Find your health mentor

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator has joined a new national health mentor program to help Norwegian startups connect with the right experts.

Are you a health startup? Do you need help to get going? Eight health clusters and incubators have joined forces to provide mentors and specialist knowledge to Norwegian health startups, through the new health mentor program from Innovation Norway. One of them is Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

Bjørn Klem, general manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, commented:

“Innovation Norway’s new health mentor program is a good scheme for startups that need help to establish their company. Access to a network of health mentors give the companies the opportunity to get tailor-made guidance in a very challenging development phase.”

This is the first time Innovation Norway offers a mentor program for a specific industry. The scheme is a pilot project for year 2020. Bård Stranheim, responsible for the mentor program in Innovation Norway, said:

“Good mentors are an important key to growth. This scheme will give high-quality mentors. Maybe this pilot project will be the basis of a new model to connect world-class mentors with Norwegian startups to prepare them for international growth.”

 

The health mentor program consists of:

 

Apply on Innovation Norway’s website for a health mentor

 

Among Europe’s finest 

OCC Incubator was recently rated among the top 20 European biotech incubators. Here’s why!

Every year, the biotech website Labiotech makes a top 20 list of the best biotech incubators in Europe. Oslo Cancer Cluster (OCC) Incubator is the only Norwegian incubator on the list this year, together with well established incubators in Belgium, Switzerland, Great Britain, Germany, Sweden and other European countries.

Labiotech.eu is the leading digital media covering the European biotech industry, with over 150,000 visitors every month.

Size and relevance matters

We asked Clara Rodríguez Fernández, Senior Reporter in Labiotech, about the selection criteria. She replied:

“We aim to include the most relevant incubators across different European countries. We selected those based on their size and relevance within their country’s biotech ecosystem and also based on feedback from the industry contacts we sent our preliminary list to.”

See the full top 20 list on labiotech.eu.  

Means a lot in Norway

In Norway, the list has attracted attention.

“This means a lot. We have a strong and attractive ecosystem around Oslo Cancer Cluster on research and commercialization of pharmaceuticals. The latest success story is the tech company OncoImmunity that was bought by the tech giant NEC this summer.” Håkon Haugli, CEO Innovation Norway

Read more about NEC OncoImmunity in this news story.

Håkon Haugli continues:

“We also recognize that Norway, through Oslo Cancer Cluster, is positioned very well for the European Union’s next big endeavour, ‘Missions’, which will be launched next year. Cancer is one of five focus areas, which the European Union will channel considerable project resources into, to resolve one of our time’s big societal problems.”

The European Union has defined five research and innovation mission areas, inspired by the Apollo 11 mission to put a man on the moon. The missions aim to deliver solutions to some of the greatest challenges facing our world, such as cancer, climate change, healthy oceans, climate-neutral cities and healthy soil and food.

You can read more about the European research and innovation missions on this official website.

A boost of motivation

For OCC Incubator, being on the top 20 list is a nice boost of motivation. Bjørn Klem, General Manager OCC Incubator, puts it this way: 

“We are excited about being rated among the best biotech incubators in Europe. It motivates us to become the most attractive space for innovations in the field of cancer!” 

 

Want to read more about biotech incubators and start-up opportunities? 

 

Cross-border courses in the Nordics

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator collaborates with partners in Sweden, Norway and Finland to help life science professionals learn from their neighbours.

“Life science is a global business and cross-border collaboration is important, in particular for small countries in the Nordics” says Bjørn Klem, manager at Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

Bjørn Klem, manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

Bjørn Klem, manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

Together with partners from three different professional sectors in three countries, Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator recently received €75,000 in project funding over two years from the Nordplus Programme.

Digital competences

Nordplus is the Nordic Council of Ministers’ most important programme in the area of lifelong learning. On its webpage, Nordplus writes that more than 10,000 people in the Nordic and Baltic region benefit from the programme every year.

In 2019 and 2020, Nordplus welcomes applications on digital competences and computational thinking.

Innovation and competition

Bjørn Klem hopes that the project will benefit both Nordic innovation and competition.

“The outcome of this project should be to share educational resources to increase competence in the Nordic innovation environments. This will make innovation in life science more competitive in the global market.” Bjørn Klem

The Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Norway (LMI), one of the five partners in the project, also stresses the importance of Nordic collaboration for the life science industry. Marie Svendsen Aase, project coordinator LMI, puts it this way: 

“We see Nordic cooperation as an essential value to the medical development that is now taking place with both personalised medicine and building a life science industry across the Nordic countries.”

Learning across the region

The project will make continuous learning for life science professionals, specifically in pharmaceuticals and medical devices, easier by facilitating courses and material digitally. At the same time, the project aims to adapt national courses to a Nordic and Baltic audience.  

A course plan will be made in 2019.

The five partners in the project are:

  • Swedish Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Swedish Pharmaceutical Industry Association
  • Pharmaceutical Information Centre in Finland
  • The Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry in Norway (LMI)
  • Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator

The first Norwegian CAR

Made in Oslo by a team of researchers from Oslo University Hospital, the first ever Norwegian CAR T cell is now a fact. A potential treatment based on this result depends on a clinical study.

A new Norwegian study shows a genetically modified cell-line with great potential as treatment for patients that are not responding to established CAR T cell therapies. This form of immuno-therapy for cancer patients has recently been approved in many countries, including Norway.

“We hope that the Norwegian authorities will be interested in transforming this research into benefits for Norwegian patients.” Hakan Köksal

 

 

What is a CAR?

Before we go into the research, let us clarify an essential question. What is a CAR? Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells are T cells that have been genetically engineered to produce an artificialreceptorwhich binds a protein on cancer cells.

How does this work? T cells naturally recognize threats to the body using their T cell receptors, but cancer cells can lock onto those receptors and deactivate them. The new CAR T cell therapies are in fact genetic manipulations used to lure a T cell to make it kill cancer cells. This is what a CAR is doing, indeed CARs replace the natural T-cell receptors in any T cells and give them the power to recognize the defined target – the cancer cell.

CAR-T cell therapy is used as cancer therapy for patients with B-cell malignancies that do not respond to other treatments.

 A severe consequence of using CAR T cell therapy is that it effectively wipes out all the B cells in the patient’s body — not only the cancerous leukemia cells or the lymphoma, but the healthy B cells as well. Since B-cells are an important part of the immune system, it goes without saying that the treatment comes with risks.

Micrograph of actin cytoskeleton of T-cells. The cell is about 10µm in diameter. Photo: Pierre Dillard

Micrograph of actin cytoskeleton of T-cells. The cell is about 10µm in diameter. Photo: Pierre Dillard

T cells: T lymphocytes (T cells) have the capacity to kill cancer cells. These T cells are a subtype of white blood cells and play a central role in cell-mediated immunity.

 

Made in Norway  

Now let us move on to the new research. This particular construct was designed from an antibody that was isolated in the 1980’s at the Radium Hospital in Oslo.

The CAR construct was designed, manufactured and validated in two laboratories in the Radium Hospital campus. One is the laboratory of Immunomonitoring and Translational Research of the Department of Cellular Therapy, OUH, located at the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator. This laboratory is led by Else Marit Inderberg and Sébastien Wälchli. The other is the laboratory of the Lymphoma biology group of the Department of Cancer Immunology, Institute for Cancer Research, OUH. This laboratory is led by June Helen Myklebust and Erlend B. Smeland.

“Even the mouse was Norwegian.” Hakan Köksal

The pre-clinical work that made the Norwegian CAR was completed in March 2019.

In the research paper “Preclinical development of CD37CAR T-cell therapy for treatment of B-cell lymphoma”, published in the journal Blood Advances, the research team tests an artificially produced construct calledCD37CAR and finds that it is especially promising for patients suffering from multiple types of B-cell lymphoma. This may be treated successfully with novel cell-based therapy.

It now needs to be approved by the authorities and gain financial support to be further tested in a clinical study in order to benefit Norwegian patients.

 

The first CAR-therapy

CAR-based therapy gained full attention when the common B-cell marker CD19 was targeted and made the basis for the CAR T cell therapy known as Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) from Novartis.

It quickly became known as the first gene therapy allowed in the US when it was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) just last year, in 2018, to treat certain children and young adults with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Shortly after, the European Commission also approved this CAR T cell therapy for young European patients. The Norwegian Medicines Agency soon followed and approved the treatment in Norway.

“CD19CAR was the first CAR construct ever developed, but nowadays more and more limitations to this treatment have emerged. The development of new CAR strategies targeting different antigens has become a growing need.” Dr. Pierre Dillard

 

Not effective for all

Although the CD19CAR T cell therapy has shown impressive clinical responses in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, not all patients respond to this CAR T treatment.

In fact, patients can become resistant to CD19CAR. Such relapse has been observed in roughly 30% of the studies of this treatment. Thus, alternative B-cell targets need to be discovered and evaluated. CD37 is one of them.

“You could target any antigen to get a new CAR, but it is always a matter of safety and specificity.” Hakan Köksal said.

Dr. Pierre Dillard and Hakan Köksal are part of the team behind the new study on CD37CAR T-cell therapy for treatment of B-cell lymphoma.

 

The Norwegian plan B

The novel Norwegian CAR T is the perfect option B to the CD19CAR.

 “The more ammunition we have against the tumours, the more likely we are to get better response rates in the patients.” Hakan Köksal

The CD37CAR T cells tested in mouse models in this Norwegian study, show great potential as treatment for patients that are not responding to the established CD19CAR-treatment.

