News regarding Oslo Cancer Cluster

Meet the speakers of Cancer Crosslinks 2023

Join us for a day of educational talks and mingling with colleagues in the oncology community.

Cancer Crosslinks 2023 will take place on 26 January 2023 (starting at 10:30) in Kaare Norum Auditorium at Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park.

International experts

The programme includes international experts sharing the latest advances in cancer precision medicine and immune-oncology.

The title of Cancer Crosslinks 2023 is New dimensions to the hallmarks of cancer: How is the last decade of discoveries advancing our understanding of cancer biology and transforming precision medicine. It is therefore appropriate that the day begins with a talk from the co-author of The Hallmarks of Cancer.

Douglas Hanahan

Douglas Hanahan

Douglas Hanahan, Distinguished Scholar of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research (Zurich/New York), Professor of Molecular Oncology, Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne, Switzerland will give a digital talk on The Hallmarks of Cancer: New Dimensions – Integrating Pre-Clinical and Clinical Cancer Trials of Mechanism-Targeted Therapies.

The three seminal publications are freely available via the following links:

  1. Hanahan D. & Weinberg R. A. (January 2000). “The Hallmarks of Cancer”. Cell. 100 (1): 57–70.
  2. Hanahan, D. & Weinberg, R. A. (March 2011). “Hallmarks of Cancer: The Next Generation”. Cell. 144 (5): 646–674.
  3. Hanahan, D. (Jan 2022) “Hallmarks of Cancer: New Dimensions”. Cancer Discov. 2022 Jan; 12 (1): 31–46.
Mariam Jamal-Hanjani

Mariam Jamal-Hanjani

Mariam Jamal-Hanjani, Group Leader, Cancer Metastasis Lab, CRUK Lung Cancer Centre of Excellence, UCL Cancer Institute; Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant in Translational Lung Oncology, UCL Hospital, London, UK will give a talk on The natural history of non-small cell lung cancer evolution in TRACERx.

Nilofer Azad

Nilofer Azad

Nilofer Azad, Co-Director of Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics, Professor of Oncology, Johns Hopkins University and Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, USA will give a digital talk on Epigenetic (Combination) Therapy – exploiting complex biology to offer novel treatment options for patients with GI cancers.

Alpaslan (Aslan) Tasdogan

Alpaslan (Aslan) Tasdogan

Alpaslan (Aslan) Tasdogan Associate Professor, German Cancer Consortium (DKTK), Institute for Tumor Metabolism, Department of Dermatology, University Hospital Essen, Germany will give a talk on The metabolic regulation of cancer progression.

Thomas Nerreter

Thomas Nerreter

Thomas Nerreter, Junior Group Leader, Chair of Cellular Immunotherapy, Translational CAR-T Research Program, University Hospital and CCC Würzburg, Germany will give a talk on Cellular Therapy for solid and hematological tumors: novel targets and technologies.

Tom Erkers

Tom Erkers

Tom Erkers, Assistant Professor, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden will give a talk on Data-driven hallmarks of acute myeloid leukemia: biological, prognostic & therapeutic implications.

Jakob Nikolas Kather

Jakob Nikolas Kather

Jakob Nikolas Kather, Professor of Clinical Artificial Intelligence, Else Kröner Fresenius Center for Digital Health, Technical University Dresden; Germany will give a talk on AI biomarkers in cancer: recent progress and the way to clinical implementation.

Norwegian moderators

Four Norwegian cancer researchers, representing the milieus at Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim, will guide the audience through the programme.

Katarina Puco

Katarina Puco

Katarina Puco, Senior Consultant Oncologist at Oslo University Hospital, Institute of Cancer research & Lovisenberg Diaconal Hospital, Oslo

Anna Pasetto

Anna Pasetto

Anna Pasetto, Associate Professor, Institute of Clinical Medicine, Division of Cancer Medicine, University of Oslo; Director of the Center for Advanced Cell Therapy (ACT) Cancer Clinic, Oslo University Hospital

May-Britt Tessem

May-Britt Tessem

May-Britt Tessem, Associate Professor/Research Scientist, Department of Circulation and Medical Imaging, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, NTNU

Eli Sihn Samdal Steinskog

Eli Sihn Samdal Steinskog

Eli Sihn Samdal Steinskog, Consultant Oncologist, Department of Oncology, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway

Mingling with colleagues

The educational programme is complemented by an afternoon networking session starting at 16:15 outside the auditorium. Don’t miss this opportunity to make new connections in the oncology community, revisit old acquaintances and engage in stimulating discussions with other health professionals.

