-year period from the K.G. Jebsen Foundation.

 

Publication in NEJM on opening day
“I believe that this new centre may stimulate young medical doctors and researchers to become interested in this serious disease, which is the second most common cancer type in Europe, where only half of the patients survive,” says Lothe. She is also a member of the Board of Oslo Cancer Cluster and has been so for several years.

On the opening day Michael Bretthauer (in the middle of picture) published research on risk of developing colorectal cancer in New England Journal of Medicine, read more on this here.

New CEO in Nordic Nanovector

The Board of Nordic Nanovector is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Luigi Costa as new CEO of the Company.

Mr. Costa has over 20 years of international pharmaceutical and biotech experience. Most recently he held the position of Vice President Europe, Middle East and Africa for Onyx Pharmaceuticals, a global biopharmaceutical company based in South San Francisco, California. He was responsible for the startup of the Company’s international organization and for the pre-launch and launch of its Hematology potential blockbuster Kyprolis outside the US.

Will start 1st September
Prior to joining Onyx Pharmaceuticals, he held several roles of increasing responsibility with Amgen including Head of International Oncology Franchise, General Manager of Italy and Vice President and General Manager of France, the Company’s largest market outside the US. Mr. Costa, is a highly successful senior commercial bio-pharma/’biotech’ leader in Europe.

He has delivered a track record across diverse products and therapeutic areas with experience gained on both sides of the Atlantic. Mr. Luigi Costa will take over as CEO on the 1st September 2014.

Important phase of internationalization
”We are about to enter a new and more international phase in the development of Nordic Nanovector. The Board is therefore pleased that Mr. Luigi Costa has accepted to take over the helm as CEO and take the Company to its new phase,” says Chairman Roy H. Larsen on behalf of the Board. ”We see this as yet another professional acknowledgement of the Company and its product Betalutin’s future potential.”

”We are grateful for Jan A. Alfheim’s personal commitment and contributions as CEO in building up the organization of the Company in the first years of its lifetime” says Roy H. Larsen.

 

FACTS:

About Nordic Nanovector AS
Nordic Nanovector AS is a privately held company established in 2009. The company is based in Norway and has offices and laboratories in Oslo. The company is developing novel innovative anticancer radioimmunotherapeutics to treat non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) and other hematological malignancies.

About Betalutin
Betalutin™, is a pharmaceutical product candidate consisting of a radionuclide conjugated to a tumor seeking carrier/antibody, which can be used for irradiation of malignant metastasized tumors with minimal damage to nearby healthy normal tissue. This technology aims to prolong and improve the quality of life of people who suffer from non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL).

Update from PCI Biotech`s study on head & neck cancer

Oslo Cancer Cluster member PCI Biotech reported Friday August 24 that the treatment evaluation of the second group in the intra-tumour light dose escalation part of the ENHANCE study has been completed.

ENHANCE is a phase II study of Amphinex® in combination with the cytotoxic agent bleomycin in recurrent head and neck cancer patients. No serious safety concerns were raised and strong clinical effects with clear indications of tumour response were seen at this light dose level.

Three more patients
A Dose Review Committee (DRC) of clinical experts and company representatives has been established to evaluate the results and provide recommendation for the continuation of the study. The DRC has recommended that three further patients are included at the same light dose level, before final selection of the light dose for proof of concept with intra-tumour treatment. Patients for the next group are currently being screened and will be treated with Amphinex® as soon as possible.

www.pcibiotech.no

Major Oslo Cancer Cluster delegation to Nordic Life Science Days/ECCP2014

The largest Nordic Life Science conference “Nordic Life Science Days” (NLSDays) will take place in Stockholm September 7-9. At present 652 delegates from 456 companies are registered – offering 339 licencing opportunities.

A large delegation from Oslo Cancer Cluster will join this years NLSDays that also features the European Cancer Cluster Partnering, which Oslo Cancer Cluster hosts together with French Cancer Bio-Santé.

17 members present
As of now, 17 Oslo Cancer Cluster member companies will be present at NLSDays/ECCP: APIM Therapeutics, Inven2, Nextera, Ultimovacs, Lifandis, Vaccibody, Norwegian Cancer Society, LINK Medical Research, Lytix Biopharma, Targovax, NTNU Technology Transfer, Oncoimmunity, Bergen Technology Transfer, Birk Venture, Oslo University Hospital, University of Oslo and PCI Biotech.

ECCP Oncology Track
The ECCP Oncology Track features a strong oncology program focusing on three major topics; early stage oncology possibilities, Immuno-Oncology and the coupling of biomarkers, bio banks and big data in cancer treatment. Major international speakers will join and the program covers the whole value chain from research to market.

Norwegian stand promoting Norwegian Healthcare Industry
Kindly sponsored by Innovation Norway, Oslo Cancer Cluster and Nansen Neuroscience Network organizes a joint conference booth promoting cluster members and the Norwegian Life Science sector. Please come and visit us to hear more about the strengths of Norwegian Healthcare Industry. The joint Norwegian Stand will be served by the Management Teams of both clusters.

More information www.nlsdays.com

 

Great Kick-off for the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park

Oslo Cancer Cluster, in collaboration with Radiumhospitalets Legater, invite members and collaborators to the annual Oslo Cancer Cluster R&D Summer Meeting on Wednesday August 20th at the Auditorium , Institute of Cancer Research.

Download program and register here

The summer meeting will kick off the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park, and for the first time it will be possible to go inside the Innovation Park. As usual, we also present the new members of the cluster; Teva Scandinavia,
Smartfish, Pharmalink,  NorChip, Oncoimmunity  and SFF – Centre for Cancer Biomarkers, University of Bergen.