“More and more labs are studying the possibility of using CAR therapy as combination, i.e. CAR treatments targeting different antigens. Such a strategy will significantly lower the probability of patients relapsing.” Dr. Pierre Dillard said.

The CD37CAR still needs to be tested clinically. The scientists at OUS underline the importance of keeping the developed CD37CAR in Norway and having it tested in a clinical trial.

It is a point to keep it here and potentially save patients here. We would like to see the first CD37CAR clinical study here in Norway.” Hakan Köksal

 

More from the Translational Research Lab of the Department of Cellular Therapy, OUH: 

 

Oslo, Norway, 26.04.2017. Photographs from Oslo Cancer Cluster (OCC), an oncology research and industry cluster dedicated to improving the lives of cancer patients by accelerating the development of new cancer diagnostics and medicines. Photographs by Christopher Olssøn

Natural killer cells dressed to kill cancer cells

New research: A new study may potentially enable scientists to provide cancer immunotherapy that is cheaper, faster and more manageable.

New work by researchers with laboratories at Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator may help to dramatically improve a T cell-based immunotherapy approach so that it can benefit many more patients.

 

T cell assassins

T cells are the professional killers of the immune system – they have a unique capability to specifically recognize ‘foreign’ material, such as infected cells or cancer cells. This highly specific recognition is achieved through receptors on the surface of T cells, named T cell receptors (TCRs). Once its receptor recognizes foreign material, a T cell becomes activated and triggers the killing of the infected or cancerous cell.

T cell receptors (TCRs): receptors on the surface of T cells, that recognize foreign material and activate the T cell. This triggers the killing of the infected or cancerous cell by the T cell.

 

Adoptive cell therapy 

Unfortunately, many cancers have adapted fiendish ways to avoid recognition and killing by T cells. To combat this issue, an immunotherapy approach known as adoptive cell therapy (ACT) has been developed in recent years. One such ACT approach is based on the injection of modified (or ‘re-directed’) T cells into patients. The approach is further explained in the illustration below.

 

Illustration from the research paper ‘NK cells specifically TCR-dressed to kill cancer cells’.

 

The left side of the illustration shows how redirected T-cell therapy involves:

1) Harvesting T cells from a cancer patient

2) Genetic manipulation of T cells to make them express an ideal receptor for recognizing the patient’s cancer cells

3) Growing T cells in culture to produce high cell numbers

4) Treating patients with large quantities of redirected T cells, which will now recognize and kill cancer cells more effectively

 

An alternative approach 

Adoptive T cell therapy has delivered very encouraging results for some cancer patients, but its application on a larger scale has been limited by the time consuming and costly nature of this approach. In addition, the quality of T cells isolated from patients who have already been through multiple rounds of therapy can sometimes be poor.

Researchers have long searched for a more automated form of adoptive cell therapy that would facilitate faster and more cost-effective T cell-based cancer immunotherapy.

One approach that has seen some success involves the use of different immune cells called Natural Killer cells – NK cells in brief.

Despite their great potential, NK cells have unfortunately not yet been proven to provide a successful alternative to standard T cell-based cancer immunotherapy. One major reason for this may be that, because NK cells do not possess T cell receptors, they are not very effective at specifically detecting and killing cancer cells.

NK cell lines: Natural Killer cells (NK cells) have the ability to recognise and kill infected or cancerous cells. Scientists have been able to manipulate human NK cells so that they grow without restriction in the lab. This is called a cell line. It enables a continuous and unlimited source of NK cells that could be used to treat cancer patients.

 

Cells dressed to kill

The group led by Dr. Sébastien Wälchli and Dr. Else Marit Inderberg at the Department of Cellular Therapy aimed to address this issue and improve NK cell-based therapies.

They reasoned that by editing NK cells to display anti-cancer TCRs on their cell surface they could combine the practical benefits of NK cells with the potent cancer killing capabilities of T cells. This is shown in the right hand side of the illustration above.

The researchers found that by simply switching on the production of a protein complex called CD3, which associates with the TCR and is required for T cell activation, they could indeed induce NK cells to display active TCRs. These ‘TCR-NK cells’ acted just like normal T cells, including their ability to form functional connections to cancer cells and subsequently mount an appropriate T cell-like response to kill cancer cells.

This was a surprising and important finding, as it was not previously known that NK cells could accommodate TCR signaling.

This video shows TCR-NK cell-mediated killing of cancer cells in culture. The tumour cells are marked in green. Tumour cells that start dying become blue. The overlapping colours show dead tumour cells.

 

The researchers went on to show that TCR-NK cells not only targeted isolated cancer cells, but also whole tumours.

The method was proven to be effective in preclinical studies of human colorectal cancer cells in the lab and in an animal model.  This demonstrates its potential as an effective new form of cancer immunotherapy.

 

Paving the way

Lead researcher Dr. Nadia Mensali said:

“These findings pave the way to the development of a less expensive, ready-to-use universal TCR-based cell therapy. By producing an expansive ‘biobank’ of TCR-NK cells that detect common mutations found in human cancers, doctors could select suitable TCR-NK cells for each patient and apply them rapidly to treatment regimens”.

Whilst further studies are needed to confirm the suitability of TCR-NK cells for widespread treatment of cancer patients, the researchers hope that these findings will be the first step on the road towards off-the-shelf immunotherapy drugs.

 

  • Read the whole research paper at Science Direct. The paper is called “NK cells specifically TCR-dressed to kill cancer cells”.
  • The researchers behind the publication consists of Nadia Mensali, Pierre Dillard, Michael Hebeisen, Susanne Lorenz, Theodossis Theodossiou, Marit Renée Myhre, Anne Fåne, Gustav Gaudernack, Gunnar Kvalheim, June Helen Myklebust, Else Marit Inderberg, Sébastien Wälchli.
  • Read more about research from this research group in this article from January.
  • Read more about Natural Killer cells in this Wikipedia article.

 

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One of the tenants in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

The Incubator Labs are expanding

The laboratories at Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator are expanding to meet increasing demand from members.

 

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator has recently converted three offices into new laboratories to accommodate the rising demand from their members.

From the opening in 2015, the laboratories in the Incubator have been a great success. Several of the start-ups have expanded their work force and require more offices and lab space.

The new laboratory is jointly occupied by Zelluna Immunotherapy and the Department of Cellular Therapy (Oslo University Hospital). The Institute for Energy Technology and Arctic Pharma have also expanded their laboratories with an extra room each.

The laboratories are now running at full capacity, but there is some space available in the shared labs. Some of the members of the Incubator offer their services to outside companies who are in need of getting lab work done.

“Our ambition is to grow the Incubator Labs further into the new Innovation Park next door.” Bjørn Klem, General Manager

 

Office plan of the OCC Incubator

The Incubator occupies over 550 square meters. Offices have been converted into labs to meet the growing interest from the members.

 

A unique model

The Incubator Labs follow a unique model, which offers both private laboratories and fully equipped shared laboratories. The private laboratories are leased with furniture, water supply, electricity and ventilation. The companies bring their own equipment depending on their needs.

Shared laboratories, including a bacteria lab, a cell lab and wet lab, are leased including basic equipment with the opportunity for companies to bring their own if shared by all tenants. All laboratories share the common support facilities including a cold room for storage, a laundry room, and storage room including cell tanks and nitrogen gas.

“This model of a shared laboratory is very unusual,” said Janne Nestvold, Laboratory Manager at the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

The advantage of working in a shared lab is that companies can avoid the costs and limitations associated with setting up and managing a laboratory. A broad range of general equipment, including more advanced, analytical instruments, are provided by the Incubator.

”It would be too expensive for a small company to buy all this equipment themselves.” Janne Nestvold, Laboratory Manager

 

The Department of Cellular Therapy (Oslo University Hospital) are one of the members using the shared lab. Photograph by Christopher Olssøn

 

 

Open atmosphere

The laboratories have an open and light atmosphere. Large windows provide ample lighting and all spaces are kept clean and tidy. The halls are neatly lined with closets and plastic containers for extra storage.

The general mood is calm and friendly. Nestvold communicates daily with the users about changes, updates and improvements, which sets an informal tone. Thanks to monthly lab meetings, the users are also involved in the decision-making process. The companies often work side-by-side or in teams, fostering collaboration rather than competition. There is therefore a strong workplace culture based upon flexibility and mutual respect.

The companies often work side-by-side or in teams, fostering collaboration rather than competition.

Nestvold also ensures that the high demands on the infrastructure of the laboratory are met. She has put agreements in place to facilitate the members’ needs, such as the washing of lab coats, pipette service and shipping packages on dry ice. With all these services included, the Incubator Labs are attractive for researchers and companies to carry out their cancer research.

 

Over the years, Nordic Nanovector, OncoInvent, Targovax, Intersint, OncoImmunity have conducted research in the laboratories. Now, Arctic Pharma, the Department of Cellular Therapy (Oslo University Hospital), GE Healthcare, the Institute for Energy Technology, Lytix BioPharma, NorGenotech, Ultimovacs and Zelluna Immunotherapy are using the Incubator Labs to develop their cancer treatments.

 

  • For more information about the Incubator Lab, get in touch with Janne Nestvold.

 

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Participants discussing at NOME mentor network.

