Photo: Moritz Knoringer, Unsplash

10 milestones from our biotech members in 2022

What a year it has been for the development of Norwegian biotech companies!

We want to recognise the accomplishments of our members this year. Many of them have reached impressive milestones and unfortunately we can’t include all. So we have selected 10 outstanding news stories. These represent both big and small companies, covering various sectors and focusing on different types of cancer therapies and diagnostics. We hope this list serves as inspiration for you and that you get to know our members a bit better.

Strategic collaboration on optimizing TCRs

Nextera set up a strategic collaboration with Zelluna Immunotherapy in March. Together they will optimize T cell receptors (TCRs), which are crucial in the development of a special type of cancer treatment called TCR-based natural killer cell therapies. Nextera is a research-based target and drug discovery company with a unique protein engineering and discovery platform – NextCore.

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Faster development of cancer vaccines

NEC Oncoimmunity acquired VAXIMM’s neoantigen vaccine development assets in March. These assets will be used to faster develop personalized T cell cancer vaccines. NEC OncoImmunity AS is a biotechnology company that has developed a machine-learning software to enable development of personalized cancer immunotherapy, in addition to infectious disease vaccines.

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Photo of Richard Stratford and Trevor Clancy in OncoImmunity.

Richard Stratford and Trevor Clancy, founders of NEC OncoImmunity AS, an AI driven biotechnology company. They grew the company in the Oslo Cancer Cluster ecosystem, making use of the cluster’s advice and support, and networking and partnering opportunities. The photo was taken in December 2018 outside Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park. Photo: Oslo Cancer Cluster


Artificial intelligence improves cancer prognosis

In May, DoMore Diagnostics became the first company ever to get a CE-mark for a product that utilises artificial intelligence to improve patient outcomes. The company has developed a deep learning algorithm that can give more accurate prognosis for colorectal cancer patients by analysing standard histology images.

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The deep learning algorithm that DoMore Diagnostics is commercialising was first invented by Professor Håvard Danielsen at the Institute of Cancer Genetics and Informatics, also situated in Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park. Danielsen received the King Olav V’s Cancer Research Award in 2022 for his research into artificial intelligence and cancer. Photo: ICGI


Alpha emitter therapy against colorectal cancer

Oncoinvent initiated a phase 2 trial for colorectal patients to be treated with their drug candidate Radspherin in August. The study will be conducted at two sites (the Radium Hospital in Norway and at Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden) and the first patient was included in August. Oncoinvent is a clinical stage company advancing alpha emitter therapy across a variety of cancers.

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Takeda Ventures invests in TCR-NK therapies

Zelluna Immunotherapy received an investment from Takeda Ventures Inc. during the company’s financing round in August. The funds will help advance the company’s lead product. Zelluna Immunotherapy is a company pioneering the development of a new type of treatment against solid cancers called “allogeneic T cell receptor guided natural killer cell immunotherapies”.

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Zelluna Immunotherapy have enterred several strategic collaborations this year, including with Takeda Ventures and Nextera. This photo was taken of the Zelluna Immunotherapy team at Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park. Photo: Zelluna Immunotherapy

Digital platform for research collaboration

Ledidi revealed the company’s software technology will be used in UK hospitals to improve the treatment, prognosis and care of patients with breast cancer in September. It is the pharmaceutical company Pfizer’s UK branch that is offering subscription access to NHS hospitals for the cloud-based research and registry platform Ledidi Core. Ledidi is a Norwegian technology company with an end-to-end solution for health registers and research.

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Einar Martin Aandahl, founder and CEO of Ledidi, developed the research platform because as a clinician he saw a need for simpler collaboration on data between doctors, institutions and countries. Photo: Ledidi


Promising results for universal cancer vaccine

Ultimovacs announced positive three-year results with 71% survival rate for patients in the first cohort of a study into metastatic malignant melanoma in October. The patients had been treated with the company’s product UV1 (a universal cancer vaccine) in combination with pembrolizumab (a checkpoint inhibitor anticancer drug). Ultimovacs is an immunotherapy company developing immune-stimulatory vaccines to treat a broad range of cancers.

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Oncolytic peptide against melanoma

Lytix Biopharma expanded the ATLAS study to three European countries in November. ATLAS is a phase 2 combination study, treating patients with advanced melanoma with the company’s product LTX-315 (a first-in-class oncolytic molecule) and pembrolizumab (a checkpoint inhibitor anticancer drug). Lytix Biopharma is a clinical stage biotech company developing novel cancer immunotherapies.

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Light cytoscopy against bladder cancer

Photocure’s partner Asieris enrolled the first patient in a phase 3 trial exploring the use of Hexvix and blue versus white light cystoscopy in patients with non-muscle invasive bladder cancer in November. Hexvix is a drug that preferentially accumulates in cancer cells in the bladder, making them glow bright pink during blue light cystoscopy. This makes it easier to detect and diagnose tumours.

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Immunotherapy against cervical cancer

Nykode Therapeutics continues to show positive results from the company’s phase 2 clinical study against cervical cancer in November. The patients in the study have received Nykode Therapeutic’s VB.10.16 (a therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of human papilloma virus-16 induced malignancies) and atezolizumab (a checkpoint inhibitor anti-cancer drug from Roche). Nykode Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel immunotherapies.

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Would you like to have your company’s news story featured on our website? Please get in touch with Sofia Linden, Communications adviser at Oslo Cancer Cluster.

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