Introducing our new members

Have you heard about our most recent members? Find out more about our growing cancer community below.

A wonderful mix of new members presented at our annual Summer Gathering last week, including companies in cancer prognostics and diagnostics, HR and recruitment, and financial and biopharma services. Here is a short overview from the presenters.


Peeter Padrik, CEO and founder of Antegenes, presented the Estonian company that offers innovative genetic tests for cancer prevention.

“If we detect disease as early as possible, we can also eliminate disease efficiently,” Padrik said.

Padrik explained that breast cancer screening in Norway begins from 50 years, but that 20 per cent of breast cancer cases happen to women younger than 50 years old. It is not reasonable to screen all younger women, but those who have elevated risk for breast cancer can be screened earlier.

Peeter Padrik, CEO and founder, Antegenes.

Peeter Padrik, CEO and founder, Antegenes.

“We need tools for more precise screening. Many cancer risks come from our genetic dispositions and we can identify individual risk levels for common cancers with personalized screening,” Padrik said.

New technology called polygenic risk scores can summarise risks from many gene variants for cancers, but this has not yet been implemented in the public healthcare systems. The company Antegenes has developed tests using polygenic risk scores for breast, prostate, colorectal and melanoma cancers. They are now creating models for new screening programmes, where genetics-based screening can be used, and how to implement these new approaches.


Ján Tkáč, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Glycanostics, presented the start-up company that develops tests for cancer diagnostics.

The company uses a glycan-based liquid biopsy approach. Glycans are complex carbohydrates attached to proteins. Glycanostics have developed a diagnostic cancer test by identifying glycan changes associated with cancer in the blood. The company has so far focused on prostate cancer diagnostics.

“This is an ideal cancer diagnostic test that can provide high accuracy. It can be done by analysis of blood and be cost-effective. We can avoid unnecessary biopsies, monitor disease progression and treatment, and it is applicable for 11 cancer types,” Tkáč said.

Ján Tkáč, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Glycanostics

Ján Tkáč, Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Glycanostics

Glycanostics have already filed five patent applications and are ready to scale up the technology for breast cancer, lung cancer and pancreatic cancer.

“We look forward to participating in Oslo Cancer Cluster’s projects to shape the diagnostics future for oncological patients. Collaboration with cluster members and international cluster partners can drive our mission faster and share Glycanostics’ vision,” Tkáč said.

Randstad Care – Norway

Jon Bjørbekk, Head of Recruitment, Life Sciences at Randstad, presented the recruitment company that is a global market leader in HR services.

“Randstad is quite new in Norway. We have been here for about 14 years and originate from the Netherlands. We are present in 39 countries and have 35 000 employees,” Bjørbekk said.

The company’s area of expertise is executive search, search and selection, and temporary hiring.

Jon Bjørbekk, Head of Recruitment, Life Sciences at Randstad.

Jon Bjørbekk, Head of Recruitment, Life Sciences at Randstad.

“People in the life science industry are quite hard to find or relocate. Most of you are quite loyal to your employers, so it is our job to make you curious about a career move. Things are growing in Norway and there is a huge focus on healthcare and startups for the last 5-10 years,” Bjørbekk said.

Bjørbekk underlines the importance of having local knowledge, keeping close feedback with job applicants and building employer branding in all steps of the recruitment process.


Jo Helge Grepstad, Head of Sales, presented TheVIT, a service provider that has a vision to be the best support apparatus for businesses.

“We are a service provider, so we are not in the field of health or curing cancer, but we want to help you find the cure to cancer by supporting your business in the fields where we are specialists,” Grepstad said.

Jo Helge Grepstad, Head of Sales, TheVIT.

Jo Helge Grepstad, Head of Sales, TheVIT.

TheVIT works in the areas of advisory and services, and supports companies with finances, human resources and business intelligence. They are located at Rebel where Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator also has some office space.

“Our values are value, innovation and team. We seek good solutions for our clients through putting together the right team with the right competence to solve the challenges the clients are facing. Complemented by utilizing new technologies, we can support growth. Our resources include financial and business controllers, financial managers, CFOs, HR managers and business intelligence resources, and we are open for dialogue with other members of Oslo Cancer Cluster,” Grepstad said.


Sandy Mercurio, Senior Manager of Business Development at Veracyte, presented the US-based global diagnostics company, which provides a range of services to biopharma partners. Last year, Veracyte acquired the French company HalioDx, which specialized in immuno-oncology and was a member of the Oslo Cancer Cluster community.

