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

Immunotherapy: Finding the Right Fit

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

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

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

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

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

You can read about it here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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,, +4792628434
Please visit

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.



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.


Life Tech & Novartis to develop immunetherapy against leukemia

Life Technologies Corporation has signed a long-term supply and exclusive licensing agreement with Novartis for immunotherapeutics involving T cells modified to express chimeric antigen receptors for the treatment of cancer. Both Novartis and Life Technologies are member of Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Life Technologies (former Dynal) will provide the company’s proprietary technology, Dynabeads® CD3/CD28 CTS™, which possess unique biological properties suited to production of active, therapeutically relevant immune system cells. The agreement includes rights to use Life Technologies’ intellectual property to perform the resulting therapy, and is exclusive for use in the field of chimeric antigen receptors for the treatment of cancer.

“The collaboration with Novartis highlights the distinct capabilities that Life Technologies can provide in the therapeutic realm,” said Greg Lucier, chairman and chief executive officer of Life Technologies. “Taken with our previous announcements of companion diagnostic collaborations, the current agreement demonstrates how Life is uniquely positioned to facilitate drug development through alliances with pharma.” Chimeric antigen receptor T cell based immunotherapy constitutes a novel, individualized method of combating cancers.

Immunotherapeutic treatment of child leukemia
Novartis is working to commercialize technology developed at the University of Pennsylvania that has demonstrated startling efficacy in research studies. In two 2011 publications University of Pennsylvania researchers described application of immunotherapy in three patients, all of whom experienced durable complete or partial remission of their cancers within three to four weeks of treatment. A 2013 publication in the New England Journal of Medicine described complete responses with one ongoing in two children with leukemia.

The personalized therapy consists of removing blood cells from cancer patients; isolating and activating T cells; genetically modifying the T cells thereby programming those cells to recognize and attack cancer cells; expanding the T cells; and, lastly, introducing those cells back into the body so the patient’s immune system can take over. Under the terms of the current agreement, Life Technologies’ Dynabeads® CD3/CD28 CTS™, will be used to isolate, activate and expand the T cells.

“Dynabeads ® CD3/CD28 CTS™ have unique properties that are ideal for producing a robust immunotherapeutic,” said Oystein Aamellem, head of Cellular Medicine at Life Technologies. “Not only do the beads assure that T cells are separated from any unwanted cells, it also triggers the T cells to reproduce in a natural and controlled manner, ensuring a therapeutically relevant population is transferred back into the patient.”

Read an article about one of these children featured in the New York Times here.



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