Program

–15:00: Registration & coffee

15:00– 15:20: “Welcome – update on main projects”
– Ketil Widerberg, General Manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster

15:20–15:40: “The Radium Hospital Innovation Campus”
– Jan Vincent Johannessen, CEO Radium Hospital Foundation

15:40–16:00: “Ullern High School – Spring 2015”
– Esther Eriksen, Ullern High School

16:00–16:20: “Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park”
– Jónas Einarsson, CEO of The Radium Hospital Research Foundation, founder of the Innovation Park

16:40–17:00: Refreshments

17:00–18:00: “New Kids on the Block” – presentations from new members;
• Teva Scandinavia, Asker
• Smartfish, Oslo
• Pharmalink, Stockholm
• NorChip, Hurum
• Oncoimmunity, Oslo
• SFF – Centre for Cancer Biomarkers, Bergen

18:00: Summer networking with exclusive group tours “inside” the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park guided by Skanska

 

 

Great Kick-off for Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park

More than 170 people kicked-off the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Parkat the annual Oslo Cancer Cluster Summer Meeting. The Innovation park opens in less than a year, and for the first time participants from the cluster could come in side the Park.

 

 

Program

–15:00: Registration & coffee

15:00– 15:20: “Welcome – update on main projects”
– Ketil Widerberg, General Manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster

15:20–15:40: “The Radium Hospital Innovation Campus”
– Jan Vincent Johannessen, CEO Radium Hospital Foundation

15:40–16:00: “Ullern High School – Spring 2015”
– Esther Eriksen, Ullern High School

16:00–16:20: “Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park”
– Jónas Einarsson, CEO of The Radium Hospital Research Foundation, founder of the Innovation Park

16:40–17:00: Refreshments

17:00–18:00: “New Kids on the Block” – presentations from new members;
• Teva Scandinavia, Asker
• Smartfish, Oslo
• Pharmalink, Stockholm
• NorChip, Hurum
• Oncoimmunity, Oslo
• SFF – Centre for Cancer Biomarkers, Bergen

18:00: Summer networking with exclusive group tours “inside” the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park guided by Skanska

 

 

Vaccibody successfully completes a 35 million NOK financing

Vaccibody has in a new share issue completed a 35 MNOK (4.3 million €) financing from existing and new investors. The share issue was significantly oversubscribed.

The largest new investor is represented by Datum and partners, which will take a seat in the Board of Directors. Arctic Securities is the manager for the share issue. The finalization will take place in the extraordinary general meeting on July 9th.

“We are very pleased to see such a great interest in Vaccibody AS and I look forward to take the company into a new stage by initiating our first clinical study. I very much welcome our new strong investor group and look forward to a fruitful collaboration in the years to come..” CEO, Ole Henrik Brekke

For further information please contact:
CEO Ole Henrik Brekke, ohbrekke@vaccibody.com, +4792628434
Please visit www.vaccibody.com

Ketil Widerberg on Pharma TV

In April 2014, Pharma TV interviewed Ketil Widerberg, General Manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster. Watch the interview and learn more about how Oslo Cancer Cluster works to develop new diagnostics and medication.

Watch the interview here.

In the interview Ketil Widerberg also explains to Fintan Walton from Pharma TV how Oslo Cancer Cluster`s core expertise in the field of Immuno-Oncology makes the cluster well positioned to contribute in this field and how several research projects and ongoing clinical trials will contribute to an exciting pipeline of novel cancer immunotherapies.

 

 

“HelseOmsorg21 represent a unique opportunity”

The HelseOmsorg21 strategy process was launched in 2013 by the Ministry of Health and Care services. The aim of the national process was to promote evidence-based health and care services characterized by high quality, patient safety and efficiency.

 

The final report was presented to Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Health Minister Bent Høie June 25th by leader of the HelseOmsorg21 process John-Arne Røttingen. The strategy has five main priorities aimed at providing better public health, more groundbreaking research, and the growth of a national health industry.

 

Oslo Cancer Cluster has been heard
Oslo Cancer Cluster has contributed to the HelseOmsorg21 process with formal input to the sub-reports on the knowledge system and on health industry development.

“Oslo Cancer Cluster aims to create one of Europe’s leading centers for research, education and development of cancer, and HelseOmsorg21 represent a unique opportunity”, says General Manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster, Ketil Widerberg. “Now we have a national strategy in the health field that addresses the research- and innovation system in health, and this strategy will allow a stronger collaboration between all stakeholders”.

 

The five main priorities are

1. A knowledge boost for municipalities by a solid financing, the establishment of a national registry of municipal health services and a higher education sector and new institutes aimed at municipal needs.

2. Making Health and Care Services an area for industry growth, providing sector-specific measures and stimulate to greater interaction between the public and private sectors.

3. Easier access to and increased utilization of health data.

4. A knowledge-based health care system with greater user interaction and an emphasis on skills, and to develop, try out and document the effects of different interactions.

5. Stronger focus on the internationalization of research and increased participation in the competition in EU research systems.

 

Read more
Download Oslo Cancer Cluster`s formal input

ECCP Oncology Track Program

The program for the ECCP Oncology Track Sessions at NLS Days/ECCP in Stockolm is now ready. We are proud to present a strong program with international renowned speakers, representing the entire oncology value chain. The program addresses both the most important topics in oncology at the moment, plus the companies that might become the success stories of tomorrow.

Download the program for the ECCP Oncology Track Sessions here.

Immuno-Oncology and Big-Data
The ECCP Oncology Track Sessions of 2014 focus on cancer immunotherapies, the hottest topic within oncology at the moment, early-stage oncology innovations and the utilization of biomarkers, biobanks and big data for developing better cancer treatments. We are proud to present several leading speakers from academics, biotechs, as well as a strong lineup of speakers from international Pharma companies.

The program has been developed in collaboration between several leading European Oncology Milieus such as the Oslo Cancer Cluster, Cancer Bio-Santé, Cancer Campus, BioWin, Medicon Valley Alliance/Invest in Skåne and Health Capital Berlin Brandenburg.

Norwegian stand
Kindly sponsored by Innovation Norway there will be a joint Norwegian stand at ECCP/NLS Days 2014 promoting Oslo Cancer Cluster and Nansen Neuroscience Network. We invite all members to display their marketing material here.

Please contact Elisabeth Kirkeng Andersen for more information on this opportunity.