“Veracyte offers a unique portfolio of multi-omic testing services to our biopharma partners to help them in their biomarker strategy and support their drug development programs by leveraging the best insights from clinical samples through our innovative technologies. Our expertise in immuno-oncology and biostatistics, combined with our robust quality and compliance systems enable us to help our biopharma partners discover clinically relevant biomarkers, identify patients for clinical trials and develop companion diagnostics.”

Sandy Mercurio, Senior Manager of Business Development, Veracyte

Sandy Mercurio, Senior Manager of Business Development, Veracyte

The company recently introduced the Veracyte Biopharma Atlas, which is a comprehensive database to help guide clinical trials. The company has been involved in clinical trials for CAR T therapies and vaccines, and has dozens of biopharma partners.

Comunin AS has also joined Oslo Cancer Cluster recently and they will be presented at a later date.




Jon Kirknes (Kreftforeningen) joins our board

The latest addition to the board of Oslo Cancer Cluster is Jon Kirknes from the Norwegian Cancer Society.

Jon Kirknes, Head of Department for Analysis and Politics at the Norwegian Cancer Society, has joined the board of Oslo Cancer Cluster in 2022.

“I am very glad that I have been given this opportunity and I think that Oslo Cancer Cluster’s vision is very good. I am looking forward to working together with very competent board members and partners in helping patients – by accelerating the development of innovative cancer treatments,” Kirknes said.

Jon Kirknes has previously worked in the Department for Cancer Research, Prevention and Cancer Care in the Norwegian Cancer Society. Before that, he worked at the Norwegian Defence University College with Higher Education and Research. He brings wide experience in political advocacy, organizational development, and leadership.

Fighting cancer together

It is fitting that the board includes a representative from the Norwegian Cancer Society. Besides being a member of Oslo Cancer Cluster, the Norwegian Cancer Society shares similar goals for cancer in Norway.

“We work continuously to improve society’s attitude to the prevention and treatment of cancer. We fight cancer locally, nationally, and globally through research and preventive measures, information, support, advice and lobbying. Consideration for cancer patients and their needs will be central in my efforts to achieve Oslo Cancer Cluster’s goals and I see many areas of collaboration,” Kirknes said.

Some of the central issues Kirknes is working for are:

  • Early detection and access to treatment methods and personalized medicine.
  • Clinical trials as part of treatment.
  • Seamless treatment and care, including better infrastructure and coherent medical records, digitalization and development of welfare technology.
  • EU’s Mission on Cancer in Horizon Europe.
  • Public health in all sectors, with emphasis on genetics and the environment.

Partnership perspectives

Kirknes hopes he can help Oslo Cancer Cluster identify novel collaboration opportunities.

“The Norwegian Cancer Society reaches a broader audience through cooperation with others.  I hope to bring in our ‘partnership-perspective’ and experience in working with other patient associations and other cancer organizations, public institutions, researchers, healthcare organizations, foundations and businesses – to give Oslo Cancer Cluster new learning opportunities, so we can achieve greater visibility, raise Oslo Cancer Cluster’s profile, promote learning and development, and bring forward synergies that such collaboration can facilitate.”


About Jon Kirknes

Jon Kirknes is Head of Department for Analysis and Politics at the Norwegian Cancer Society (NCS) – one of the largest organizations in Norway representing the voices of those affected by cancer. Previously he headed the department for Cancer Research, Prevention and Cancer care. Before Kirknes joined NCS he worked at The Norwegian Defence University College with higher education and research. He has wide experience in political advocacy, organizational development and leadership.

Today, Kirknes is also board member at Gemini Centre for Sepsis Research, member of The Union for International Cancer Control’s (UICC)  Taskforce group on Antimicrobial resistance and member of the Norwegian Directorate of Health’s User Council, who promotes the user perspective in strategically important matters and processes in the Directorate.

“The Value of the Health Industry 2022” is here

There is a Norwegian version of this text further down.

The health industry is – and has always been – a part of the solution to many of the challenges in the healthcare sector. The industry contributes to preventing, diagnosing, and treating disease, as well as rehabilitating people. This increases the population’s quality of life, while reducing the burden on the health service, lowering sick leave, and increasing work life participation.

The Menon Economics report “The Value of the Health Industry 2022” was released on Friday 10 June 2022. The report is an annual publication, which was first published in 2016, when several key actors decided to join forces and create a report that describes the entire Norwegian health industry in numbers.

This year’s report is the seventh in line and based on three central contributions from the health industry to Norwegian economy:

  1. the value creation by the health industry, which contributes to increased BNP and to create jobs,
  2. the importance of the health industry to maintain an efficient public healthcare service,
  3. the importance of the health industry for public health, which reduces the burden of sickness, increases employment, and reduces health costs.