Why a Nordic mentor network is a good idea 

The Nordic Mentor Network of Entrepreneurship (NOME) is the first pan-Nordic mentor network for lifescience start-ups. Why is it a good idea for start-ups working in cancer?

 

Bjørn Klem has an answer. He is the General Manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator and point of contact for start-ups within the cancer field in Norway.

“Start-ups working in cancer need to access commercialisation expertise and investor networks. When looking for this, it is an advantage to seek in other Nordic countries where investors are experienced with cancer and biotech in general. Participating in NOME will also take you into their global network.” Bjørn Klem

 

Connecting with a mentor team

NOME is based on the mentoring principals of MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service. The fundamental principle is to connect first time entrepreneurs with a team of three to four experienced and skilled mentors to help them reach their goals and technology milestones. 

From Boston to the Nordics, this is the first mentor network within life sciences that spans across all the Nordic countries. 

In Norway, Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator og the health incubator Aleap are coordinating start-ups with suitable mentors.

“Team mentorship, where mentees have a group of mentors, rather than single one-on-one mentorship, encourages more diverse thinking, cross-disciplinary approaches to ideas and problem solving, and it allows the access to professionals from different fields.”  NOME Magazine Issue 1 2018

 

Norwegian mentors and start-ups

One of the Norwegian NOME mentors is Kari Grønås. She has extensive experience in drug development and commercialisation within the pharmaceutical industry.

You can listen to her (in Norwegian) in this video that was made by Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator as the programme was just starting in Norway in 2017.

One of the Oslo Cancer Cluster members that have taken advantage of the NOME opportunity and mentors, is Nacamed.

Nacamed is a Norwegian spin-off company of Dynatec AS. The Nacamed technology is based on 10 years of research on silicon done by Dynatec engineering. According to the company webpage, this enables a production that can tailor particles with the desired physical attributes. With this, Nacamed aims to create a new generation of treatment methods.

 

Best in class-network

This video, made by Accelerate, explains the concept of NOME and the value it adds to the Nordic startup ecosystem.

The mentors are volunteering to share their knowledge and experience with new entrepreneurs within fields such as digital health, immuno-oncology and AI in healthcare. NOME mentors can give unbiased advice, provide strategic guidance, open their network and possible collaboration partners, as well as assisting in reaching key milestones.

The start-ups have to be best in class too. The local NOME partners evaluate the companies on the novelty of the science or technology, their high commercial potential as well as the strength and commitment of the founding team. Furthermore, strong IP or alternative protection strategies, market differentiation, and the impact NOME potentially can have on the company’s development are also taken into consideration.

Participation is free of charge and funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.

Infographic from NOME magazine.

Source: The NOME Magazine, Issue 01, 2018

 

20 start-ups since 2016

Since 2016, 20 start-ups have joined NOME and of these two have graduated from the program. Graduation usually means the start-up has successfully raised funds for the coming few years and has engaged a formal board and therefore has less need for the NOME mentors.

The mentors either move on to work with other emerging companies or have been so excited about the potential of the company they have been working with that they have taken a seat on the board.

By the end of 2018, NOME had 50 mentors and 18 enrolled start-ups.

 

Mentors in immuno-oncology

In the NOME Magazine first edition, released in October, Carl Borrebaeck, professor at Department of Immuno-technology at Lund University in Sweden, is interviewed about his field of expertise, immuno-oncology and creating companies from his research. Borrebaeck is a founding mentor in NOME and has been part of the network for the past two years. 

“People tend to think, that innovation just happens and that it will reach patients without any commercial drive. That is simply untrue.” Prof. Carl Borrebaeck 

He continues to explain what is really needed to make health innovations happen:

“A combination of companies and academia is needed. Big pharma is always looking for the newest discoveries and ways they can collaborate in order to stay at the forefront of innovative research. The Nordics are highly innovative and they have a strong reputation globally. However, there are too few big pharma companies commercializing the science at the very early stages. This is often a major challenge for emerging companies who then have to seek funding not only in the Nordics but across Europe and the US to cover this funding gap.”

 

Mentors in artificial intelligence

NOME has mentors in several interesting life science fields. Lars Staal Wegner, the CEO of Evaxion Biotech, is another mentor. He started a company dedicated to using artificial intelligence, supercomputers, and big data to fight cancer and infectious diseases. In the NOME Magazine Wegner says: 

“It is no longer the pharma industry or the companies producing the off-the-shelf drugs. It is the ones who own the data and know how to convert it to effect, the cloud-based giants that are half life science half tech. This is maybe 30-40 years into the future, but it is important already now to know that the tech evolution is not linear. It is exponential. We have reached an inflection point in tech. The industry doesn’t have five or ten years to toe the line. It is exploding.” 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are expected to have an unprecedented impact on how drugs are developed, their cost, and time to market, according to Wegner. 

 

Nordic partnership

NOME is operated by Accelerace and funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. The initiative is represented in the Nordic region through partnerships in Sweden, Norway and Finland. In Norway, Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator og the health incubator Aleap are coordinating start-ups with suitable mentors.

In the US, the California Life Sciences Institute (CLSI) is a new partner for NOME. In fact it is too new to have entered the overview below. CLSI is a non-profit organization which supports entrepreneurship, STEM education and workforce development for the life science industry in California. It is located in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Infographic from NOME magazine.

Source: The NOME Magazine, Issue 01, 2018

The start-up company Kongsberg Beam Technology wants to direct the precision technology from smart missiles to hit tumours in the human body. — We want to use Norwegian spearhead technology to combat cancer, Per Håvard Kleven said during his pitch at the DNB Nordic Healthcare Conference 11 December 2018. 

Industrial precision against cancer 

Kongsberg Beam Technology wants to direct the precision technology from advanced industrial control systems to hit tumors in the human body.

— We want to use Norwegian spearhead technology to combat cancer, Per Håvard Kleven said from the stage as he pitched the idea of his start-up at the DNB Nordic Healthcare Conference 2018.

He is the founder of the start-up company Kongsberg Beam Technology AS. As he wrote the patent application for the technology behind this start-up, he was far from the only one to explore this field. Nevertheless, the patent was granted earlier this year (2018). He was ahead of companies like Siemens and other giants.

— There is a lot of research going into radiation and all of it is focusing on increased precision, but no one is attacking the problem as fundamentally as we are.

 

Precision proton radiation

The method in question is proton radiation. This kind of radiation is directed towards a tumour and radiates far more precisely than x-ray radiation, the standard radiotherapy that hospitals currently use to treat cancer.

Proton radiation requires special machines. There are currently only 85 of these machines, known as proton  therapy synchrocyclotrones, in the world. Norway awaits its first proton synchrocyclotron in a couple of years. The existence of such a machine in Norway is a precondition for the business plan of Kongsberg Beam Technology.

This is one of the few proton therapy machines in use in the world today. It is the proton therapy synchrocyclotron in the Jacobson Building at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, USA. Photo: Jonathunder/ Wikimedia Commons

The ambition of Kleven and his new board of directors is to let proton radiation follow the movements of the tumour, meaning the smallest movements of the patient as she breathes. This does not seem like much, but there is actually a lot of movement in for instance the lungs. And with vital organs closely linked to the lungs, such as the heart and the spine, it is extremely important to have a precise beam.

There is in deed a need for more precision in radiation therapy.

— The radiation that the hospitals use to treat cancer today is not precise. Healthy tissue is always damaged with radiation and this is a problem which we are attacking.

 

Norwegian spearhead technology

The system in question is to figure out exactly where the tumour is situated in the body, how it moves and how much radioactive energy it takes to radiate it properly.

He wants to take the principals and methods currently used in precision industries such as defence, space and oil- and gas, and apply these to radiation in cancer treatments. The aim is to obtain industrial precision to avoid damaging any healthy tissue.

 

Aims to develop a solution

The mechanical part of the system makes it possible to do online tracking of the cancer and synchronise the beam so that it always hits exactly on the cancer. This might not sound like it should be too difficult, but indeed it is.

— We cannot control a beam of particles with the agility and precision that is required today, but these functions will develop. We aim to develop them!

– In five years, when our project makes proton radiation reach its potential for industrial precision, my assumption is that proton radiation will take a much higher share of radio therapy in cancer treatment and that the number of proton centres will increase steeply.

According to Kleven, the testing will start soon, followed by prototyping and further testing and qualification. The goal is to have a working system by mid 2024. Kleven assumes that the future product can be installed as an add-on to exciting proton therapy synchrocyclotrones.

— Testing and remaining R&D will start as soon as the needed capital is in place, he said.

 

Needs more funding

The financing for the start-up so far is covered by Buskerud county, Innovation Norway, Oslofjordfondet and the Research Council of Norway. Kongsberg Beam Technology needs 93 million NOK initially, to test, develop and qualify the technology. 60 million of this sum should come from investors.

Kleven shows an estimate of a one billion NOK turn-over after a few years, in a profitable company with growth possibilities.

The new business is going to be established in Kongsberg in Norway, a town that is already well established as a hub for spin offs of the Norwegian defence industry. Kleven himself has a lifetime of experience from this sector, since he started to work in Kongsberg Weapons Factory (Kongsberg Våpenfabrikk) in 1975.

– An idea needs to attract investors

Meet Thomas Andersson, our new Senior Advisor Business Development. How could he be of help to your startup company? 

— The most important thing I do is to get the startup companies rolling.

