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.

Digital helse – hype eller håp?

En kortere versjon av denne kronikken sto på trykk i Aftenposten 13.10.2017. Du kan lese innlegget i Aftenposten her

Vi må forhindre at digital helse blir digitalt kvakksalveri.

 

Hva får vi hvis vi smelter sammen teknologi og biologi? Jo, digital helse. Her finner vi et kinderegg for pasienter, leger og forskere. Det inneholder unike muligheter til presis behandling for pasienter og leger, og kan gjøre at forskere ser nye mønstre og bedre forstår hvordan kroppen fungerer.

Digital helse innebærer at forskere og leger analyserer data i helseregistre, biobanker og gjør kliniske studier for å gi oss bedre behandling. Samtidig digitaliserer vi selv stadig mer av det vi ser og opplever. Det gir oss mulighet til å spore, styre og forbedre helsen og leve mer produktive liv.

En fremtidsdrøm?
På samme måte som flygende biler siden 70-tallet alltid har ligget noen tiår frem i tid, har vi de siste tjue årene hørt om den fantastiske fremtiden med digital helse. Vi har hørt om leger som får råd fra datamaskiner, et helsesystem som lærer av feil og forbedrer rutiner, forskere med banebrytende teknologi og pasienter som selv oppdager tidlige symptomer.

Det er ikke tilfellet i dag. På legekontorer og sykehus sitter leger foran datamaskinen og skriver inn samme tekst i forskjellige systemer for lagring – ikke for analyse. Vi har et helsevesen som ofte gjentar feil fra året før, og forskere som først etter flere år får tilgang til data å analysere.

Vi snakket om digitale beslutningsstøttesystemer allerede for 15 år siden – så hvorfor forblir digital helse en fremtidsvisjon?

Innsatsen mangler ikke. Teknologifirmaer investerer mer i helse enn noen gang før. GV (tidligere Google Venture) har nå hoveddelen av sine investeringer i helserelaterte prosjekter. Legemiddelselskaper fokuserer på digital omstilling. Stater har store programmer, som for eksempel Finland og Storbritannias satsing på sekvensering og presisjonsmedisin. Samtidig deler privatpersoner data som aldri før. Vi gjør det på Facebook, til Google og til selskaper som 23andMe. Med genetiske data fra over 1,2 millioner mennesker har 23andMe nå mer genetisk informasjon enn noen annen aktør i verden.

Digitalt kvakksalveri
Så hvorfor har vi ikke kommet lenger med digital helse? En del av svaret er at selv de digitale produktene som kan være nyttige, ofte mangler en måte å berike forholdet mellom legen og pasienten på. Ofte skaper slike produkter flere lag med programvare og krever nye prosedyrer. Dette øker kompleksiteten, i stedet for å frigjøre tid til pasienter. En unøyaktig sensor-app gjør det vanskeligere å finne ut hva som feiler en pasient.

Ingen ønsker at mulighetene og de positive produktene blir gjemt mellom såkalte digitale fremskritt som ikke fungerer eller faktisk hindrer omsorg, forvirrer pasienter og sløser bort tiden vår. Slike digitale tilbakeskritt kan være ineffektive elektroniske helsejournaler og en eksplosjon av digitale helseprodukter direkte til forbrukerne, med apper av blandet kvalitet. Vi må forhindre at digital helse blir digitalt kvakksalveri.

Hvordan kan vi i stedet berike forholdet mellom lege og pasient? Ved å bringe pasienten og legen inn i innovasjonssystemet. Der kan vi koble lovende oppstartselskaper med ledende globale firmaer og miljøer slik at de kan samarbeide om bedre løsninger for pasienten. Vi må se akademiske fag på tvers, og bringe ulike industrier sammen – ja, rett og slett skape nye økosystem for forskning og utvikling. Oslo Cancer Cluster er et eksempel på et slikt økosystem der pasientforeninger, sykehus, kreftforskere og firmaer finner bedre og raskere løsninger for kreftpasienter. Samarbeid bygger tillit som gjør at privat og offentlig drar i samme retning.