“New technologies and innovative treatments are transforming the cancer field and can create significant value for Norway as we transition to a sustainable economy. We need stronger collaboration between the public and private sector to realise the full potential of the health industry. This can reduce the burden on the healthcare service and make it both better and more efficient. This can also create new jobs and attract international investments to Norway. Above all, this can give cancer patients better health, longer lives and higher work life participation.“
Ketil Widerberg, general manager, Oslo Cancer Cluster

Helsenæringens verdi 2022

  • Read the entire report here (in Norwegian)


These are the most important findings in the report:

1. The value creation by the health industry

  • The value creation by the private health industry increased in the ten-year period from 2010 to 2020 with over 85 per cent. The corresponding growth for the rest of Norwegian private industry was nearly 25 per cent (strongly affected by the corona pandemic in 2020). The health industry constitutes an ever growing part of Norwegian industry.
  • The companies in parts of the industry – especially in digital health, the pharmaceutical companies and the distribution companies in health technologies – report a very strong growth through the corona pandemic in 2020 and 2021.
    • Parts of the private service industries experienced significant drops in activity – especially companies in mental health, addiction, and home and care.
  • The value creation of the private health industry totalled NOK 63 billions in 2020.
    • This is a little higher than the total value creation of the agricultural, forest, fishing, and aquaculture industries, which was NOK 62 billions (source: SSB, Nasjonalregnskapet).
  • The exports of the health industry totalled NOK 27,2 billion in 2021.
    • This is almost 60 per cent higher than the export of power in 2021.
  • The private health industry employed 83 500 people in the Norwegian economy in 2021.
    • This constitutes a little more than three per cent of all employment in the Norwegian economy.
    • This corresponds 35 per cent of the employment in the building and construction industry.

2. The importance of the health industry for the public healthcare service

  • The majority of the income (from Norway) to the private health industry comes from customers in the public sector – municipalities, public hospitals and other national public institutions.
    • Health technology, which is developed and delivered by the health industry, is essential to ensure that the public healthcare sector delivers high-quality health and care services in an efficient manner.
    • At the same time, the health industry is dependent on that the buyers in the public healthcare sector use the market in an efficient manner, in other words, that they are open to procuring new products and services. This is essential for private companies to gain access to growth capital and to be able to establish themselves abroad.
  • The mapping of the health industry’s experiences of interacting with the public healthcare sector shows several interesting findings;
    • The health industry perceives that the competency of the buyers in the municipalities is very low, while it is perceived as very high in the public hospitals.
    • The customers in the municipalities put a very high emphasis on price (at the expense of quality) in the procurement of health technology. The suppliers of private healthcare services are presented as the type of customer that emphasize quality the highest, when procuring health technology.
    • The suppliers of private healthcare services are perceived to be the type of customer who are most open to procuring new technology, and innovative products and services. Also in this area, the customers in the municipalities are perceived to be “the worst” among suppliers of health technology.

3. The importance of the health industry for public health

  • The societal costs of disease and health in Norway constitute two thirds of the BNP. These costs include:
    • The burden of disease – the economic value of lost years of life and the damage to health in the population because of disease and injury.
    • The cost of health services – the cost of equipment and services in the health sector.
    • Loss in production – the value creation that is not realised because of the people not able to work because of disease or injury.
  • Innovations in the health industry continuously contribute to reducing these costs. In this report, we present several examples of technology developed by the Norwegian health industry that increase the quality of treatment and increase the efficiency of diagnostics, treatment and follow-up of patients and users.
  • Paradoxically, the benefits from saved lives and better health are valued less today in the healthcare sector, than in other societal sectors, in the calculations of utility and cost efficiency in public budgets.
    • This can lead to a systematic underestimation of the value of investments in the healthcare sector compared to investments in life and health in other sectors.


Read previous reports here (in Norwegian)


The consortium partners: Aleap, The Norwegian Directorate for e-health, Inven2, LO Norway, Melanor, Norway Health Tech, Norwegian Smart Care Cluster, Oslo Cancer Cluster, SIVA, The Life Science Cluster, The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprize (NHO) and NHO Geneo.




Read the press release in Norwegian below:

Dette er de viktigste funnene i «Helsenæringens verdi 2022»

Helsenæringen er – og har alltid vært – en del av løsningen på mange av våre helse- og omsorgsutfordringer. Næringen bidrar til å forebygge, diagnostisere, behandle og rehabilitere mennesker, noe som øker befolkningens livskvalitet, samt bidrar til å redusere belastningen på helsevesenet, redusere sykefraværet og til økt deltakelse i arbeidslivet.