Thomas Andersson, the new Senior Advisor for Business Development at Oslo Cancer Cluster and Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, looks dead serious as he makes this statement, but immediately after he lets out a smile and elaborates:

— A company needs to be investible. An idea needs to attract investors.

A lifetime of experience
Thomas holds a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Lund University in Sweden and has more than 30 years of experience from establishing, operating and funding start-ups in the life science field. He has a long background in business development in health tech startups, all the way back to the early 1980s.

— I’m that old! I went straight from my Ph.D. in biophysics into the problem-solving of business development.

In his career he has also taken on issues with patents and sales and he even bought a company that produced monoclonal antibodies with some friends and remodelled and sold it. 

— What did you learn from this journey? 

— I learned quite a lot, including the production business and the cell cultivation biotech business from the floor. I also learned how to lay out the production manufacturing facility.

See it like an investor
Thomas Andersson knows the biotech startup-scene from the investors’ point of view. He started to work at the tech transfer office of Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. It was called Karolinska Innovations back then, now it is known as KI Innovations.

— We raised a lot of money there, formed 45 companies as a group and we had a fantastic time! 

After 8 years he was recruited to Lund and worked in Lund University Bio Science and tried to vacuum clean the whole university for life science innovation.

— And we did find a lot! In the end there were about 20 investment proposals and those ended up in 9 investments, of which we turned down 5 or 6. Two of them are now at the stock market. 

In total, Thomas Andersson has been involved in starting about 20 companies, of which 5 survived and are now on the stock market.

Normally, it is said that only 1 in 30 biotech startups make it. 

 

Thomas Andersson, Senior Advisor Business Development. Photo: Oslo Cancer Cluster

Here for you
— How did you end up here at Oslo Cancer Cluster?  

— I have had my eyes on Oslo Cancer Cluster for a while. I have liked the ideas that the cluster stands for. And I wanted to do something new in the end of my career. That is why I am here as a senior advisor now. I like it here! I am working on very interesting projects and ideas.

Our new Senior Advisor Business Development is present in Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator nearly every week although he still lives in Lund, Sweden, on a farm in the woods where he can be practical and hands-on with hardwood and fly fishing.

— My door is open to people in the cluster and incubator with projects and ideas. I have a network that can help them and I have the experience of how investors, scientists and other actors can value a company. And being a Swede in the Norwegian system; I am basically here also to encourage you to think differently.

 

Interested in more funding opportunities for your company?

Check out our Access to Capital-page. 

 

T-cells and the Nobel Price

What does the Nobel Prize have to do with cancer research in Oslo Cancer Cluster?

This year the Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine was awarded to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo for their work on unleashing the body’s immune system to attack cancer. This was a breakthrough that has led to an entirely new class of drugs and brought lasting remissions to many patients who had run out of options.

A statement from the Nobel committee hailed the accomplishments of Allison and Honjo as establishing “an entirely new principle for cancer therapy.”

This principle, the idea behind much of the immunotherapy we see developing today, is shared by several of our Oslo Cancer Cluster members, including Oslo University Hospital and the biotech start-up Zelluna.

– This year’s Nobel Price winners have contributed to giving new forms of immunotherapy treatments to patients, resulting in improved treatments to cancer types that previously had poor treatment alternatives, especially in combination with other cancer therapies, said doctor Else Marit Inderberg as a comment to the price.

She leads the immunomonitoring unit of the Department of Cellular Therapy at Oslo University Hospital. The unit is present in Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator with a translational research lab.

Inderberg has been studying and working with T-cells since 1999, first within allergies and astma, before she was drawn to cancer research and new cancer therapies in 2001.

So, what is a T-cell?
T-cells have the capacity to kill cancer cells. These T-cells are a subtype of white blood cells and play a central role in cell-mediated immunity. They are deployed to fight infections and cancer, but malignant cells can elude them by taking advantage of a switch – a molecule – on the T-cell called an immune checkpoint. Cancer cells can lock onto those checkpoints, crippling the T-cells and preventing them from fighting the disease.

The drugs based on the work of Nobel Prize winners Allison and Honjo belong to a class called checkpoint inhibitors – the same immune checkpoint that we find on T-cells. Drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors can physically block the checkpoint, which frees the immune system to attack the cancer.

Group leaders Else Marit Inderberg and Sébastien Wälchli often work in one of the cell labs in Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator. Photo: Christopher Olssøn

 

– We work on other ways of activating the immune system, but in several clinical trials we combine cancer vaccines or other therapies with the immune-modulating antibody, the checkpoint inhibitors, which the Nobel Price winners developed, Inderberg explained.

Inderberg and her team of researchers in the translational research lab in Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator use the results from the Nobel Price winners’ research in their own research in order to develop their own therapy and learn more about the mechanisms behind the immune cells’ attack on the cancer cells and the cancer cells’ defence against the immune system.

– This Nobel Prize is very inspiring for the entire field and it contributes to making this kind of research more visible, Else Marit Inderberg added.

– Our challenge now is to make new forms of cancer therapies available for a large number of patients and find ways to identify patient groups who can truly benefit from new therapies – and not patients who will not benefit. Immunotherapy also has some side effects, and it is important that we keep working on these aspects of the therapy as well.

From research to company
Most of the activity of the translational research lab in Oslo relies on the use of a database of patient samples called the biobank. This specific biobank represents an inestimable source of information about the patients’ response to immunological treatments over the years. Furthermore, the patient material can be reanalysed and therapeutic molecules isolated. This is the basis of the Oslo Cancer Cluster member start-up company Zelluna.

 

Want to know more about Zelluna and the research they are spun out of?

This is a story about their beginning.

Curious about new research from the Department of Cellular Therapy in Oslo?

More on their webpage.

 

Cancer Innovation Pitched to Investors

A full house presented itself when Inven2 pitched 8 of their most promising cancer research projects at Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator June 12th.

In total approximately 60 people gathered inside Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park, and among the participants several experienced investors from other cancer projects.

— I’m positively surprised that so many potential and experienced investors found their way here today, commented Ole Kristian Hjelstuen, CEO at Inven2.

The event was the second in line of Inven2’s new pitching strategy, were they open up their projects at an early stage for potential investors and entrepreneurs with the will to transform the research into working companies.

— This shows that pitching is a good way to spread the word on the potential of our portfolio. The event today strengthens my belief that financing for our projects will be easier in the future, said Hjelstuen.

Eight Potential Treatments and Companies
Norway is among the very best when it comes to cancer research. Norwegian research has created top notch companies like Algeta, Nordic Nanovector, Ultimovacs and Zelluna Immunotherapy. Tuesdays  pitch proves that many more are on the horizon.

The eight-project presented at OCC Incubator are all exciting innovations that need financial backing and entrepreneurship to commercialize. The common denominator is a focus on modern treatments like immunology or precision medicine that are emerging as a result of what has been labelled “a breakthrough in cancer treatment” in later years.

Presentations of all eight projects available here.

The projects presented:

  • Tankyrase inhibition in cancer therapy
  • A new drug against Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)
  • Autologous anti-CD20 TCR-engineered T-cell therapy for recurrent Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Lymphocyte Booster – Lymphocyte boosting growth medium for Adoptive Cell Therapy
  • CD37 CAR for cancer immunotherapy
  • IL-15 Immunotherapy – Fusion protein for immunotherapy of solid tumors
  • Backscatter: A communication technology enabling colon-cancer screening
Event invitation for INVEN2Pitch

Inven2-Pitch: Morgendagens kreftselskaper

Er du investor eller gründerspire? Vi trenger deg!

Norge har en sterk tradisjon innen kreftforskning i verdensklasse. Basert på denne fremragende forskningen har selskaper som Algeta, Nordic Nanovector, Ultimovacs og Zelluna Immunotherapy blitt spunnet ut. Og det kommer mer.

Inven2 inviterer investorer, gründerspirer og andre interesserte til en presentasjon av de mest lovende nye prosjektene innen kreft i Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovasjonspark den 12. juni kl. 14.

Dette er alle spennende innovasjonsprosjekter som når de går over i kommersiell fase om kort tid vil trenge finansiering og gründere. Er du gründer, investor eller helseinteressert, er dette en unik sjanse.

Bli med å skape morgendagens helsenæring!

12. juni kl. 14-16 | Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator (OCCI)

Meld deg på her!

Prosjektene som skal pitches:
  1. Tankyrase inhibition in cancer therapy
  2. A new drug against Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)
  3. Autologous anti-CD20 TCR-engineered T-cell therapy for recurrent Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  4. Lymphocyte Booster – Lymphocyte boosting growth medium for Adoptive Cell Therapy
  5. CD37 CAR for cancer immunotherapy
  6. IL-15 Immunotherapy – Fusion protein for immunotherapy of solid tumors
  7. Backscatter: A communication technology enabling colon-cancer screening.

Need Money For Your Life Science Start-up?

Inven2 are distributing start-up funds in Life Science! Very good news for Biotechs and cancer research companies in their early stages of development.

 

Attention all Oslo Cancer Cluster and Incubator members.  Inven2 received in late December 5 million NOK from Innovation Norway. They are now, subsequently, handing them out to Life science start-ups. Inven2 call them “presåkornkapital” meaning that the money is to serve as capital that stimulates the first stage of establishing a life science company. However, some criteria’s must be met to be eligible to apply. The application deadline is the 20th of February 2018.