Samarbeid fra hype til håp
For å realisere håpet om digital helse, må holdninger og praksis endres på tre fronter. Det offentlige helse-Norge må gjøre helsedata mer tilgjengelig og bruke privat kompetanse. Private firmaer må på sin side prioritere nøyaktighet og sikkerhet og tilpasse sin teknologi til helsedata, og ikke omvendt. Samtidig må individer akseptere at helsedata deles for å få bedre folkehelse.

  1. Det offentlige må gjøre helsedata mer tilgjengelig.
    Ideelt burde leger hele tiden se etter mønstre hvor behandlingen fungerer og ikke fungerer, slik at offentlig helsevesen blir som en kontinuerlig klinisk studie på god helse. Ett steg på veien er å bruke offentlige helsedata for raskere testing og godkjenning av nye medisiner. Det vil hjelpe pasienter, skape arbeidsplasser og gi oss en solid plass i det internasjonale helsemarkedet. Det er helseministeren som må initiere dette, og han kan begynne med å følge opp helsedatautvalgets anbefalinger.
  2. Private firmaer må tilpasse teknologi til helsedata, ikke omvendt.
    Kunstig intelligens revolusjonerer bransje etter bransje. Teknologibransjen har for eksempel revolusjonert betaling og leveringssystemer for å gjøre 2000-tallets fiaskoer innen e-handel til dagens suksesshistorier. På samme måte må teknologifirmaene revolusjonere nøyaktighet og sikkerhet for å lykkes med kunstig intelligens i helse. De må forstå medisinske detaljer. Ved å samle teknologifirma, lege og pasient i ett økosystem kan vi få til dette.
  3. Vi må akseptere at våre helsedata blir delt.
    En ny virkelighet er at vi blir deltakere i forskningen på vår egen helse. Noen blir bekymret av dette. Kan forsikringsselskaper bruke det mot meg? De fleste av oss gir allerede fra oss data både når vi er friske og når vi er bekymret. Vi bruker betalingskort og fordelskort på apoteket og matbutikken. Hva og hvordan vi handler sier svært mye om vår helse. Data som pasienter selv lagrer i apper, fokusgrupper og genetiske analyser blir viktig for å komplimentere offentlige data.

De største gjennombruddene fremover ligger i grenseland mellom biologi og teknologi. Her må vi satse og tørre å samarbeide på nye områder. La oss bygge Norge som et ledende senter innen digital helse internasjonalt. Offentlig administrasjon, privat næringsliv og vi som individer må samarbeide for å unngå hype og digitalt kvakksalveri – og sammen skape reelt håp for bedre helse.

Ketil Widerberg, daglig leder i Oslo Cancer Cluster 

Missed Us at Oslo Innovation Week?

Luckily, all our events at Oslo Innovation Week and Forskningsdagene are available for a rerun. Have a look!

We had great audiences during our three events on the 27th and 28th of September. If your were not among them, sitting in the brand new science centre of the Norwegian Cancer Society, do not despair. The events were all live streamed on Facebook. You still have a chance to experience them right here.

The events were co-hosted with our partners the Norwegian Cancer Society, the Norwegian Radium Hospital Research Foundation (Radforsk), IBM, Cancer Research UK, Norway Health Tech and EAT.

 

The first event of the week was titled “Antibiotic resistance and cancer – current status, and how to prevent a potential apocalyptic scenario”.

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Antibiotic resistance and cancer – Current status, and how to prevent a potential apocalyptic scenario #OIW2017

Posted by Kreftforeningen on Tuesday, September 26, 2017

 

Our secondary event had the title “Cancer research and innovation – benefit for patients”.

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Cancer research and innovation – benefit for patients #OIW2017

Posted by Kreftforeningen on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

 

The third and final event on our Oslo Innovation Week calendar was about how big data may transform the development of cancer treatments. 

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How Big Data may transform the development of cancer treatments #OIW2017

Posted by Kreftforeningen on Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Funding Innovation in BioPharma and IT

What kind of work does it take to receive PERMIDES funding for innovative concepts and projects? Meet one of the companies that just received funding. 

 

22 collaboration projects will receive a total of 1,25 Million Euros from PERMIDES for innovation projects between small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from biopharma, bioinformatics and the IT sector. 

One of the lucky companies to receive innovation funding is Oslo Cancer Cluster member Myhere. For MyHere, it was especially important that the PERMIDES initiative is focused on the intersection between BioPharma and IT.