One of the hallmarks of Cancer Crosslinks is the lively networking before, in-between and after the talks. Photo: Cameo UB

 

Register here

 

View and download the programme here

 

Visit the Cancer Crosslinks website here

 

Cancer Crosslinks 2023 is kindly sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly and Company.

 

                         

 

Gold Label awarded to Oslo Cancer Cluster

Oslo Cancer Cluster has received the Gold Label certificate from the European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI) with an overall score of 94%.

The Gold Label certificate is granted by the European Cluster Excellence Initiative (ECEI) to cluster organisations that receive at least 80% on their cluster management excellence score. It is the highest recognition a European cluster organisation can achieve.

In October 2022, two independent cluster experts performed an assessment of all 31 quality indicators and awarded Oslo Cancer Cluster a score of 94%.

The indicators concern the quality of:

  • the structure of the cluster,
  • governance,
  • financing,
  • strategy,
  • services,
  • and recognition.

The assessment was performed through interviews with two members of staff. The interviews were also substantiated with relevant documentation.

This was the second time Oslo Cancer Cluster was assessed by the ECEI. The cluster received its first gold label with an overall score of 91% in December 2019.

The Gold Label certificate is valid for two years (until the end of 2024).

Health companies gained investors’ attention

Strong Norwegian oncology presence at DNB Nordic Healthcare Conference 2022.

The DNB Nordic Healthcare Conference was back with in-person attendance last week, connecting some of the best Nordic health companies with eager investors at the DNB main office in Oslo.

“Health is key in Norway’s transition to a green economy. DNB shows great social responsibility by bringing together key players in business, investment, and health. It is encouraging to see the high-quality of the companies at this conference,” commented Ketil Widerberg, general manager at Oslo Cancer Cluster.

The conference included four different sessions with company presentations. A total of 14 members from Oslo Cancer Cluster were there, demonstrating the first-class cancer innovation emerging from Norwegian research environments.

The podcast Radium, produced by the investment fund Radforsk, also recorded an episode with perspectives on where the Nordic healthcare sectors.

 

Up-and-coming companies competed

Eleven health start-ups competed for the Health Prize of NOK 1 million during the Venture Session. Six members of Oslo Cancer Cluster were selected for this competition, and two were fast-tracked for the final. Here are snapshots from their pitches:

Bjørn Klem presented Adjutec Pharma, a company fighting against the global crisis of anti-microbial resistance.

Kerstin Jakobsson presented Kongsberg Beam Technology, a medtech start-up developing the next generation’s proton radiation therapy, by personalising the treatment for each patient.

Katja Vetvik presented Thelper, a Norwegian company that is developing targeted immunotherapies against cancer.

Peter W. Eide presented Oncosyne, a company that will provide game-changing functional diagnostic tools that give cancer patients significantly better and longer lives.

Torbjørn Furuseth presented DoMore Diagnostics, a company that is transforming cancer diagnostics with artificial intelligence.

Adam Robertson presented Hemispherian, a company developing a pipeline of first-in-class epigenetic therapeutics against aggressive cancers.

The companies ArxxTherapeutics, Bulbitech, Clexbio, Helseboka and Nadenod also pitched in this session. After a nerve-racking final, with heated discussions in the investor panel and a packed auditorium voting for their favorite start-up, Clexbio won the prestigious prize.

 

Oncology companies drew a crowd

There were two sessions with listed companies and one session with private companies, including 9 members from Oslo Cancer Cluster in total. The rooms filled up quickly, and the companies received many questions from curious investors. Here are some messages from their presentations.

Dan Schneider, CEO of Photocure, described how the company is improving the lives of bladder cancer patients with unique photodynamic technology for diagnosis and treatment. Visit the Photocure website to learn more.

Jan Alfheim, CEO of Oncoinvent, presented how the company uses alpha-emitting radiotherapeutics to kill all cancer cells in body cavities, including micro-metastatic disease. Visit the Oncoinvent website to learn more.

