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

Doing More in Prognosis and Diagnosis

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


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

Project DoMore! has the answers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: or Mobile: + 47 93 20 87 02.


Norwegian Cancer Society initiate investment fund

The newly employed Head of Biotech Investments in The Norwegian Cancer Society, Sigrid Fossheim, has already had several meetings with potential oncology companies to invest in. – We aim to make our first investment before the Summer of 2014, says Fossheim.

The Norwegian Cancer Society is the largest private contributor to cancer research in Norway. Annually the Society grants approximately MNOK 180 to cancer research.

Earlier this year the Norwegian Cancer Society announced they would start investing in early-stage companies and projects within oncology. Head of Biotech Investments Sigrid Fossheim, known from Oslo Cancer Cluster members as Epitarget and Clavis Pharma, has already had meetings with several companies and Tech Transfer Offices (TTO`s), hoping to tap into the available funding of MNOK 75 over five years.
Will make a difference
“We have some specific criterias for our investments of course, but for us the overall goal is to accelerate the development of new therapies and diagnostics for the benefit of the cancer patients. The rule of thumb when we invest is, that we will make a difference, meaning the funding should release the potential of a project and help the company through a critical phase where capital is scarce, says Fossheim

And adds: “A successful investment from our perspective implies that the company for instance has been able to undertake critical and risk reducing project activities rendering it more attractive to larger investors that can further finance the company to project commercialisation and patient benefit.”

As a general rule at least one co-investor should invest in the project or company in collaboration with the Norwegian Cancer Society.

“Having a co-investor is important for us in order to learn the do`s and don’ts of the trade. We have a tight dialogue with all actors in the field, both public and private, including the TTO`s,” says Ole Alexander Opdalshei, Deputy Secretary General.

Hope to inspire others to invest

The news that the Norwegian Cancer Society would start investing was very well received by the oncology community when the initiative was first announced in May this year. For the Society this is an entirely new role, and a very different role than funding cancer research, says Opdalshei.

“For us this is a political statement as well. We hope that through investing, the government and private investors understand that there is a huge need for capital to take oncology research from bench to bedside. We see too few promising projects reach the cancer patients, due to lack of funding in some critical phases. Hopefully our entry onto this scene will inspire others to take the leap – in collaboration with us,” says Opdalshei.

The Society will at the start of the 2014  have meetings with both Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Research Council, addressing the need for more early-stage funding in this area.

“We were very surprised and let down when we got the news that none of the governmental seed capital funds went to biomedicine. This is an area that deserves funding to transform the excellent research to actual patient care, says Opdalshei.

Contact us and set up a meeting
Fossheim encourages oncology start-ups and TTO`s that need funding, to contact her and set up a meeting for a first evaluation.

“If the company or TTO has a promising project that falls within the scope of the Society’s investment mandate, we will encourage the company/TTO to apply for investment funds, following some overall guidelines and providing the necessary documentation. If the evaluation of the company is positive with amongst other the fulfillment of the Society’s investment criterias – an investment proposal will be presented to the Investment Committee for recommendation. The board of the Norwegian Cancer Society will however have the final decision-making authority with regard to investments recommended by the Investment Committee, “says Fossheim.

Flowchart investment process Norwegian Cancer Society.

Facts – Norwegian Cancer Society`s Investments in Oncology:

  • MNOK 75 over a five-year period
  • Early-stage companies/projects
  • Investment criterias at an organizational level:
    1) Unlisted companies
    2) Main business area within oncology
    3) Well –organised and professionally run projects/companies
  • Investment criterias at a project level:
    1) Unique product with high potential for improved cancer care
    2) Unmet medical needs addressed
    3) Patent protection
    4) Competent and experienced team
    5) Proven capability in project execution
    6) Clear and achievable milestone plan
    7) Robust and suitable business model
    8) Low negative, reputation risk
    9) Conformity with the ethical guidelines of the Norwegian Cancer Society

Investment Committee members:

  • Terje Kalland, Chief Scientific Officer, Karolinska Development
  • Hans Peter Bøhn, physician and former healthcare analyst at Fondsfinans
  • Tom Pike, life science industry professional
  • Hilde Steineger, Head of Innovation Management, Pronova Biopharma
  • James Lorens, Professor at University of Bergen and co-founder of BerGenBio

For more information:

Contact Sigrid Fossheim, Head of Biotech Investments, The Norwegian Cancer Society: /+ 47 982 38 465

About the Norwegian Cancer Society

The Norwegian Cancer Society is a nationwide organization that addresses the challenges of cancer and funding research is its main priority. The Society provides approximately 25 per cent of all direct funding for cancer research in Norway, and is also actively involved in cancer prevention and international collaboration.
The Society’s main goals are s to reduce cancer incidence, increase cancer survival and achieve optimal life quality for cancer patients and their families.
Read more on the Norwegian Cancer Society’s website.


Inven2 strike major deal

Inven2 grants exclusive worldwide license to its epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors patent portfolio to Merck. Researchers and clinicians at Sørlandet Hospital have discovered that the EGFR inhibitors may play a vital role as a pain reliever for so called neuropathic pain. This is a potential novel use of the growth factor inhibitor that up until now have been used in cancer treatment, stagging cancer growth.


Inven2 AS, the entity commercializing early stage inventions from the largest University and Hospitals in Norway, announced on November 22 2013, that an exclusive worldwide license agreement was signed with Merck for its patent portfolio related to a potential novel use of EGFR inhibitors in the treatment of neuropathic pain.