 

Protecting oncology innovations – download presentations

Researchers, clinicians and start-ups filled up the seminar room when Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator together with the Norwegian Industrial Property Office (Patentstyret) and Inven2 invited to a breakfast meeting on June 18th. The breakfast seminar had a special focus on protecting oncology innovations.

 

Some take-home-messages from the seminar:

  • Patents give you negotiation power, and is probably the biggest income source for Norwegian biotech start-ups.
  • Never publish anything on what you might wish to patent: Not even talk about it in a public meeting.
  • Researchers at University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital: As soon as you think you have an innovation that could be patented, please contact Inven2 for advice.
    Researchers at other universities/university hospitals should contact their TTO`s.

 

Download presentations
All the presentations from the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator breakfast meeting may be downloaded below:

 

850 MNOK to innovation projects

The Norwegian Research Council will grant NOK 850 million to industry innovation projects – the largest grant of its kind in history. Application deadline is October 15, 2014.

The Research Council recently launched a website with all relevant information on this funding scheme.

Ketil Widerberg, General Manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster says: “Funding for the biotech industry is hard to obtain in Norway. This increase in grants will make a difference for the biotech members of the Cluster. I am glad to see that the Government and Research Council support industry driven innovation.”

More funding through BIA
Last year the grant to innovation projects within industry was on 700 million. The increase on 150 MNOK mainly comes from the Government`s strenghtening of the Research Council’s BIA – program. BIA funds industry-oriented research and has no thematic restrictions. Five Oslo Cancer Cluster biotech members obtained funding from the BIA program earlier this year. Read more on this here.

Application deadline is 15 October 2014, but already now, you may send in your project ideas and get feedback on them.

Please read the press release in Norwegian here.

Nordic Nanovector: Successful closing of MNOK 250

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Nordic Nanovector announce that the company has closed its pre-IPO private placement of NOK 250 million – 100 million more than anticipated.

The private placement, which was directed towards existing shareholders as well as new institutional and professional investors, attracted strong investor interest and was increased from  NOK 150 million to NOK 250 million on the basis of strong demand from solid institutional investors.

Further developing Betalutin™
The private placement was managed by ABG Sundal Collier and DNB Markets and was significantly oversubscribed. Nordic Nanovectors largest shareholder, HealthCap V. L.P. participated in the placement and was allocated 1,800,000 shares. Nordic Nanovector intends to use the net proceeds of the private placement to fund further clinical development of Betalutin™ for treatment of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

Norwegian paper DN published this article on the news, siting Roy Larsen: “This may be the new Algeta”.

About Nordic Nanovector AS
Nordic Nanovector AS is a privately held company established in 2009. The company is based in Norway and has offices and laboratories in Oslo. The company is developing novel innovative anticancer radioimmunotherapeutics to treat non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) and other hematological malignancies.
Read more on Nordic Nanovector`s web page.

About Betalutin
Betalutin™, is a pharmaceutical product candidate consisting of a radionuclide conjugated to a tumor seeking carrier/antibody, which can be used for irradiation of malignant metastasized tumors with minimal damage to nearby healthy normal tissue. This technology aims to prolong and improve the quality of life of people who suffer from non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL).

Innovation Norway: Technology Incubator in Asia

Are you aiming for Asian markets? Innovation Norway presents the Tech Incubator Program – TINC

TINC in Silicon Valley has created great opportunities for Norwegian tech entrepreneurs and has been fundamental in Innovation Norway’s efforts towards global entrepreneurs.
These days the concept is extended to Asian markets with Singapore as the epicenter. Please find more information on TINC Asia here:  www.innovasjonnorge.no/TINCasia.

Innovation Norway’s competence programs for global entrepreneurs in Norway and abroad are collectively presented as Global Entrepreneurship Programs. Find more information www.innovasjonnorge.no/GE.

Please do not hesitate to ask questions to Ingvild von Krogh Strand, Program Manager: Ingvild.von.krogh.strand@innovationnorway.no

 

Targovax AS is registered on the NOTC-list

Targovax AS is registered on the NOTC-list from June 16th, 2014, with ticker code TRVX. The company has issued 9 429 404 shares, each at par value NOK 0.10.

All shares are registered in VPS with ISIN code NO 001 0689326. Based on the most recent capital increase, June 4th, 2014, where the shares were signed up for NOK 21.50, the company has a post money price of NOK 202 732 186. The company has entered an agreement wiht NOTC AS and will be able to use the reporting system from June 16th, 2014.

Immunotherapy against pancreatic cancer
Targovax is a cancer biotech-company started in October 2010 to develop targeted immunotherapy in the form of therapeutic cancer vaccines. Lead candidate TG01 has Orphan Drug status for pancreatic cancer in the EU and US and is currently in Phase II trials in operated pancreatic cancer. The company is located in Lysaker, close to Oslo, Norway.

Please find more info on the web page www.targovax.com

FACTS:

Targovax
Targovax was established in October in 2010 to develop immunotherapy in the form of therapeutic cancer vaccines based on pioneering research into RAS mutations in the Norwegian Radium Hospital and Norsk Hydro. Mutation of RAS is an early mutation in the transformation of a normal cell into a cancer cell. Lead candidate TG01 has Orphan Drug status for pancreatic cancer in the EU and US and is currently in Phase II trials in operated pancreatic cancer, patients start treatment 1-8 weeks after surgery. The company is located in Lysaker, close to Oslo, Norway.

Immuno-Oncology / Cancer vaccines
The Norwegian cancer research community has been in the forefront of understanding the mechanisms for immuno-oncology and cancer vaccines. A cancer vaccine educates the body’s immune system to recognize and kill the cancer cells. The TG01 vaccine is therapeutic and is given as treatment to patients after surgery of cancer patients, to prevent relapse.