Follow these criteria:

  • Investment can constitute 3 million NOK per company
  • Private investors must contribute with capital that at a minimum is equivalent with the Inven2-money “pre-såkornmidlene”.
  • At least 50 percent of private capital must be from independent investors, investors that are not a founder or an employee of the company.
  • The investment with “pre-såkorn” capital must be on equal terms with the private investments.
  • Companies receiving the investment must at the time of investment be Norwegian and younger than five years counted from the registry date at The Brønnøysund Register Center
  • Companies invested in must not be stock marked listed or large companies as defined in the EØS agreement state subsidy rules.
  • Companies invested in must be innovative as defined by the EØS Agreement state subsidy rules.
  • Investments can amount to 3 million NOK.

Be sure that your application contains the following:

  • A short introduction of your company
  • Business plan
  • How the money will be used
  • Explain how the matching money will be gathered
  • A plan for the execution of the new equity

Application deadline: 20th of February.

Send the application to: olav.steinnes@inven2.com

Giving Tuesday Crowdfunds for Cancer

You have probably heard of Black Friday. Now introducing Giving Tuesday: A day all about giving rather than buying. Eight Norwegian YouTubers have chosen to crowdfund on behalf of The Norwegian Cancer Society as part of Giving Tuesday. Raising money for cancer research and cancer patient care. A week before the big day five of them visited Oslo Cancer Cluster.

 

Tuesday the 28th of November, conveniently a couple of days after the shopping bonanza of Black Friday, is Giving Tuesday. It’s an international event. Started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to Black Friday and commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season.

Live Social Media Broadcast
On the day the Norwegian youTubers are staging a broadcast marathon on social media. At DnB Headquarters (Bjørvika) they all come together for a live broadcast so everybody can follow the crowdfunding and view their videos during Giving Tuesday.  And there are a lot of them. 10 other charities are being crowdfunded on the day with youTubers raising money on their behalf.

Learn more about what’s happening here.

Youtubers crowdfunding for cancer

Learning About Cancer Research
The last couple of weeks the youtubers funding for The Norwegian Cancer Society have learned about cancer research and the fight against cancer. They have visited the Society’s new Science Center learning about the history of the disease and afterwards they spent a day getting updated on current cancer research at Oslo Cancer Cluster.

At Ullern Innovation Park, the home of Oslo Cancer Cluster, they got to see researchers in action and learned about the recent advances in cancer research. How researchers now are trying to trigger the immune system in the fight against cancer and how we are getting better at producing medicines that target cancer tumors directly. They also got see how research and innovation merges together with education at the Innovation Park. Here researchers, Bio Businesses and Ullern Upper Secondary School share the same building and cooperate.  Learn more about this unique cooperation.

With this new knowledge on cancer they are well prepared to crowdfund a lot of money for The Norwegian Cancer Society and cancer research!

About the YouTubers
Christoffer Ødegård (17) Specializes in FIFA. Playing live games on youTube.

Emil Saglien (15) Also into football. Actually, about his life, but his life seems to be football.

Sara Høydahl (19) Vlogs about many things, but has had special success with a Friday special on murder mysteries!

Truls Valsgård (23), Truls is a full time youtuber. Produces videos daily about his own life.

Tuva Robsrud (16) From Bærum and vlogs about fashion and make up.

 

NOME Important to BioIndustry Growth

Nordic Mentor Network for Entrepreneurship (NOME) will be an important piece of the puzzle if Norway is going to fulfill their ambitions set by the coming White Paper on the Healthcare Industry.

If we are to make our bioindustry more competitive and take a leading European role within eHealth, we need to learn from the best in the business. NOME is a program that aims to lift Nordic life sciences to the very top by using mentors.

The Norwegian Parliament’s Health Committee has asked for a report on the Healthcare industry in Norway, a so called White Paper. The objective is to examine the challenges we face because of climate change, new technology, robotics and digitalization.

Innovation needs to meet industrial targets
Additionally, the committee has stressed the importance of a purposeful dedication to health innovation. There should be a focused investment In fields where we have special preconditions to succeed. A better facilitation of clinical studies and use of health data is especially emphasized. Nordic countries are in a unique position with vast registries of well documented health data, a good example being the Cancer Registry of Norway. With better implementing of new technology this type of health data will be increasingly important.

The committee also emphasized the need to shorten the distance between research and patient treatment through effective commercialization. And, in continuation, easier access to risk investment capital to help the industry grow.

–The path from research to actual treatments and medication is long and hard, and rightfully so – everything must be thoroughly tested. But you can imagine! Every second we can peel off the time it takes for new research to reach patients is extremely valuable and saves lives, explains Bjørn Klem, Managing Director, Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

NOME a piece of the puzzle
However, how do we fulfill these ambitions? Klem believes the answer is combining forces within the other Nordic countries.

– We have different strengths. Think about how big Bioindustry and business is in Denmark. There is so much to learn form that!

NOME is a concrete way of collaborating. It is easy to say: “we are going to learn from each other”, but how do we in a concrete fashion set about doing this. NOME is a mentoring program that sets collaboration in motion.

— To put it plainly, NOME is a program for all Nordic Bio start-ups. They can apply and if their application is successful we send experts catered to help with the company’s very specific needs, explains Klem.

NOME is a meeting place between the start-up freshman and the experts that have thread this path before. They match Nordic entrepreneurs with handpicked international professionals to help each start-up with their specific needs.

— Think about it! There is so much a new start-up don’t know, lacking network and experience. How do you make it as a commercialized company in the health industry? NOME can provide both business and research mentoring transferring knowledge from past successes to new ones, says Klem.

A Twofold Benefit to Society
The desire is to propel the Nordic countries into one of the leading life science regions to commercialize high growth life science start-ups.

— With NOME society’s return is twofold. Firstly, we give patients access to new treatment faster by giving start-ups the necessary guidance and know-how. Secondly, we give our Bio Business a chance to grow with all the positives that has to economy and employment, Klem believes.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator coordinates the NOME-program in Norway and collaborates with the incubator Aleap to find the best match of mentors and entrepreneurs. To take part in the program you can click here for more information.

Vi vant Siva-prisen 2017!

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator stakk av med Siva-prisen for 2017 på årets Siva-konferanse i Trondheim.

Slik beskriver Siva vinneren:

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator er en pådriver til utvikling av diagnostikk og behandling av kreftpasienter ved hjelp av ny revolusjonerende teknologi. De jobber med å omsette kreftforskning til nye medisiner og behandlingsformer. Dette gir nytt håp for kreftpasienter og bidrar til en ny helsenæring i Norge. Inkubatoren får daglig besøk av bedrifter, politikere, forskere, elever, gründere og andre som ønsker å lære eller bidra til helseinnovasjon.


Helseinnovasjon
– Alle snakker nå om at helseinnovasjon er viktig. Vi i Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator er en viktig aktør i innen helseinnovasjon. Vi ønsker å bidra nasjonalt i dette, med en klar tynge på kreft, sier Bjørn Klem, leder for Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

Han er fra seg av glede over at inkubatoren dro i land seieren på årets store Siva-happening, konferansen om den grenseløse industrien, som fant sted i Trondheim tirsdag 9. mai.


Penger til bedre nettverk
Verdiskapning og samarbeid jobber Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator mye med, og her vil de også bruke gevinsten, som er på 300 000 kroner.

– Vi omstiller norsk næringsliv og vil fortsette med det innenfor helsenæringen. Vi vil bruke gevinsten på å fortsette med det, og på å bedre nettverket mellom klyngene i Norge og Norden, sier Klem.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator kom til finalen sammen med MacGregor Norway og Protomore Kunnskapspark.

– De tre finalistene er formidable nyskapingsmiljøer som i vår bok alle er vinnere. De har på hver sin måte vært pådrivere for nyskaping og bidratt til den omstillingen og utviklingen som næringslivet i Norge er så avhengig av. Når det er sagt vil jeg på vegne av Siva gratulere Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator med en velfortjent seier. Vi håper de fortsetter det gode og viktige arbeidet med å utvikle medisiner og bedre behandling for kreftpasienter, sier Ulf Hustad, som er prosjektleder for prisen, til Sivas nettside.


En viktig konferanse for inkubatorene

I år kom rekordmange deltakere på Siva-konferansen. De kom fra ulike inkubatorer og næringsklynger, og talte omkring 300 stykker. På konferansen fikk de presentert et nytt initiativ kalt Norsk katapult. Her skal 50 millioner kroner brukes på å etablere såkalte katapult-fasiliteter, testfasiliteter i overgangen mellom forskning og etablert industri.


Om Siva

Siva står for Selskapet for industrivekst SF. Det ble etablert i 1968 og er en del av det næringsrettede virkemiddelapparatet. Siva er statens virkemiddel for tilretteleggende eierskap og utvikling av bedrifter og nærings- og kunnskapsmiljø i hele landet, med et særlig ansvar for å fremme vekstkraften i distriktene. Hovedmålet er å utløse lønnsom næringsutvikling i bedrifter og regionale nærings- og kunnskapsmiljø.

Nominated as “Norway’s smartest industrial company”

Thermo Fisher Scientific is one of three finalists to win the award and title in Oslo this Tuesday.

The technology which the biotech company is nominated for, is development of faster and cheaper DNA-sequencing. More than 70 companies were candidates for this year’s price, according to the Norwegian online tech magazine Teknisk Ukeblad.

Thermo Fisher Scientific is one of Norway´s leading biotechs and among the most profitable. The company has played a vital role in Norwegian biotech with the development of «Dynabeads», used all over the world to separate, isolate and manipulate biological materials.