“We are encouraged with the progress of our ongoing exploratory clinical trials and are excited about further investigating EGFR inhibitors for this use,” says investigator Dr. Christian Kersten at Sørlandet Hospital.


One of Norways largest biotech deals
Under the agreement, Inven2 will get an upfront payment from Merck, and potentially receive a total of € 100 million in development milestones depending on the number of EGFR inhibitors being launched. In addition, Merck will pay Inven2 tiered royalties on net worldwide sales. In exchange, Merck will gain exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize the portfolio. This means that this is one of the largest biotech deals ever made in Norway at this point.

“We believe that Merck is an ideal partner for us as they are clearly committed to take the lead position in the EGFR inhibitor drug class segment, and they have a profound knowledge of this area. This agreement validates the high potential the drug class has in new indications driven by their high unmet medical need,” said Ole Kristian Hjelstuen, CEO of Inven2


About Inven2 – Oslo Technology Transfer
Inven2 is the technology transfer office for the University of Oslo, Oslo University Hospitals and all hospitals in the South-East region of Norway. Inven2’s mission is to turn excellent science into products mainly in the field of life sciences.

The various institutions together, disclose around 200 unique inventions annually. In 2013, Inven2 is on plan to deliver 60 new patent filings, 35 license agreements, and 5 start-up companies. As of today Inven2 has a portfolio of 27 technology start-ups and a range of licensing agreements with the discovery of the biomarker NT-proBNP (Elecsys “Roche”) as the biggest commercial success at present.

Inven2’s other business area is clinical contract partnerships with the Oslo University Hospital and South-Eastern Health Municipal.

For more information, please visit

Photo: The team of doctors at Sørlandet Hospital that have discovered the novel use of EGFR inhibitors, together with the life science team from Inven2 securing the deal with Merck.


National Cancer Drugs Fund

Oslo Cancer Cluster, the Norwegian Cancer Society and the Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Norway join forces in pushing for a new cancer drugs fund. The purpose of the fund is to ensure equal and quicker access to new approved cancer drugs in Norway.


A cancer drugs fund would cover the costs of new cancer drugs for public hospitals over a period of two to three years, and would ensure that cancer patients in Norway are given equal and quicker access to new cancer drugs. The fund provides an opportunity to generate Norwegian data regarding the effects of cancer drugs and obtain experience of their use in Norwegian hospitals. This would give the pharmaceuticals authorities a good basis for evaluating the value of each drug and give time for a thorough assessment of whether we want to start using it in Norwegian hospitals.

Equal and quicker access

There are two pressing reasons why such a cancer drugs fund should be established:
Firstly, it will ensure that the same cancer treatments will be available all over Norway. This is not the case today. Secondly, a national cancer drugs fund will ensure that new cancer drugs are taken into use immediately after being approved by the Norwegian Medicines Agency and recommended by expert groups, regardless of health economics and bureaucratic processes.

We want this now because:

Growing knowledge about cancer and cancer treatment results in new medical advances being made all the time. The Norwegian funding scheme for cancer drugs has proven to be poorly equipped to deal with the continuous development and innovation in this area, for two main reasons: Firstly, drugs are funded over the hospitals’ operating budgets, which means that expensive new cancer drugs are not followed up by fresh money in the hospital budgets. Secondly, the Norwegian health authorities often take a long time to consider whether to introduce new drugs in the treatment guidelines, even after a drug has been thoroughly assessed and approved for use by international and Norwegian pharmaceuticals authorities and recommended by oncology expert milieus.


In Norwegian:

Oslo Cancer Cluster, Kreftforeningen og Legemiddelindiustriforeningen går sammen inn for et kreftmedisinfond.  Formålet med fondet er å sikre lik og raskere tilgang til nye, godkjente kreftmedisiner i Norge.

Et kreftmedisinfond vil gi offentlige sykehus kostnadsdekning for nye kreftmedisiner over en to-  til tre-års periode og vil sikre kreftpasienter i Norge lik og raskere tilgang til ny kreftmedisin. Fondet gir mulighet til å generere norske data for effekt og samle erfaring fra bruken av legemiddelet ved norske sykehus. Dette vil gi legemiddelmyndighetene gode forutsetninger til å evaluere verdien av hvert enkelt legemiddel og gi tid til en grundig vurdering av om vi ønsker å ta det i bruk på norske sykehus.

Lik tilgang og raskere tilgang
Det er to svært presserende grunner til at et slikt kreftmedisinfond bør komme på plass:
For det første vil dette samme kreftbehandling over hele landet. Det er ikke realiteten i dag. For det andre vil et nasjonalt kreftmedisinfond sikrer at nye kreftmedisiner tas i bruk umiddelbart etter godkjenning fra Legemiddelverket og anbefaling fra faggruppene, uavhengig av helseøkonomiske og byråkratiske prosesser.

Bakgrunnen for at vi ønsker dette nå:
Økende kunnskap om kreft og kreftbehandling, fører til stadig nye medisinske fremskritt. Det norske finansieringssystemet for kreftmedisiner har vist seg lite egnet til å håndtere den kontinuerlige utviklingen og nyvinningene innen dette området, basert på to sentrale problemstillinger: For det første er finansieringen av legemidlene lagt til sykehusenes driftsbudsjetter, det innebærer at nye og kostbare kreftmedisiner ikke følges opp med nye penger på sykehusbudsjettene. For det andre bruker norske helsemyndigheter ofte lang tid på å vurdere om nye medisiner skal få en plass i behandlingsretningslinjene, selv etter at medikamentet er grundig vurdert og godkjent for bruk av internasjonale og norske legemiddelmyndigheter og anbefales av de onkologiske fagmiljøene.