– Working with partners that are specialized in our field makes it easier to communicate the mission we are on, the concrete problems we are trying to solve and to qualify if we are a good match for each other or not. Furthermore, as we learned about the people and companies involved with PERMIDES, we discovered that we could learn a lot from the experiences of other SMEs in the program, says Jon-Bendik Thue, CEO at MyHere.

An innovative health app
MyHere’s mission is mainly carried out through the use of their app. This app, which pinpoints levels of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) in the bloodstream, enables a clearer outlook on potential prostate cancer and when to promptly, and timely, seek help. Thus, this app creates a balanced overview of prostate cancer that can save the patient and doctor from underdoing and overdoing the process. Essentially, the app is designed to save lives.

In this video, from MyHere’s webpage, the company explains the concept:

Essential health data
The funding will enable MyHere to start with a project that manages content from owners of health data. Health data is a tremendous resource, but unfortunately also tremendously underutilized. One important factor is the issue with getting consent from the owner of health data for research purposes. Typically, the owner is the individual the information was generated from, often in the role as a patient.

– As a provider of medical services directly to consumers, while at the same time organizing data across patient journeys, we are in a unique position to help solve the issue with consent for use of data. The funding from PERMIDES will allow us to build a dynamic data owner content management system, that will be integrated into our medical service platform. We are very excited about this project and we look forward to implementing it with our partner FramX, says Thue.

– Without this funding, we would have had to postpone the initiative without knowing when we would be able to realize it. Now we are thrilled that we will be able to hit the ground running right after the short Norwegian summer, he adds.

More winners in this round
Another Oslo Cancer Cluster member that got funding in this PERMIDES call is Arctic Pharma, a small start-up company committed to developing innovative anti-cancer drugs by exploiting the peculiar metabolic features of cancer cells.

These two Oslo Cancer Cluster members were among six Norwegian companies involved in four successful applications for Innovation Voucher funding. All of them will be able to initiate their joint projects in August and expect to see results early next year.

 

Doing More in Prognosis and Diagnosis

The project DoMore! aims to achieve better and faster diagnosis and prognosis with information and communication technology solutions. 

 

Technological innovation brightens the future ahead. With an increase in investment towards these areas, we create not only further potential in the technological field, but see betterment in the area it was produced for – such as productivity, reliability, effectiveness and so on. This is great news, especially in terms of cancer treatment where continuous betterment is essential. But how, and to what effect, is this done?

Project DoMore! has the answers.

The project, funded by the Norwegian Research Council and including members of Oslo Cancer Cluster’s team, debates the future of doing more with modernized thinking.

How do they do it?
This is done by putting more effort into research and development of information and communication technology solutions to supplement, or even replace, methods in pathology: the study of causality in diseases. DoMore!, in this case, will increase productivity and quality of cancer treatment.

Close-up of a cancerous tumour within the intestine. The green line represents manual marking of the tumour, while the blue is automated. Photo: Institute for Cancer Genetics and Informatics

The Ambition
The goal, then, is to decrease the slight human error brought on by complex decision making and visual observation to a computer basis with unbiased, reproducible and greater accuracy in algorithms. By doing this, DoMore! hopes to increase efficiency in pathology, methods and markers to aid the clinician in giving better and more personalised treatment to cancer patients everywhere.

On top of this, DoMore! believes the same efficiency will apply to patents, publications, products and spin-off companies, as well as decreasing overall cost and treatment time.

Harbinger of Innovation
In regards to the importance of this project, Ketil Widerberg, who is General Manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster, highlights:

– Project DoMore! furthers the innovative process. This combination of biology and technology will become increasingly important, especially in the area of pathology. Ultimately, Project DoMore! is setting a great example of being the harbinger of our adapting future.

Targeting the Big Three
As of now, project DoMore! will be focusing on three major cancer forms: lung, colorectal and prostate cancer. These account for 44% of all deaths brought on by cancer and are amongst the most common.

Better Prognosis and Diagnosis Ahead
Undoubtedly, project DoMore! is set out to achieve great things. Already within the bright future of 2021, they hope to offer much securer and faster systems for diagnosis and prognosis amongst cancer patients.