Martin Olin, CEO of BerGenBio, introduced how the company uses targeting AXL inhibitors to prevent the progression of cancer.

Visit the BerGenBio website to learn more.

 

Namir Hassan, CEO of Zelluna Immunotherapy, talked about how the company wants to save lives through innovative cancer-targeted cell therapies, using the unique TCR-NK technology.

Visit the Zelluna Immunotherapy website to learn more.

 

Per Walday, CEO of Exact Therapeutics, informed about how the company improves drug delivery with an ultrasound technology platform, using specifically designed microbubbles.

Visit the Exact Therapeutics website to learn more.

 

Mikael Engsig, CEO of Nykode Therapeutics, addressed how the company’s unique vaccine technology platform has the potential to be applicable to several disease areas.

Visit the Nykode Therapeutics website to learn more.

 

Carlos de Sousa, CEO of Ultimovacs, focused on the company’s next-generation universal cancer vaccine, that can educate the immune system to recognize telomerase, an enzyme that is expressed in 85% of all cancer types.

Visit the Ultimovacs website to learn more.

 

Erik Wiklund, CEO of Targovax, spoke about how the company wants to make PD1 checkpoint inhibitors work for all patients, with the company’s oncolytic therapy.

Visit the Targovax website to learn more.

 

The conference was organised by DNB with support from Oslo Cancer Cluster and Norway Health Tech. The event also collaborates with the following Norwegian clusters and networks in healthcare: The Life Science Cluster, Norwegian Smart Care Cluster, The Life Science Cluster, Norwegian Inflammation Network, Nansen Neuroscience Network and Aleap.

10 highlights from Oslo Cancer Cluster 2022

Scroll down to see our 10 highlights of the year.

2022 has been a year of post-pandemic growth for us, where we have revitalised the team, made new collaborations across borders and raised our voice on political issues. We have also started new initiatives, created more meeting places and welcomed new members to our community. Find out how you can engage with us in the snippets below.

 

Growing our community

We are nothing without our members. This year, we welcomed 10 new members to our cluster, strengthening our position as one of Norway’s leading health clusters.

The membership base spans different sectors of society, including: academia, drug development, technology, human resources and recruitment, legal firms, clinical service providers, investment funds, and more. The size of our members ranges from one-person companies to multi-national corporations. The one thing all members have in common is the motivation to work together to accelerate the development of cancer treatments and diagnostics.

Make some new connections! Please visit our Member Overview to see who else is part of our cluster.

New members of Oslo Cancer Cluster in 2022.

 

Arranging popular meeting places

Meeting places are the heart and soul of our organisation. This is where people meet to discuss how to accelerate the development of cancer treatments and diagnostics. Whether your interest lies in educational forums, political debate, partnering opportunities, networking with colleagues or meetings with investors, we have a tailored event for you. Here are a few from the year gone-by:

  • Cancer Crosslinks, an annual event with talks from some of the most renowned cancer researchers in the world, accompanied by lively interactions between the participants, took place in January.
  • Fremtidens kreftbehandling was arranged in April and August, offering vibrant political discussions between patients, politicians, clinicians, and industry representatives.
  • The Summer and December Gatherings, two networking events for our members and stakeholders to get to know one another in an informal setting, were organised in June and December.
  • NLSDays brought us to Malmö (Sweden) in the end of September. We promoted Norwegian life science in a joint booth and helped our members achieve the most from their partnering.
  • DNB Nordic Healthcare Conference, a unique place for investors to meet with start-ups in the Norwegian healthcare sector, takes place in December.

Did these teasers spark your interest? Please visit our Event Calendar to register for events.

Our events offer educational forums, networking opportunities and new arenas for cooperation. This photo was taken at a satellite meeting in connection with Onkologisk forum 2022. Photo: Fartein Rudjord / CONNECT

 

Building successful companies

Similar to how an incubator provides a warm, nurturing growth environment for babies, Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator helps early-stage cancer start-ups develop into successful businesses.

This year, five companies from our Incubator (DoMore Diagnostics, Thelper, Adjutec Pharma, Kongsberg Beam Technology and OncoSyne) were selected for the DNB Nordic Healthcare Conference’s Venture Session. Several companies pitched at NLSInvest, at BioStock Life Science Summit and were also featured in the International Cancer Cluster Showcase digital brochure.