Pancreas cancer and other RAS-mutated cancer forms
Pancreatic cancer is a disease affecting 116 000 patients each year in EU and USA, and approximately 690 persons each year in Norway. Approx 15-20% of these are discovered at an early stage and are operable. The mortality is high, and the prognosis for these patients has been more or less unchanged the last 30 years. Approximately 80-90% of patients with pancreatic cancer have RAS mutations in the cancer cells.
RAS mutations occur in approx. 20% of all cancer cases, and are also frequent in colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and other cancers. Patients with RAS mutations within these indications have proved to be difficult to treat with current treatments, and there is a significant unmet medical need.

 

Nordic Nanovector: Betalutin™ granted Orphan Designation in Europe

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Nordic Nanovector`s  lead product candidate Betalutin™ has been granted orphan designation for treatment of follicular lymphoma in Europe by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Commission (EC).

Orphan designation for Betalutin™ will provide the company several advantages, including reduced costs related to the clinical development program, as well as commercial exclusivity for ten years once the product reaches the market in Europe.

Market exclusitivity
Jan A. Alfheim, Nordic Nanovector CEO stated: “With the orphan designation for Betalutin™ in the Europe, the company can receive protocol assistance, a type of scientific advice specific for designated orphan medicines and market exclusivity once the medicine is on the market. Fee reductions are also available. These benefits will help tremendously in the development and commercialization of an important new form of treatment of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma“.

About Nordic Nanovector AS
Nordic Nanovector AS is a privately held company established in 2009. The company is based in Norway and has offices and laboratories in Oslo. The company is developing novel innovative anticancer radioimmunotherapeutics to treat non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL) and other hematological malignancies.

About Betalutin
Betalutin™, is a pharmaceutical product candidate consisting of a radionuclide conjugated to a tumor seeking carrier/antibody, which can be used for irradiation of malignant metastasized tumors with minimal damage to nearby healthy normal tissue. This technology aims to prolong and improve the quality of life of people who suffer from non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL).

 

Cambridge-report shows high number of oncology publications per capita in Norway

MBA students from University of Cambridge did a benchmarking of international oncology clusters this spring on behalf of the Oslo Cancer Cluster.


Please download an excerpt of the report here.

Key findings;
• Norway has a high number of oncology publications per capita
• The entrepreneurial culture in Norway represents untapped commercial potential
• There is a positive collaboration environment within the Oslo Cancer Cluster – based on a high level of trust
• The grant funding process in Norway is highly fragmented and complicated

The report is important for the Oslo Cancer Cluster`s Management Team in our work to further improve the cluster and our member services.

Questions regarding the report may can be directed to Ketil Widerberg.

Targovax successfully completes a 70 MNOK financing

Immunotherapy specialist Targovax announces completion of a 70 MNOK financing, mainly from new investors. The share issue was significantly oversubscribed.

CEO Hanne M Kristensen states; “The capital increase of 70 MNOK will make us able to continue developing Targovax’s pipeline of immunotherapies targeting RAS mutated cancer forms, and also gives us a strong position to develop Targovax as a company”.

Chairman Jónas Einarsson comments; “This is an important step forward for Targovax, and clearly shows that the Norwegian investment community has opened its eyes to our sector.”

Datum and partners represent the largest new group of shareholders, and look forward to working together with the company management in the years to come, to develop the company’s potential.

Arctic Securities ASA is the manager for the share issue. The company will be OTC-listed shortly after completion of the financing round.

Read more about Targovax here.

 



In Norwegian:

Immunterapi-spesialisten Targovax annonserer i dag gjennomføringen av en suksessfull kapitalutvidelse på 70 MNOK (11.5 MUSD), hovedsakelig fra nye investorer. Kapitalutvidelsen var vesentlig overtegnet.

CEO Hanne M Kristensen sier: “Kapitalutvidelsen på 70 MNOK gjør oss i stand til å fortsette å utvikle Targovax’ pipeline av immunterapi rettet mot RAS-muterte kreftformer, og gir oss en solid posisjon for å utvikle Targovax som selskap.“

Styreleder Jónas Einarsson kommenterer; “Dette er et viktig skritt fremover for Targovax og viser med all tydelighet at investormiljøet for alvor har fått øynene opp for vår sektor.“

Datum og partnere representerer den største nye gruppen av aksjonærer, og ser frem til å arbeide med selskapets ledelse i årene fremover for å utvikle selskapets potensial.

Arctic Securities ASA har vært tilrettelegger for kapitalutvidelsen. Selskapet vil bli OTC-listet kort tid etter gjennomføring av kapitalutvidelsen.

 

Vaccibody AS and Phibro Animal Health Corporation enter into Development and License Agreement

The Norwegian vaccine company Vaccibody and Phibro Animal Health Corporation (Nasdaq:PAHC), a global animal health and mineral nutrition company, have signed a global exclusive license agreement which grants Phibro and its affiliates the right to develop, market and sell novel vaccines for the poultry market using the Vaccibody platform technology.

Under the agreement, Phibro and its affiliates have an option to exclusively commercialize new indications for poultry vaccines. Phibro will conduct and finance the development of the poultry vaccines, and Vaccibody is entitled to certain milestone payments upon successful completion of proof of concept for each indication and royalties upon commencement of commercial sales.
The global poultry vaccine market accounts for over 1 billion USD annually with vaccines dedicated to fighting diseases in broilers, layers and breeders playing a critical role in animal welfare as well as protecting the industry from major economic losses.

A milestone
“We are very pleased to enter into a collaboration where Vaccibody’s potent and innovative technology will benefit from Phibro’s demonstrated global capabilities in developing poultry vaccines and bringing them to market. We expect the collaboration to foster novel and highly effective vaccines for the poultry industry. This agreement is the first step in carrying out the company’s strategy of entering into partnerships to exploit the broad applicability of our platform technology. Simultaneously, it allows Vaccibody to focus its resources on its own internal cancer vaccine development program,” said Ole Henrik Brekke, Vaccibody’s CEO.

“We are very excited about working with Vaccibody to apply its technology to further enhance Phibro’s strong portfolio of poultry vaccines,” said Larry Miller, President, Animal Health, of Phibro. “This agreement marks another milestone in Phibro Vaccines’ focus on bringing real innovation to help solve the very challenging disease issues faced by our global customers.”