Fredag 10. juni offentliggjøres Menon Economics-rapporten «Helsenæringens verdi 2022». Rapporten er en årlig utgivelse, som for første gang ble publisert i 2016 da de toneangivende aktørene innen helsenæringen i Norge for første gang gikk sammen om å utarbeide en rapport hvor målet var å beskrive hele den norske helsenæringen i tall.

Årets rapport, som er den sjette i rekken, tar utgangspunkt i tre sentrale bidrag fra helsenæringen til norsk økonomi: Helsenæringens verdiskaping – bidrag til BNP og arbeidsplasser, helsenæringens betydning for en effektiv offentlig helsetjeneste og helsenæringens betydning for folkehelsen – redusert sykdomsbyrde, økt sysselsetting og reduserte helsetjenestekostnader.


Her er hovedfunnene:

1. Helsenæringens verdiskaping

  • Verdiskapingen i den private helsenæringen steg i tiårsperioden fra 2010 til 2020 med over 85 prosent. Den tilsvarende verdiskapings-veksten for resten av norsk privat næringsliv var på i underkant av 25 prosent (sterkt preget av korona-pandemien i 2020). Helsenæringen utgjør en stadig større andel av norsk næringsliv.
  • Bedriftene i deler av næringen – især digital helse, legemiddelbedriftene og distribusjons-bedrifter innen helseteknologi – rapporterer om en svært sterk vekst gjennom korona-pandemien i 2020 og 2021.
    • Deler av de private tjenestebransjene opplevde betydelig aktivitetsfall – især aktører innen psykisk helse og avhengighet og bo og omsorg.
  • Den private helsenæringen hadde en samlet verdiskaping i 2020 på 63 mrd. NOK
    • Dette er litt høyere enn den samlede verdiskapingen i de to primærnæringene jord- og skogbruk og fiske, fangst og akvakultur, med samlet 62 mrd. NOK i verdiskaping (kilde: SSB, Nasjonalregnskapet)
  • Helsenæringen hadde i 2021 en samlet eksport på 27,2 mrd. NOK
    • Dette er nesten 60 prosent høyere enn verdien av krafteksporten i 2021
  • Den private helsenæringen sysselsatte i 2021 83.500 personer i norsk økonomi
    • Tilsvarer i overkant av tre prosent av all sysselsetting i norsk økonomi
    • Tilsvarer 35 prosent av sysselsettingen i bygg- og anleggsnæringen

2. Helsenæringens betydning for den offentlige helsetjenesten

  • Majoriteten av inntektene (fra Norge) til den private helsenæringen kommer kunder i offentlig sektor – kommuner, offentlige helseforetak og andre nasjonale offentlige institusjoner.
    • Helseteknologi utviklet og levert av helseindustrien er avgjørende for at den offentlige helsesektoren får levert helse- og omsorgstjenester av høy kvalitet, på en effektiv måte
    • Samtidig er helsenæringen avhengig av at innkjøperne i den offentlige helsesektoren benytter markedet på en effektiv måte, herunder at de er åpne for å anskaffe nye produkter og tjenester, for både å få tilgang til vekstkapital og for å kunne etablere seg i utlandet
  • Kartlegging av helsenæringens opplevelser av samhandlingen med den offentlige helsesektoren gir flere interessante funn;
    • Helsenæringen oppfatter innkjøpskompetansen gjennomgående er svært lav i kommune-sektoren, mens den oppfattes som svært høy i helseforetakene.
    • Kundene i kommunesektoren vektlegger pris svært høyt (på bekostning av kvalitet) i anskaffelser av helseteknologi. Private helsetjenesteleverandører trekkes frem som den kundetypen som vektlegger kvalitet høyest, ved anskaffelser av helseteknologi.
    • De private helsetjenesteleverandørene oppfattes å være kundetypen som er mest åpne for å anskaffe ny teknologi og innovative produkter og tjenester. Også på dette området oppleves kunder i kommunesektoren å være «dårligst» blant leverandørene av helseteknologi.

