Joining forces to help life science start-ups
AstraZeneca, the SPARK Norway programme at University of Oslo and Oslo Cancer Cluster enter a new mentoring collaboration for life science start-ups.
A new collaboration between the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, the SPARK Programme at Norway’s largest life science university and Norway’s only cancer cluster is set in motion to grow the life science sector in the Nordics. At the core of the collaboration is AstraZeneca’s business and science mentoring programme, called AstraZeneca Exchange Nordics.
How does it work?
Mentors from AstraZeneca support Nordic entrepreneurs and start-ups to speed up innovations that benefit patients. By sharing expertise, the mentors help move start-ups towards sustainable and successful growth.
The mentors cover a wide range of expertise for all phases of drug development but also help to address critical issues such as health economics, payer and market access and business development. Furthermore, the programme offers mentoring opportunities in Data Science, AI and Digital Health.
“Our goal is to focus on where we can help to make a difference. We want to see more successful companies grow and increase the attractiveness of the Nordic region. By contributing with knowledge and expertise from AstraZeneca mentors, we can with simple measurements add value and inspiration for start-ups in the Life Science sector”, said Joachim Reischl, Head of Diagnostic Science AstraZeneca, and AZ mentor.
AstraZeneca has established relationships with several Nordic incubators, connecting entrepreneurs with AstraZeneca mentors. The mentors arrange non-confidential, single advisory sessions on strategic questions in the early start-up journey to help entrepreneurial ideas grow.
Oslo Cancer Cluster and the SPARK Norway programme at University of Oslo will both identify and select projects or companies in their networks that may benefit from mentoring.
Access to industry specialists
The mentoring programme and the public-private collaboration fits right into Oslo Cancer Cluster’s goal to support the development of promising start-ups in the cancer field.
“Via AstraZeneca’s business & science mentoring programme Oslo Cancer Cluster’s start-ups and biotechs get access to industry specialists for discussing strategic questions early in their R&D journey. It will be truly helpful for a variety of start-ups in our cluster”, said Jutta Heix, Head of International Affairs at Oslo Cancer Cluster.
“Mentoring from AstraZeneca’s experts will be highly valuable for the SPARK Norway projects in their endeavour to build new start-ups based on their innovative academic ideas. Getting the industry perspective and feedback will help the projects progress in the right direction and shape their understanding of how they can develop their idea into a new product”, stated Morten Egeberg, Administrative Leader UiO:Life Science and Leader SPARK Norway at the University of Oslo.
A positive contribution
Inven2 is a Tech Transfer Office, owned by the University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital, that was established to administer the commercial potential of inventions and work from these two institutions and all the health trusts in the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority. They welcome the initiative for projects and start-ups in the SPARK and Oslo Cancer Cluster networks.
“We welcome these new opportunities for academic innovators and start-up companies emerging from the University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital. When establishing new start-ups, competence and previous experience is of critical importance. The AstraZeneca mentoring programme will indeed be a positive contribution to support new entrepreneurs for faster onboarding on their innovation journey”, said Jens Halvard Grønlien, Vice President Innovation in Inven2.
Oslo Cancer Cluster and the SPARK Norway programme at University of Oslo both signed a memorandum of understanding with AstraZeneca in October 2022.
More information about AstraZeneca’s business & science mentoring program can be found on their website via the following links:
Are you an Oslo Cancer Cluster member, interested in this mentoring programme? Please contact Jutta Heix.