About Vaccibody
Vaccibody is a vaccine company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel prophylactic and therapeutic vaccines which target cancer and infectious diseases, for human and veterinary use. Vaccibody’s lead program is focused on advancing a therapeutic DNA vaccine against HPV induced cancers currently undergoing preclinical development for a first-in-man study against cervical cancer.
For further information, please visit www.vaccibody.com.

Contact:
Ole Henrik Brekke
CEO, Vaccibody AS
+47 2295 8193
ohbrekke@vaccibody.com

About Phibro Animal Health Corporation
Phibro Animal Health Corporation is a diversified global developer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of animal health and mineral nutrition products for use in the production of poultry, swine, cattle, dairy and aquaculture.
For further information, please visit www.pahc.com.

Contact:
Richard Johnson
Chief Financial Officer, Phibro Animal Health Corporation
+1 201-329-7300
investor.relations@pahc.com

 

Lytix presents at ASCO

Lytix Bioharma presents data at ASCO from the first LTX-315 clinical trial.

Sunday June 1st Lytix Biopharma presents results from the first Phase I clinical study with LTX-315 at the 50th annual ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology). The results are presented as a poster at the ‘Developmental Therapeutics – Immunotherapy Poster Session’. The poster title is “A Phase I study with LTX-315 – an immunogenic cell death inducer in patients with transdermally accessible tumours”.

ASCO is the largest clinical cancer congress, with participants from all over the world.

The overall conclusions from the study were:

  • The main safety issues were primarily dose-related flushing and transient hypotension
  • Tumour infiltrating lymphocytes and tumour regression were observed in some patients
  • The findings confirms the rationale and potential benefit of LTX-315 as a novel intralesional immunotherapy
  • A Phase I/IIa study with LTX-315 is ongoing at four sites in Europe (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01986426)

See the poster here

Breakfast seminar: Patents for beginners – Why should you protect your oncology innovation?

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator together with the Norwegian Industrial Property Office (Patentstyret) and Inven2 kindly invite researchers, clinicians and start-ups to learn more about securing IPR in oncology projects.

The topics that will be covered are:

  • Why is it important to protect your oncology innovation?
  • What can be patented, how to proceed and what is absolutely crucial in the process?
  • Securing IPR in oncology projects: challenges and strategies?

 

Date: Wednesday 18 June, 2014 at 8:00 -10:00 am. Breakfast will be served from 8:00 am. Venue: Seminar room FOBY2, the Research Building, OUS Radiumhospitalet, Ullernchausseen 70, Oslo. Please register here before 16 June, 2014. Program will follow soon. For more information please contact Susanne Werner, sw@oslocancercluster.no.

Pharmaconutrition products for cancer patients

Smartfish is a Norwegian company developing synergistic omega 3 based pharmaconutrition products. Smartfih is now studying the effect of their phamaconutrition on the immune system, and would like to get in contact with Norwegian collaborators.

Smartfish joined the Oslo Cancer Cluster in 2014 and currently have two products on the market that have been clinically developed for the use of cancer patients; Nutrifriend 1100 and Nutrifriend 600. Their patented technology is basis for the product range of orally applied liquid emulsions ecpecially suitable for cancer patients.

Looking for collaborators
“Our core expertise as a company is to develop immune-modulating medical nutrition. Currently we have collaborations with both UCLA in the US and Karolinska in Sweden on a new type of medical nutrition we are developing containing curcumine. Recent findings suggests an effect on the natural killer cells (NK-cells) of the immunesystem, which are important in combating cancer,” says Janne Sande Mathisen, Co-Founder and R&D, Smartfish.

Smartfish is now looking for Norwegian collaborators within immuno-oncology/immunetherapy. Interested parties may contact Sande Mathisen directly:
E-mail: janne@smartfish.no or Mobile: + 47 93 20 87 02.

 

The Norwegian Cancer Society invest in Vaccibody

The Norwegian Cancer Society (NCS) have established an investment fund for Norwegian oncology companies. With the promising development of VB10.16, Vaccibody’s therapeutic vaccine against HPV induced precancerous lesions, NCS has decided to place their first investment in Vaccibody.

NCS will invest 500,000 euros. For publication in Norwegian, see Dagens Næringsliv.

“We are very pleased to see that Vaccibody has fulfilled all investment criteria demanded by NCS and is very proud that we are the first company they are investing in. This investment is an important step toward the financing of our first-in-man study”, CEO Ole Henrik Brekke says in comment.

Read more on Vaccibody.
Read more on the NCS`s investment fund.

NLSDAYS-ECCP 2014: Present your oncology innovation

Present your oncology innovation to the global life science industry at the largest partnering conference in the Nordics – Nordic Life Science Days featuring the 6th European Cancer Cluster Partnering (ECCP). Please note that application deadline is May 19th. 12 innovation projects will be selected to present a pitch.

ECCP and the Nordic Life Science Days features a special Oncology Track during the conference that takes place in Stockholm September 7-9 2014. NORTTH – The Nordic Tech Transfer Network/Health and the organizers invite researchers and oncology start-ups to apply to present their pre-commercial cancer projects to pharma industry and potential investors at the conference.

Great opportunity for oncology start-ups
12 pre-commercial cancer research projects will be selected by a review group consisting of oncology experts and technology transfer office representatives. Organizer Olav Steinnes from the largest Norwegian Tech-Transfer Office, Inven2, says: “This is a great opportunity for start-ups to promote their project, to receive feedback from the audience that can direct the research in the right commercial direction, and last but not least to connect to the key people. This event is above all a unique chance for investors to find the licensing opportunities of tomorrow.”

Criteria to be met:

  • Oncology related project (Rx or Dx)
  • Research conducted at a Nordic academic institution
  • Proof of principle demonstrated
  • Ambition to create a start-up or license out within the next 1-2 years

The application should be a maximum 2 page synopsis covering a short description of the technology and IPR situation, development status and planned project milestones over the next 2 years, description of product, intended use and target market.