The smart element
On the question “why are you in the finals”, Ole Dahlberg, CEO at Thermo Fisher Scientific in Norway, is quick to answer.

“We have been capable of combining an established, older technology with another technology, creating maybe the most powerful tool for gene sequencing that we have in the world today”, says Dahlberg.

The smart element was using the beads in a completely new way on a microchip in combination with semiconductor technology. This link between biotech and electronics has created the instruments from Thermo Fisher which we now see in research institutes and diagnostic labs all over the world.

Ole Dahlberg, CEO at Thermo Fischer Scientific Norway, believes in their smart element.

Industrialising technology
What Thermo Fisher did, was to reduce the size of traditional magnetic beads to nano size. This resulted in much more efficient production methods. The number of people involved in the production of the beads, as well as the production time, could thereby be reduced.

Today, one person can produce ten times more beads in a day than 10-15 people could before, due to the new production technology, developed in-house.

Thermo Fisher’s Dynabeads are used in basic research, in billions of diagnostic tests, as well as in immunotherapy, all over the world. Innovation and further applications are being developed in close collaboration with research environments, clinics and industrial partners.

The importance of collaboration
“All the products we have developed, and those are quite a few, are developed in collaboration with academia and the clinical part of hospitals and other companies”, says Dahlberg.

His company has had a close collaboration with OUS Radiumhospitalet and SINTEF, and today it is part of Oslo Cancer Cluster and has offices in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

“We greatly believe in this kind of collaboration. It creates trust. One of the interesting things with the cluster is that it leans over in education. We need a broader interest for biotechnology and life science among the young, and we also recruit a lot of young people”, says Dahlberg.

A smart approach
Thermo Fischer Scientific gets their smart young coworkers directly from Norwegian universities like NTNU and UiO, as well as from abroad.

“We use a smart approach. It is all about putting the team first and making sure that the people who work here are dedicated and proud of our products”, says Dahlberg.

9 May is the day the winner will be announced at the Norwegian conference Industrikonferansen in Oslo, held by the union Norsk Industri, part of NHO.

 

About Thermo Fisher Scientific
Thermo Fisher Scientific in Norway was established in 1986. The company focuses on the diagnostics market as well as the development of innovative immunotherapeutics, especially within oncology. The client portfolio features many of the world’s largest pharma and diagnostics companies. In 2014 the company had 180 employees and a turn-over of 760 MNOK. The company has production units both in Oslo and Lillestrøm. The Norwegian company is a subsidiary to Thermo Fisher Scientific.

 

 

 

Photo of Oncolmmunity's offices.

OncoImmunity AS wins the EU SME Instrument grant

The bioinformatics company OncoImmunity AS was ranked fourth out of 250 applicants for this prestigious grant.

250 companies submitted proposals to the same topic call as OncoImmunity AS. Only six projects were funded.

We applied for the SME instrument grant as it represents an ideal vehicle for funding groundbreaking and innovative projects with a strong commercial focus. The call matched our ambition to position OncoImmunity as the leading supplier of neoantigen identification software in the personalised cancer vaccine market”, says Dr. Richard Stratford, Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of OncoImmunity.


Personalised cancer vaccines
Neoantigen identification software facilitates effective patient selection for cancer immunotherapy, by identifying optimal immunogenic mutations (known as neoantigens). OncoImmunity develops proprietary machine-learning software for personalised cancer immunotherapy.

This solution also guides the design of neoantigen-based personalised cancer vaccines and cell therapies, and enables bespoke products to be developed faster.

The SME Instrument gives us the opportunity to further refine and optimise our machine-learning framework to facilitate personalised cancer vaccine design. This opportunity will help us establish the requisite quality assurance systems, certifications, and clinical validation with our partners, to get our software accredited as an in vitro diagnostic device”, says Dr. Richard Stratford.

In vitro diagnostics are tests that can detect diseases, conditions, or infections.

Dr. Richard Stratford is Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder of OncoImmunity, member of Oslo Cancer Cluster and part of the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.


Hard to get
Horizon 2020’s SME Instrument is tailored for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). It targets innovative businesses with international ambitions — such as OncoImmunity.

“The SME instrument is an acid test; companies that pass the test are well suited to make their business global. It also represents a vital step on the way to building a world-class health industry in Norway”, says Mona Skaret, Head of Growth Companies and Clusters in Innovation Norway.

The SME Instrument has two application phases. Phase one awards the winning company 50 000 Euros based on an innovative project idea. Phase two is the actual implementation of the main project. In this phase, the applicant may receive between 1 and 2,5 million Euros.

The support from the SME instrument is proof that small, innovative Norwegian companies are able to succeed in the EU”, says Mona Skaret.

You can read more about the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument in Norwegian at the Enterprise Europe Network in Norway.

 

Thinking of applying?
Oslo Cancer Cluster helps its member companies with this kind of applications through the EU Advisor Program and close collaboration with Innovayt and Innovation Norway.

The SME Instrument is looking for high growth and highly innovative SMEs with global ambitions. They are developing innovative technologies that have the potential to disrupt the established value networks and existing markets.

Companies applying for the SME Instrument must meet the requirements set by the programme. Please see the SME Instrument website for more information.

Join NOME – Nordic mentoring programme for life sciences companies

NOME is the first Nordic mentor network connecting prospective life science entrepreneurs with handpicked international mentors.

The goal is simple: to help the very best biotech and medtech startups in the Nordics to become the next growth successes. Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator coordinates the NOME-programme in Norway and collaborates with Oslo Medtech and the incubator Aleap to find the best match of mentors and entrepreneurs.

 

Watch the NOME information video here

Contact Bjørn Klem, General Manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, if you would like to join NOME or if you want more information about the programme in Norway.

Take a look at the NOME website and the information flyer for more information about the programme. 

 

The PCI Biotech and Ultimovacs collaboration awarded NOK 500,000 from Innovation Norway

The PCI Biotech and Ultimovacs collaboration awarded NOK 500,000 from Innovation Norway

Oslo (Norway), 6 January 2017 – PCI Biotech (OSE: PCIB), a cancer focused biopharmaceutical company, and Ultimovacs, a pharmaceutical company developing novel immunotherapy against cancer, today announced that they are awarded NOK 500,000 for further development of the existing preclinical research collaboration. The purpose of the collaboration is to utilise the companies’ complementary scientific platforms to explore potential synergies and the grant will support these activities. The Innovation Norway grant of NOK 500,000 is awarded for 2017 and the grant is made available through Oslo Cancer Cluster a Norwegian Centre of Expertise.

Please see attached press release for further details.

Contact information:
PCI Biotech Holding ASA, Ullernchausséen 64, N-0379 Oslo, Norway. www.pcibiotech.com
Per Walday, CEO, pw@pcibiotech.no, Mobile: +47 917 93 429.

This information is subject to the disclosure requirements pursuant to section 5-12 of the Norwegian Securities Trading Act.

 

Innovasjonsrammen 2016

Det overordnede målet med Innovasjonsrammen 2016 er å stimulere til økt innovasjon gjennom flere felles innovasjons- og forskningsprosjekter mellom bedrifter.

Midlene skal brukes til mobilisering av utviklingsprosjekter og til idé- og prosjektutvikling (konseptualisering). Innovasjonsrammen 2016 skal bidra til at samarbeidsprosjektene kommer i posisjon til å få finansiering gjennom Forskningsrådets og Innovasjon Norges ordinære ordninger eller fra private investorer.

Oslo Cancer Cluster har fått tildelt en rammebevilgning på en million kroner, som kan trekkes på etter saksbehandling og innvilgning fra Innovasjon Norge. Klyngen forestår selv prioriteringer av egne prosjekter innenfor rammen ved at daglig leder eller en med mandat fra daglig leder anbefaler søknaden på vegne av klyngen. Prioriteringene skal være gjort i samråd med klyngens styre.

Prosjektene må innfri kravene for støtte til eksperimentell utvikling (FoUI) i statsstøtteregelverket. Et av kravene er at støtten kun kan gis til èn bedrift eller ett kompetansesenter. Søker kan imidlertid få dekket kostnader ved kjøp av tjenester fra partnere i samarbeidsprosjektet.

Innovasjonsrammen stiller krav til at midlene kun benyttes til samarbeidsprosjekter der minimum to virksomheter inngår (merk; minst en av bedriftene må være partner eller medlem i klyngen).

Tilskudd fra Innovasjonsrammen 2016 gis i tråd med regelverket for støtte til eksperimentell utvikling (FoUI-støtte) i statsstøtteregelverket. Støtten skal gis på områdene mobilisering og konseptualisering. Regelverket åpner for 25-45% støtte avhengig av bedriftenes størrelse samt 15% i samarbeidsbonus.

Interesserte bedrifter i Oslo Cancer Cluster bes ta kontakt med bk@occincubator.com for mer informasjon og søknadsskjema. Søknadene vil vurderes av et ekspertpanel, og innleveringsfristen for søknaden er 7.september.

På vegne av Oslo Cancer Cluster

Bjørn Klem

Nadine Lohs hired as Operation Manager

The Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator has recruited Nadine Lohs to be responsible for the operation of the Incubator from 1st August.

Nadine Lohs is from Austria and has recently completed her Master of International Health and Social Management at the Management Center Innsbruck. She has had an internship at Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator this Spring.