As a recognition of the Incubator’s accomplishments, SIVA extended their financing for another year with NOK 3,5 million. This means we can continue to help cancer start-ups grow and develop life-saving treatments.

Interested in the services and facilities at Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator? Visit their website or contact Janne Nestvold, COO of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, to schedule a visit.

Janne Nestvold, COO of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, takes an active and hands-on approach when developing the cancer start-ups. This photo was taken at the Biostock Life Science Summit 2022. Photo: Elisabeth Kirkeng Andersen

 

Connecting public with private

There is a wave of promising cancer treatments coming in the field of precision medicine. Still, questions remain about how to quickly get these implemented in the Norwegian healthcare system.

The public-private consortium CONNECT was set up in 2021 by 22 founding partners to drive the implementation of precision cancer medicine in Norway, with Oslo Cancer Cluster as project manager.

During 2022, CONNECT has held a long line of educational seminars, grown to include 30 partners, created a positive climate for public-private collaborations in cancer, and put Norway on the map for precision cancer medicine internationally, most notably in a Letter to the Editor in Nature Medicine.

Get engaged in CONNECT! Please visit the CONNECT website or contact Jutta Heix, Project Lead in CONNECT and Head of International Affairs in Oslo Cancer Cluster.

In CONNECT, stakeholders from both the public and private sector work together to drive the implementation of precision cancer medicine. This photo was taken at one of the Steering Committee meetings in 2022. Foto: Fartein Rudjord

 

Making our voice heard

We fight for political change, so cancer innovation in Norway can thrive. One way of doing this is by affecting the framework conditions, such as national policies, governmental strategies and state budgets.

That is why we had an active presence at Arendalsuka 2022, where we held meetings together with our partners, talked to politicians and promoted topics that are important for our members.

We also had a record number of on-site visits by curious politicians that want to learn more about our cancer eco-system.

Help us affect political change! Read all our input or get in touch with Wenche Gerhardsen, Head of Communications at Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Three people outside a building.

Jan Christian Vestre, Minister of Industry, received a tour of Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park, by Ingrid Stenstadvold Ross, general secretary of the Norwegian Cancer Society, and Ketil Widerberg, general manager in Oslo Cancer Cluster, in August 2022. Photo: Oslo Cancer Cluster

 

Inspiring homegrown talent

We want to raise the next generation of cancer researchers. That is why we have a collaboration with Ullern Upper Secondary School, where we take students out of the traditional classroom setting and give them a taste of what life as a researcher or health professional is like.

During 2022, we arranged work placements for the students and a thematic day together with clinicians from the Radium Hospital. We also had good news from several Ullern alumni, including Simone Mester becoming CEO of start-up Authera and Ullern students winning EU Science Competition.

We know these students can become the entrepreneurs, inventors, researchers and talents that the Norwegian life science environment needs. We are proud to help inspire them.

How can you help inspire the young? Read more on the website or get in touch with Bente Prestegård, Project Manager in Oslo Cancer Cluster.

 

Joining the European efforts

The European Union has launched a Cancer Mission with the goal to improve the lives of 3 million people living with cancer by 2030. We want to position Norway to help this ambitious endeavour.

In 2022, we launched a national Cancer Mission Hub together with key players in the Norwegian cancer field. The hub will inform about EU opportunities, mobilise the Norwegian stakeholders and foster collaboration between all participants.

Get engaged with the hub! Read more on the Cancer Mission Hub website or get in touch with Marine Jeanmougin, EU Advisor in Oslo Cancer Cluster.

 

Strengthening the team

We employed two new team members to meet the demands of all ongoing activities.

Marine Jeanmougin, our new EU advisor, brings aboard scientific expertise and has unique perspectives into European affairs. You can contact Marine for help with applications to EU funding and for information on upcoming EU calls.

Marine Jeanmougin, EU Advisor, Oslo Cancer Cluster

Dave Tippett, our new Membership advisor, is an administration wizard that helps the team, our members and everyone in the office become more efficient. Dave splits his time between Oslo Cancer Cluster and the Incubator to ensure that things are running smoothly, so the researchers have time to focus on what they do best.

Dave Tippett, Membership advisor, Oslo Cancer Cluster

For general queries, please visit our Team page to find out who to contact.

 

 

Click here to read selected milestones from our biotech members in 2022