Submit your application by May 19th, 2014 to olav.steinnes@inven2.com. Questions regarding the application may be directed to Olav Steinnes on Mobile +47 900 51 219 or E-mail: olav.steinnes@inven2.com.

Reduced rate
For registration and information about the NLSDays – ECCP 2014 please see www.nlsdays.se.
Oslo Cancer Cluster members receive a reduced special offer to participate – read more on this here.

Positive results on bile duct cancer from PCI Biotech

The PCI Biotech stock went straight up on the Norwegian Stock Exchange after successful results from the first dose cohort in the phase I/II study of Amphinex in combination with the cytotoxic agent gemcitabine in patients with inoperable bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma). No safety concerns were observed at this dose level.

PCI Biotech have previously shown promising results from phase I/II on head- and neck cancer using the same technology as in this phase I study on bile duct cancer, where the three first patients now has been treated.

Targeted therapy
The PCI-technology was developed at the Norwegian Radium Hospital in the nineties, and is a targeted therapy using light to enhance the effect of existing drugs. PCI is an abbreviation for photochemical internalisation and refers to the process of using light to destabilize the cell membrane of the cancer cells in order to deliver the cancer drug effectively.

Bile duct cancer is rare, but extremely severe. PCI Biotech have chosen bile duct cancer due to a clear medical need for a better local treatment, access with light is easy by using already established treatment procedures and one of the most used cytotoxic agents, gemcitabine, is one of the drugs that is significantly enhanced by PCI in preclinical studies.

Please read the press release here.

The PCI technology
Photochemical internalisation (PCI) technology is a technology for light-directed drug delivery, used to enhance the effect of drugs by targeted illumination of the diseased areas of the body.

About PCI Biotech
PCI Biotech has been listed on Oslo Stock Exchange since 2008. The company is offering effective local treatment solutions in cancer through its proprietary photochemical internalisation (PCI) technology. PCI Biotech’s lead photosensitiser Amphinex® is in Phase II clinical development in head and neck cancer in combination with the cytotoxic bleomycin and in Phase I/II clinical development in bile duct cancer in combination with gemcitabine. Read more on PCI Biotech’s website

ICCS 2014: Cutting-edge oncology innovations

On June 22nd, one day prior to the BIO International Convention in San Diego, the International Cancer Cluster Showcase 2014 kicks off. The showcase is an opportunity to head-start the partnering at BIO 2014 and get the latest on what is going on in the cancer clusters of Oslo, Massachusetts, Quebec, Chicago, Toulouse, and the UK Golden Triangle.

For the 3rd time Oslo Cancer Cluster will present cutting edge innovations together with its international partners from North America and Europe. Oslo Cancer Cluster members selected to present at this year’s International Cancer Cluster Showcase (ICCS) are BerGenBio, PCI Biotech and Nextera.


ICCS – A winning concept

Previous ICCS-events have attracted 150 – 200 dedicated international oncology professionals. Positive feedback has encouraged Oslo Cancer Cluster and its international partners to continue with this meeting format. BerGenBio’s CEO Richard Godfrey says:

“The ICCS was a great start to BIO 2013, it was interesting to see the other cancer companies present and we made a few excellent contacts that otherwise we may not have connected with. I will certainly be present at ICCS 2014.”

This year two new partners, namely Cancer Campus from Villejuif and Stockholm-Uppsala Life Sciences are joining the ICCS and contribute to leverage the portfolio of oncology partnering opportunities. The International Cancer Cluster Showcase 2014 will be hosted at the San Diego Convention Centre, same site as the BIO 2014 will be hosted.

For information on presenting companies and registration, please see the ICCS conference website: www.internationalcancercluster.org.

 

BIO International Convention 23-26 June, 2014
Oslo Cancer Cluster will also be represented at the world’s largest biotech conference, BIO International Convention. This year the event is taking place on 23-26 June in San Diego, California at the San Diego Convention Center.

Oslo Cancer Cluster will share a centrally located booth with the other Nordic regions; Medicon Valley Alliance, Biopeople, Invest in Skåne and Copenhagen Capacity. All Oslo Cancer Cluster members may display material at the booth which will function as a central meeting place for the members, coordinated by the Oslo Cancer Cluster team.

Building strong international networks to stimulate collaboration, partnerships and thereby innovation for our members is a key strategic goal for Oslo Cancer Cluster. Read more here.

More information about BIO 2014 is found at convention.bio.org.

“Helsemyggordningen” proposed for the Norwegian Parliament

The liberal party Venstre have proposed the implementation of the “Helsemyggordningen,” a financial mechanism for stimulation of health innovation, for the Norwegian Parliament. The proposal have been designated to the The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs in the Parliament.

“Helsemyggordningen” was raised for the Norwegian Parliament on March 19th as a so-called Document 8-proposal. The “Helsemyggordningen” is inspired by a similar and highly successful mechanism to stimulate innovation in the oil and gas sector, named “oljemyggordningen” – hence the name.

Joint cluster proposal
Oslo Cancer Cluster, Oslo Medtech and Nansen Neuroscience Network proposed the “Helsemyggordningen” jointly at a meeting in December 2013, were a report from Menon Buiness Economics analysing the effect of the instrument was made public. The report concludes that this is a scheme that may be implemented in a simple way, and may be very effective in stimulating health innovations.

The three clusters are all very pleased that the liberal party Venstre have lifted the initiative politically.

Read the Document 8-proposal from Venstre here.
Read the report of “Helsemyggordningen” from Menon Business Economics here.

The Radium Hospital Foundation support the R&D Network Meetings 2014

The Radium Hospital Foundation (Radiumhospitalets Legater) will support the Oslo Cancer Clusters R&D Network Meetings 2014, and collaborate closely with the cluster on developing these meetings.

Oslo Cancer Clusters R&D Network Meetings are the backbone of the clusters strategic goal to stimulate collaborations and partnership by further develop strong national and international networks.