3. Helsenæringens betydning for folkehelsen

  • Samfunnskostnadene av sykdom og helse i Norge tilsvarer to tredeler av brutto nasjonalprodukt (BNP). Disse kostnadene består av;
    • Sykdomsbyrden – den økonomiske verdien av tapte leveår og helsetap i befolkningen som følge av sykdom og skader.
    • Helsetjenestekostnader – kostnadene av utstyr og tjenester i helsesektoren
    • Produksjonstapet – verdiskapingen som ikke realiseres som følge av at arbeids-kraftressurser er ute av stand til å jobbe, som en konsekvens av sykdom og skader
  • Innovasjoner i helsenæringen bidrar kontinuerlig til å redusere disse kostnadene. I denne rapporten presenterer vi en rekke eksempler på teknologi utviklet av den norske helsenæringen som øker behandlingskvaliteten og øker effektiviteten i diagnostisering, behandling og oppfølging av pasienter og brukere.
  • Paradoksalt nok er det i dag slik at gevinsten av sparte liv og bedre helse verdsettes lavere i helsesektoren, enn i andre samfunnssektorer, i beregninger av nytte- og kostnadseffekter av offentlige budsjettkroner.
    • Dette kan føre til en systematisk undervurdering av verdien av investeringer i helsesektoren sammenlignet med investeringer i liv og helse i andre sektorer.

Les hele rapporten her.

Deltakerne i konsortiet er: Aleap, Direktoratet for e-helse, Inven2, Landsorganisasjonen i Norge (LO), Melanor, Norway Health Tech, Norwegian Smart Care Cluster, Oslo Cancer Cluster, SIVA, The Life Science Cluster, Næringslivets Hovedorganisasjon (NHO) og NHO Geneo.

Three new board members of Oslo Cancer Cluster: Per Morten Sandset, Gunhild M. Maelandsmo and Cathrine Lofthus

New board members

We are happy to welcome three new members to the board of Oslo Cancer Cluster. Find out what they had to say about entering their new positions.

Per Morten Sandset

Per Morten Sandset

Per Morten Sandset is a Senior Consultant in hematology at the Oslo University Hospital and a professor in thrombosis research at the University of Oslo. He has previously been head of the Department of Hematology and Deputy Director of the Medical Division at Ullevål University Hospital and Director of Research, Innovation and Education of the southeastern Norway Health Region. He is currently Vice-Rector at the University of Oslo with responsibilities for research and innovation including the life sciences activities of the university. Sandset has published more than 315 original publications and supervised 30 PhD students.

Why did you join the board of Oslo Cancer Cluster?

“There are currently strong political expectations that the many scientific achievements in the life sciences can be utilized, commercialized and eventually form the basis for new industry.”

“Oslo Cancer Cluster has matured to become a major player of the research  and innovation ecosystem within the life science area in Oslo and also on a national level. This is why being on the board is so interesting and important.”

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

“As a OCC board member, I want to strengthen and develop the collaboration across the sectors, i.e., between the hospitals and the university – and between academia and industry. On a larger scale, it is about establishing a regional ecosystem that take achievements of the basic sciences into the development of enterprises. Oslo Cancer Cluster should maintain its role as the major player in the cancer area.”

Gunhild M. Mælandsmo

Gunhild Mari Mælandsmo

Gunhild M. Mælandsmo is the head of Department of Tumor Biology, Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital where she also is heading the “Metastasis Biology and Experimental Therapeutics” research group. She is a Professor at Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø.

Why did you join the board of Oslo Cancer Cluster?

“I think the concept of Oslo Cancer Cluster is very interesting, fostering a close collaboration between academia, health care providers and the health industry. 

“Focusing on translational research for many years, I think I can contribute in the board with valuable experience in several parts of the value chain; from basic science, from translational aspects and from my close collaboration with clinical partners as well as administrative experience.”

What do you hope to achieve in your new role?

“I hope I can contribute with valuable knowledge – both from cancer research and from my administrative experience from Oslo University Hospital. I also hope to see more products from small Norwegian companies reaching clinical testing and expanding the biotech industry. Finally, I hope to see the Norwegian health care system more active in providing precision cancer medicine (and to utilise the advantages we have when it comes to registries etc).”

Cathrine M. Lofthus

Cathrine M. Lofthus

Cathrine M. Lofthus is the CEO at the Norwegian South East Regional Health Authority (Helse Sør-Øst RHF). She has previously held several leading positions at Aker University Hospital and at Oslo University Hospital. Lofthus is a qualified doctor from the University of Oslo, where she also completed a PhD in endocrinology. She also holds qualifications in economy, administration and leadership, and has experience from the health sector as a clinician, researcher and leader. Lofthus also holds directorships in Norsk helsenett and KLP, in addition to being a member of the board of National e-Health.


We also wish to extend a special thank you to our previous board members:

  • Kirsten Haugland, Head of the Research and Prevention Department at the Norwegian Cancer Society.
  • Inger Sandlie, professor at the Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo and research group leader at the Department of Immunology, Oslo University Hospital.
  • Øyvind Bruland, professor of clinical oncology at the University of Oslo and consultant oncologist at The Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo University Hospital.