Contact details:

E-mail: nadine@occincubator.com

Phone: 90 76 23 63

Thermo Fisher Scientific will create Google-like envionment for biotech in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator

Thermo Fisher Scientific will rent over 800m2 in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator. Here, the company will create a creative Google-like environment with a particular focus on diagnostics and the development of new treatments using cancer immunotherapy.

 

 Thermo Fisher Scientific is one of Norway´s leading biotechs and among the most profitable. The company is expanding and during the first quarter of 2016 the entire management team, production team and parts of the R&D milieu will move to the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator. Here, 800m2 will be set up like a creative Google-like office space.

– We are really pleased that Thermo Fisher Scientific chooses to move into Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator. The company, which initially was established as Dynal in 1986, has played a vital role in Norwegian biotech with the development of «Dynabeads» that is used all over the world. Their record of accomplishment of bringing innovative products to the market is impressing. For the environment in the incubator it is crucial to have a global, experienced actor present, says Bjørn Klem, CEO Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

 

Strong in immunotherapy

The overall aim of the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator is to contribute to the successful development of oncology biotechs so that they may reach the market with their innovative treatments against cancer. The cancer R&D milieu in Norway in general is strong within cancer immunotherapies, which is also the case with the incubator companies.

– Thermo Fisher´s «Dynabeads» is used in basic research, in billions of diagnostic tests as well as in immunotherapy all over the world. Innovation and further applications is developed in close collaboration with research environments, clinics and industrial partners. Oslo Cancer Cluster has become one of the leading innovation clusters and we would like to take an active role in further developing the cluster. We think that co-localisation with the milieu in the incubator will be a catalyst for our growth and innovation in the future, says Ole Dahlberg, CEO Thermo Fisher Scientific in Norway.

 

Facts: 

Thermo Fisher Scientific:
Thermo Fisher Scientific in Norway (former Dynal Biotech) was established in 1986. The company focuses on the diagnostics market as well as the development of innovative immunotherapeutics, especially within oncology. The client portfolio features many of the world’s largest pharma and diagnostics companies. In 2014 the company had 180 employees and a turn-over of 760 MNOK. The company have production units both in Oslo and Lillestrøm. The Norwegian company is a subsidiary to Thermo Fisher Scientific which is listed on NYSE. www.thermofisher.com


In Norwegian:

Thermo Fisher Scientific inn i Oslo Cancer Cluster Inkubator: Styrker miljøet rundt immunterapi mot kreft

Thermo Fisher Scientific skal leie over 800m2 i Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator. Selskapet skal skape et kreativt ‘Google-aktig landskap’ innen bioteknologi med særlig fokus på diagnostikk og utvikling av nye former for behandling ved bruk av immunterapi.

Thermo Fisher Scientific er et av Norges største biotekselskap og blant de mest lønnsomme. Selskapet utvider og flytter nå hele ledergruppen og produktorganisjasjonen, samt deler av sitt forsknings- og utviklingsmiljø over til Oslo Cancer Cluster Inkubator. I 5.etasje i inkubatoren skal over 800m2 omgjøres til et kreativt landskap for ansatte i selskapet med fokus på forskning og utvikling innen diagnostikk og immunterapi mot kreft.

– Vi er utrolig glade for at Thermo Fisher Scientific velger å flytte inn i Oslo Cancer Cluster Inkubator. Selskapet, som startet som Dynal i 1986 er en viktig del av norsk bioteknologihistorie med sin utvikling av «Dynabeads»  basert på Ugelstadkulene. De har vist gjentatte ganger at de kan kommersialisere god forskning. Det vil bety mye for resten av miljøet i inkubatoren å ha med en så erfaren aktør med global tilstedeværelse, sier Bjørn Klem som er daglig leder i Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

 

Viktig for et Norge i omstilling

Oslo Cancer Cluster Inkubator skal bidra til at flere selskaper lykkes med å utvikle sin behandling av ulike kreftformer. Immunterapi mot kreft er en helt ny måte å behandle kreft på der kroppens eget immunforsvar aktiveres for å bekjempe kreftcellene. Miljøet i inkubatoren er særlig sterke innen dette fagfeltet, som blir ytterligere styrket ved at immunmonitoreringsenheten ved seksjon for celleterapi ved Oslo universitetssykehus, Radiumhospitalet flytter inn med syv ansatte i tillegg til Thermo Fisher Scientific.

 

– Thermofisher sine «Dynabeads» brukes i dag innen grunnforskning, til milliarder av diagnostiske tester og nå innen immunterapi. Innovasjon og applikasjonsutvikling skjer i nært samarbeid med forskningsmiljøer, klinikker, og industrielle partnere. Oslo Cancer Cluster har demonstrert høye ambisjoner og gjennomføringsevne på å bli en av de ledende innovasjonsklyngene og vi ønsker å være en del av det. Samlokalisering og felles aktiviteter med klinikken og andre selskaper tror vi er en katalysator for vår vekst og innovasjonsgrad fremover, sier Ole Dahlberg, administrerende direktør i Thermo Fisher Scientific i Norge.

 

– Statsminister Erna Solberg sa da hun åpnet Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovasjonspark og inkubator i august i år at helseindustri er en industri med dobbel gevinst: Fremskrittene som gjøres bidrar til velferd og helse samtidig som de skaper verdier og arbeidsplasser. Vi er overbevist om at det norske kreftforskning- og utviklingsmiljøet kan bety mye for et Norge i omstilling, samtidig som vi utvikler morgendagens kreftbehandling, sier Ketil Widerberg, daglig leder i Oslo Cancer Cluster.

 

Kontaktpersoner:

Oslo Cancer Cluster Inkubator: Bjørn Klem, daglig leder: e-post: bk@occincubator.com mobil: 924 161 56

Oslo Cancer Cluster: Ketil Widerberg, daglig leder: e-post: kw@oslocancercluster.no, mobil: 915 77 990

Thermo Fisher Scientific: Ole Dahlberg, adm.dir, e-post: ole.dahlberg@thermofisher.com, mobil 91108260 eller Geir Hetland, finansdirektør, e-post: geir.hetland@thermofisher.com, mobil: 98218280

 

Thermo Fisher Scientific:
Thermo Fisher Scientific i Norge (tidl Dynal Biotech) ble etablert i 1986. Selskapet har fokus på det diagnostiske markedet samt utvikling av nye former for immunterapi spesiellt innenfor kreftområdet. Kundeportoføljen består av mange av verdens største pharma og diagnostiske selskaper i verden. I 2014 hadde selskapet 180 ansatte og omsatte for 760 millioner. Selskapet har produksjonslokaler både i Oslo og Lillestrøm. Det norske selskapet er et datterselskap til Thermo Fisher Scientific som er et børsnotert selskap på NYSE. www.thermofisher.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HealthCap opens office in Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator

HealthCap, a leading life science venture capital firm, has opened office in the newly established incubator in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park. HealthCap also becomes a member of the Oslo Cancer Cluster.

 

HealthCap recognizes the emerging life sciences industry in Norway. “The strong environment created in the dedicated oncology cluster, bringing together all parts of the oncology value chain at the world renowned Radiumhospitalet, holds promise to play an important role in the development of the next generations of oncology treatments. We look forward to take part in and contribute to this important endeavor”, says Björn Odlander, managing partner of HealthCap.

HealthCap has retained Ludvik Sandnes to supervise the Norwegian operations. Ludvik Sandnes is a special advisor to HealthCap and has more than 40 years of experience from international corporate finance and asset management. He is currently the chairman of the listed Norwegian oncology company Nordic Nanovector AS.

 

HealthCap will host a seminar at the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park on December 9th at 12.30.
Please sign up here, the program will be published shortly.

The CEO of Oslo Cancer Cluster and Chairman of the Board of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, Ketil Widerberg says “We are extremely happy to have HealthCap on board both in the Oslo Cancer Cluster and in the Incubator. HealthCap´s track record of investing in life science is impressing, and their competence and network will be valuable for further building a viable oncology industry based on excellent cancer research at Norwegian academic institutions.”

HealthCap invests in companies developing targeted therapies for rare diseases, cancer and genetic diseases, among others. HealthCap was the lead investor in the Norwegian oncology company Algeta, which was acquired by Bayer for USD 2.9 bn, and is the largest shareholder in the Norwegian oncology companies Nordic Nanovector AS and Targovax AS.

Purely focused on oncology, the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park and Incubator, will ensure that bright ideas in the lab benefit cancer patients faster than today.

 

For more information, please contact:

Björn Odlander, managing partner HealthCap,  email: bjorn.odlander@healthcap.eu, phone: +46 8 442 58 50

Johan Christenson, partner HealthCap, email: johan.christenson@healthcap.eu, phone: +46 8 442 58 50

Ketil Widerberg, CEO Oslo Cancer Cluster and Chairman of the Board Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, email: kw@oslocancercluster.no, phone: +47 915 77 990

 

Facts:

HealthCap:
HealthCap is a leading European venture capital firm investing exclusively and globally in life sciences. A cornerstone of the strategy is to invest in companies developing therapeutic interventions that have the potential to significantly improve patient outcomes. HealthCap backs companies developing targeted therapies for rare diseases, orphan drugs, cancer and genetic diseases, among others. The HealthCap team of ten partners, five of whom are MD PhDs, has established its reputation as one of Europe’s preeminent life science specialists amongst VCs and entrepreneurs. See more at: www.healthcap.eu

 

Oslo Cancer Cluster
Oslo Cancer Cluster is a strong biotech cluster well positioned in the global oncology industry. The cluster is particularly strong in immuno-oncology and works to release the potential that lies within Norwegian oncology registries and bio banks. 70 members make up the cluster and represent the entire oncology value chain. www.oslocancercluster.no

 

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator
Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator offers lab and office space to researchers and biotechs developing cancer treatments, as well as companies offering competence, services and an international network crucial to succeed in this globally competitive area. The incubator´s over all aim is to develop more companies based on excellent cancer research as well as to contribute to their success. Today, more than X companies are part of the incubator. www.occincubator.com

 

Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park AS

Total space: 36 000 m²

Vision: The vision of the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park is to create Europe’s leading environment for education, research and industry within oncology, while also shortening the time it takes to develop new cancer medication and diagnostics.