Important for partnering and innovation
The R&D Network Meetings target the members and collaborators of the cluster and is usually held five to six times annually. Each R&D Network Meeting is focused on a specific oncology theme, featuring speakers and angles from basic research to pharma, encouraging interdiciplinary and multi-diciplinary comptence development and partnering.

“The R&D Network Meetings contribute to important networking for the researchers at the Radium Hospital. In addition it gives the participants the opportunity to keep up to date in the ever changing field of cancer research,” says Karl-Erik Giercksky, Clinical Advisor at the Radium Hospital Foundation.

Ketil Widerberg, General Manager of the Oslo Cancer Cluster is very grateful for the support: “The contribution from the Radium Hospital Foundation to our R&D Network Meetings is very important and will contribute to the importance of connecting the members of the cluster further. This is vital to drive and stimulate oncology innovations for the benefit of the cancer patients.”

The Radium Hospital Foundation
The Radium Hospital Foundation is built from gifts and donations given from people, organisations and large companies alike. These contributions enable The Radium Hospital to maintain their place as a world leading Comprehensive Cancer Center by supporting cancer research and excellent patient care.

Find more information on the Radium Hospital Foundation here.

 

R&D Network Meetings 2014

March 5th: Urologic Cancer

April 23rd: Personalised Medicine Workshop

August 20th: R&D Summer Meeting
Featuring presentations of the new members; New Kids on the Block

October 22nd: Conjugated antibodies

December 10th: Christmas R&D Network Meeting

Nansen Prize to Professor Kirsten Sandvig

The Fridtjof Nansen prize for excellent research in science and medicine 2014 is awarded to Centre for Cancer Biomedicine’s Kirsten Sandvig for her groundbreaking work within biochemistry and cell biology.

Oslo Cancer Cluster congratulates Professor Kirsten Sandvig with the Fridtjof Nansen prize for excellent research in science and medicine (Fridtjof Nansens belønning for fremragende forskning innen realfag og medisin). Sandvig is awarded the prize for her groundbreaking results within the fields of biochemistry and cell biology.

Prizewinner Sandvig receives a medal, a diploma and 150,000 NOK at a ceremony on the 5th of May at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Kirsten Sandvig is Principal Investigator in CCB and Professor at the University of Oslo, Department of Biosciences. Sandvig’s research group is located at the Institute for Cancer Research, the Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo University Hospital.

Presentations from Cancer Crosslinks 2014

Cancer Crosslinks 2014, January 23, was the 6th edition of this annual oncology conference bringing together hematologists, oncologists and the industry in Norway.

This years conference was developed and hosted in collaboration with partners BMS, Amgen and the Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital. The feedback from the more than 220 participants was as always very positive, and we promise to come back with a even more exciting 7th edition of Cancer Crosslinks in January 2015.

Below you may find the main presentations featured at Cancer Crosslinks 2014, including the international keynote presentations from Professor Mario Sznol, Yale Cancer Centre and Professor Cornelis van de Velde, ECCO President. Here you may watch these presentations recorded at the Cancer Crosslinks conference.


Opening Keynotes:

“Opportunities, challenges and visions for cancer research and treatment”

Prof. Kjell Magne Tveit, Head of Department of Oncology, Oslo University Hospital

“Current trends in oncology drug development”
Prof. Gunnar Sæter, Head of the Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital

Main session: New treatment modalities – need for a multidisciplinary approach

International Keynote:
“Cancer immunotherapies – novel treatment opportunities and their implications”
Prof. Mario Sznol, Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, CT, USA

International Keynote:

“Multidisciplinary collaboration for patient-centric oncology”
Prof. Cornelis van de Velde, Leiden University Medical Centre, Netherlands, ECCO President

“Optimizing treatment for each patient: MetAction as a Norwegian initiative”
Kjetil Boye MD, PhD; Oslo University Hospital as representative for the MetAction team
Find more info on Cancer Crosslinks 2014 here.

Bergen Bio Raises MNOK 75

BerGenBio AS, an oncology biopharmaceutical company, announces that it has raised NOK75 million (c.$12.5 million) from a syndicate of new and existing investors through a private placement. This follows a $6.0 million round in May 2013.

Proceeds from the financing will be used to support the development of the Company’s innovative portfolio of innovative cancer therapeutics.This includes the on-going clinical development of its lead drug candidate, BGB324, a first-in-class selective AXL kinase inhibitor, which is currently in Phase Ib clinical studies to evaluate its safety and initial signs of efficacy to treat different cancers as a single agent and in combination with other drugs.

Fund pipeline advancement
The funds raised will be used to complete these studies, data from which is anticipated in 2015. BGB324 is the only selective Axl receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor in clinical development to target tumour epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and has a potential application as a novel treatment for drug-resistant solid and hematological cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer and acute myeloid leukemia.

Richard Godfrey, CEO of BerGenBio commented: “I would like to thank our new and existing investors for their support. This important funding will enable us to advance our pipeline to key value inflection points. We believe that targeting Axl is a promising new approach to treating drug resistant cancers. We look forward to using this investment to continue exploring the clinical opportunity for our lead Axl inhibitor, BGB324, and our other candidate compounds.”

Huge market potential
Sveinung Hole, Managing Partner Sarsia Seed commented “At the seed stage we recognised the huge addressable market potential for BerGenBio`s EMT inhibitors and have continued to support the Company throughout its development. I am delighted the Company continues to attract funding and is able to progress its promising pipeline of novel targeted cancer therapies through further clinical development and realising significant value gain.

Ann-Tove Kongsnes, Investment Director, Investinor AS added, `we are excited by the Company’s prospects and are confident in the management team’s ability to drive these programs forward.”


About the Axl kinase receptor

The Axl tyrosine kinase receptor is regarded as one of the most promising new therapeutic targets for cancer drug  development It is upregulated in tumours residing in a hostile micro-environment and plays a crucial role in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which in turn is a key driver of metastasis (cancer spread) and a mechanisms of acquired drug-resistance.