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 and leading Norwegian biotech companies such as Ultimovacs and PCI Biotech.

Owners: OBOS, Industrifinans, Radium Hospital Foundation, Utstillingsplassen Eiendom, Oslo Cancer Cluster and Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

Opened officially August 24 2015 by the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg.

www.occinnovationpark.com

 

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator: Hottest bioincubator in the Nordics

According to The European Biotech News Website, Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator is ranked as the hottest bioincubator in the Nordics as well as the 6th hottest bioincubator in Europe. The Top 10 ranking is subject to several criteria.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator just opened its premises in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park August this year and is home to around 20 companies,  instituitons and consultants.

The incubator´s ultimate goal is to contribute to the succesful commercialisation of cancer research performed in Norway. This will provide patients with new cancer treatments and at the same time build a much needed knowledge based health industry in Norway.

 

Oslo Innovation Week opening will be streamed

Oslo Innovation Week will be opened today, Monday October 12 at 12 o´clock. Both the Minister of Finance Siv Jensen, and the Minister of Trade and Industry, Monica Mæland will be present at the opening to launch a new plan for Norwegian entrepreneurship. 

 

Oslo Innovation Week will go on the whole week – see all about it on the official website here: www.oiw.no. Follow and join discussions on Social Medias using #oiw.
At our Events page, you may see which seminars Oslo Cancer Cluster is engaged in.

 


In Norwegian:

Finansminister Siv Jensen og næringsminister Monica Mæland vil delta på åpningen av Oslo Innovation Week og lansere gode nyheter for alle Norges entreprenører og gründere.

For alle de som ikke har mulighet til å delta på selve åpningen i Operaen i Oslo så vil den bli streamet. Sendingen starter mandag kl. 12. I statsbudsjettet foreslår regjeringen tiltak for tilsammen 400 millioner “for å få frem gode gründere”.  Hva vil statsrådene presentere? Delta i debatten og bli med live!

 

 K Teams Boston: 9-20 November, 2015.

Opportunity for Oslo Cancer Cluster SMB´s: K Teams is a two week, intensive entrepreneurial training program in Boston and Cambridge. It is a great way to get a company started in the US. Please go to the following link for more information: http://kendall-teams.com/

The team behind the program is a seasoned, experienced group who have helped others companies make a successful entry into the US.  Boston is one of the most vibrant medical technology and bio/pharma regions in the US.

For more info:

Ron Sutherland, Launch in US Alliance: +1 617-407-0722 // rsutherland@launchinus.com

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:

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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

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:

 

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.

 

 



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.

 

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.

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

 

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

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.

 

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: sigrid.fossheim@kreftforeningen.no /+ 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.

 

Helsemyggordning – financial instrument for health innovation

December 11th 2013, Oslo Cancer Cluster, Oslo Medtech and Nansen Neuroscience Network launched a proposal for a new financing mechanism to stimulate innovation from the health- and biotech industry.

The proposal was very well received among the politicians, industry, public organisations and investors at the debate meeting in conjunction to the launch. Conservative Member of Parliament Kristin Vinje viewed the scheme as an exciting proposition that it is worthwhile to investigate further.

The three health clusters have named the scheme “Helsemyggordning”, building on a similar financial instrument from the oil and gas industry that was established to encourage exploration and development activity among young and small petroleum companies.

To stimulate increased health innovation, the scheme “Helsemyggordning” would involve cash payments of tax deduction related to the cost of development and testing of health products and health technologies innovators who are not liable to tax. When the company gets profits and are liable to tax, they must repay the tax paid for the development and testing costs. The system thus acts as an interest-free capital loans from state to the health innovations.

Acting CEO in Oslo Cancer Cluster, Jónas Einarsson, says the scheme may  trigger the huge potential within Norwegian health R&D. “We are at a critical stage now, as the biotech projects coming out are more mature and in a need for early funding,” says Einarsson.

Menon Business Economics have analysed “Helsemyggordningen”. They conclude that it is easy to administrate, predictable, and targeted.

Please find more in debth information here:

Report on “Helsemyggordningen”

Presentation of Helsemyggordningen, by Erik Jacobsen, Menon Business Economics.

Horizon 2020: Major possibilities

Horizon 2020 is the new European Framework Program for Research and Innovation. Oslo Cancer Cluster encourage our members to take a closer look at the possibilities Horizon 2020 represents for funding R&D oncology projects and also taking part in international networks.
Norwegian participation in the EU framework programs has been of critical importance to Norwegian research, enabling Norwegian researchers, research institutions and companies to take part in larger international networks.

The Norwegian Research Council has recently been touring most of Norway hosting information meetings on Horizon 2020. The program will take effect from January 2014 and the budget is of around 70 billion Euros over a seven year period. This is a large increase from the last framework program.


Horizon 2020 incorporates three overall areas of funding – and there is a specific focus on SMEs and also on academic-industry collaboration within the program:

  • Funding for basic research to support curiosity-driven, innovative research and large-scale cooperation on research infrastructure
  • Funding to strengthen industrial leadership and competitiveness with the help of effective industry-oriented funding instruments
  • Funding for research and innovation activities to solve shared societal challenges

Under the topic “Health, demographic change and wellbeing”, there are seven focus areas:
1. Understanding health, ageing & disease
2. Effective health promotion, disease prevention, preparedness and screening
3. Improving diagnosis
4. Innovative treatments and technologies
5. Advancing active and healthy ageing
6. Integrated, sustainable, citizen-centred care
7. Improving health information, data exploitation and providing an evidence base for health policies and regulation

More information may be found here:
The Norwegian Research Council webpage
Draft Work Programs 2014-2015
Newsletter – Program for Health, demographic change and wellbeing

Important deadlines:

  • Horizon 2020 national launch events: October 2013 to January 2014
  • Adoption of work programme and publication of first calls for proposals: December 11 2013
  • Expression of interest: Medio January 2014

 Background material presented by the Research Council on the information meeting in Oslo in November 2013:

Investinor and Industrifonden invest in Pharmalink

Oslo Cancer Cluster was the proud host of a press conference in early October, where two of the Nordic region’s largest governmental venture investors Investinor and Industrifonden announced their NOK million 90 investment in Swedish biotech Pharmalink. Pharmalink is a specialty pharma company focused on orphan and niche products within cancer and renal disease.

The press conference was hosted by Oslo Cancer Cluster due to Pharmalinks future plans of joining the cluster and becoming a part of the strong oncology environment in Oslo.

Jónas Einarsson, acting director of Oslo Cancer Cluster states “I am very glad to hear that Pharmalink would like to join Oslo Cancer Cluster and I welcome them to be a part of our strong member organization. I am also very happy for the collaboration between Investionor and Industrifonden within biotech, and hope for more co-investments in the close future.”

This is the second co-investment Investionor and Industrifonden have made in collaboration, the first one was also in biothech: Norwegian company Smartfish that produce nutraceuticals for cancer patients among others.

In the picture from the press conference you see from the left Investment director from Investinor og member of the board of Pharmalink Ann-Tove Kongsnes, CEO of Investinor Geir Ove Kjesbu, CEO of Industrifonden Claes De Neergaard and CEO of Pharmalink Johan Häggblad. Photo: Anne-Elisabeth Næss.

Below the facts you may read the press releases from both Investionor (In Norwegian) and Pharmalink (In English) on the investment:

Facts:

About Pharmalink
Pharmalink is a Swedish specialty pharma company developing high value products for niche indications. Pharmalink draws on its extensive experience of pharmaceutical development and marketing to identify and progress products that address significant unmet medical needs. With a successful history in pharmaceutical sales and marketing, and highly experienced, dynamic management team, Pharmalink is focused on the development and commercialization of valuable, de-risked projects. It has two late-stage clinical phase products under development, Nefecon® and Busulipo™. Pharmalink is actively seeking opportunities to acquire or in-licence product opportunities in niche and hospital care indications.

About Industrifonden
Industrifonden is one of Sweden’s largest and most experienced investors at early stage and in growth companies and manages an evergreen fund of approximately 3.5 billion (EUR420m). It has for the last 30 years had a leading role in the development of Swedish life science companies. Founded by the Swedish government in 1979, Industrifonden is an independent venture capital fund that operates on a strictly commercial basis and receives no further government funding. Revenues are returned to the business for new investments.

About Investinor
Investinor is Norway’s largest investor in venture and expansion capital, and manages a NOK4.2 billion (EUR525m) evergreen fund. Investinor was founded in 2008 and is funded by the Norwegian government. It invests directly in promising unlisted companies and on the same terms and conditions as private investors, with a clear exit strategy for all investments.