About BerGenBio AS
BerGenBio AS is a biopharmaceutical company located in Bergen, Norway. The company is committed to developing first in class therapeutics that inhibit tumor EMT, preventing the formation of cancer stem cells and disrupting the important mechanisms of acquired cancer drug resistance. The company is founded on proprietary platform technology called CellSelect™, which uses information from RNAi screening studies to identify and validate novel drug targets and biomarkers. BGB324 is the first compound in BerGenBio’s pipeline to enter clinical trials, with additional compounds and drug targets at different stages of preclinical development. www.bergenbio.com

 

Targovax in phase IIa with cancer vaccine

Immunotherapy specialist Targovax reaches Phase IIa in operable pancreatic cancer with its TG01 immunotherapy. RAS specific immune responses were induced in all 6 patients in Phase I, and no substantial side effects were observed in the patients. The clinical trial has now expanded from Norway to two sites in the UK.

 

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Targovax started in 2010 to develop targeted immunotherapy in the form of therapeutic cancer vaccines. The TG01 vaccine has been given as treatment to cancer patients, in combination with chemotherapy after surgery, to prevent relapse. TG01 is granted Orphan Drug Status for pancreatic cancer in both EU and USA. The promising Phase I results has triggered a $2M (12.5 MNOK) milestone from current owners.

 

Clinical trial in phase II
Gustav Gaudernack, professor emeritus at Oslo University Hospital, and one of the inventors of the technology, states: “I have great expectations for the principle of treating patients with peptide based immunotherapy, which educates the patients’ immune system to fight cancer. It is exciting that the TG01 project now reaches this important milestone in combination with chemotherapy”.

The clinical trial has now formally entered Phase IIa, and the trial is expanding from Norway to two sites in UK, namely The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, and The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool.

UK Principal Investigator Professor Daniel Palmer says: “Vaccination targeting RAS mutations is an extremely promising area of research and with our considerable experience in conducting multicentre immunotherapy trials, we are looking forward to help expand Targovax’s TG01 trial into Phase IIa.”

Important milestone
CEO Hanne Mette Kristensen commented: “Through this important milestone, we have significantly reduced risk in TG01 development by confirming observations of specific immune response and safety for the patients. This is very encouraging. We will continue to work towards confirming the link between TG01 treatment and effect on survival for these patients. We are proud that the two UK sites now participate in the clinical trial – we see this as a quality mark. ”

Targovax’ RAS specific immunotherapy triggers both cytotoxic- and helper T-cell- immune responses, educating the patients’ immune system to recognize and kill the cancer cells.

New IPR is established as a basis for expanding pipeline to broader indications.

“Based on these results, Targovax is now focused on completing the ongoing Phase IIa study with TG01 in surgically resected cancer. In addition, the company is initiating preparations for a randomized Phase II, and completing a Phase I trial with TG02 in larger indications such as colorectal cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC),” concludes Kristensen.

Read more in the press release on Targovax’ website.

 

About Targovax
Targovax develops immunotherapy in the form of therapeutic cancer vaccines. TG01 is being developed for pancreatic cancer as its first indication. The drug has been investigated in exploratory trials in patients with promising results. The company is located in Lysaker, close to Oslo, Norway.

TG01 and RAS
TG01 is a therapeutic cancer vaccine which means that it educates the body’s immune system to recognize and kill the cancer cells. TG01 is based on pioneering research into RAS mutations in the Norwegian Radium Hospital (now Oslo University Hospital) and Norsk Hydro. Mutation of RAS disrupts normal cell division signaling and contributes to development of cancer cells and tumors. RAS mutations are found in approximately 25% of all cancers and in particular in pancreatic cancer (80-90%), colorectal cancer (40%) and non-small cell lung cancers (30%). Lead candidateTG01 has Orphan Drug status for pancreatic cancer in the EU and US and is currently in Phase IIa trials in surgically resected pancreatic cancer, patients start treatment 1-8 weeks after surgery.

Pancreas cancer and other RAS-mutated cancer forms
Pancreatic cancer is a disease affecting 116 000 patients each year in EU and USA, and approximately 690 persons each year in Norway. Approx 15-20% of these are discovered at an early stage and are operable. The mortality is high, and the prognosis for these patients has been more or less unchanged the last 30 years. Approximately 80-90% of patients with pancreatic cancer have RAS mutations in the cancer cells.
RAS mutations are also frequent in colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and other cancers. Patients with RAS mutations within these indications have proved to be difficult to treat with current treatments, and there is a significant unmet medical need.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park

Join the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park & Incubator

May 2015 is THE grand opening of Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park and Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator. Would you like to join us in the fight against cancer by being part of a power centre for developing innovative cancer treatment? Contact us now, and see what we may offer you as a tenant  in the Innovation Park or the Incubator.

With the opening of the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park, the whole value chain within oncology R&D in the Oslo-area is brought together at one place: The Radium Hospital Innovation Campus.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park is made up of a ground space of two floors and three semi-separate buildings on top. Ullern High School with 900 students will inhabit the ground space. Here you will also find a cantina, a hall for multi-purpose use and a seminar room.

Already now, the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park is filling up. If you decide to join us, you will be in good company as well as in the heart of where innovative cancer R&D are being developed.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator  – where budding biotechs bloom
The Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator will provide a dynamic, creative and professional growth environment for scientists and start-ups within oncology, so that outstanding research is transformed into innovative therapies.

In the Incubator both researchers and start-ups may rent both office and lab space, scaling up and down as needed. The Incubator also provides a very attractive “plug and play” model – where all practicalities are taken care of.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator receives financial support from the governmental agency Siva, the Industrial Development Corporation of Norway. The funding will be used to develop and implement a tailor made business development concept for the tenants of the Incubator.

Contact: 

Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park
Jónas Einarsson
Initiator of the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park
Mobile: +47 480 96 355
E-mail: je@radforsk.no

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator
Ketil Widerberg
General Manager, Oslo Cancer Cluster
Mobile: +47 915 77 990
E-mail: kw@oslocancercluster.no