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.

A Constant State of Liveliness

A driving force behind the collaboration between Ullern Upper Secondary School and Oslo Cancer Cluster is stepping down. This is her adventure.

After fifteen great and productive years at Ullern Upper Secondary School, Esther Eriksen steps down from her position as vice principle in the upcoming month. Esther, who has been responsible for many various tasks in her position, has been a part of Ullern’s transformative experience alongside Oslo Cancer Cluster’s emergence in 2009 and recounts her time at Ullern.

A flourish of innovation
Esther Eriksen describes the transformation and unification of Ullern Upper Secondary School and Oslo Cancer Cluster as being a progression from a strong belief in it’s potential to a flourish of innovation.

The collaboration has become a constant state of liveliness: from pupils attending classes, to research, to teamwork and a continuous process of growth.

Since 2009, the school and the cluster, with all its member companies and institutions, has unified to produce a collaborative arena for the pupils. This is an experience Eriksen describes nothing short of “wonderful, educational and groundbreaking”.

Diversity in teamwork
– The collaborative experience is incredible due to the pupils’ ability to take in experience in regards to teamwork. Not to mention they learn how knowledge from books can be translated to hands on work and ultimately get a feel for what life has in store for them, says Eriksen.

Esther Eriksen describes her own experience as being much of the same, and stresses the notion of working as a team.

– Diversity in teamwork is really important! We see this from well-received results and happy pupils, says Eriksen.

Future potential
In regards to the future of this collaboration, Vice Principle Eriksen expresses her desire to see the school continue down the path it has set out on. She wants to see the pupils continue to learn, gain opportunities and continue to work collaboratively.

– I wish the pupils would gain further awareness of the potential this unification brings, and hope to see increased interest in teamwork as an integrity.

The best of moments
Esther Eriksen also shares what she would consider the best moments of her time at Ullern, of which these were her favorite:

  1. When the new school first opened in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park in 2015 – hard work finally turned to fruition
  2. Seeing how happy and motivated the pupils are when they do projects with scientists, businesses and hospitals in the cluster
  3. The emergence of vocational studies, such as electronics and health care studies, at Ullern Upper Secondary School

To conclude, Vice Principle Eriksen would like to leave the school and her colleagues this message: that she will continue to observe and follow the thriving development taking place at Ullern Upper Secondary School.

– This is only the beginning!

 

ICCS 2014: Cutting-edge oncology innovations

International Cancer Cluster Showcase San Diego 2014

On June 22nd, one day prior to the BIO International Convention in San Diego, the International Cancer Cluster Showcase 2014 kicks off. The showcase is an opportunity to head-start the partnering at BIO 2014 and get the latest on what is going on in the cancer clusters of Oslo, Massachusetts, Quebec, Chicago, Toulouse, and the UK Golden Triangle.

For the 3rd time Oslo Cancer Cluster will present cutting edge innovations together with its international partners from North America and Europe. Oslo Cancer Cluster members selected to present at this year’s International Cancer Cluster Showcase (ICCS) are BerGenBio, PCI Biotech and Nextera.


ICCS – A winning concept

Previous ICCS-events have attracted 150 – 200 dedicated international oncology professionals. Positive feedback has encouraged Oslo Cancer Cluster and its international partners to continue with this meeting format. BerGenBio’s CEO Richard Godfrey says:

“The ICCS was a great start to BIO 2013, it was interesting to see the other cancer companies present and we made a few excellent contacts that otherwise we may not have connected with. I will certainly be present at ICCS 2014.”

This year two new partners, namely Cancer Campus from Villejuif and Stockholm-Uppsala Life Sciences are joining the ICCS and contribute to leverage the portfolio of oncology partnering opportunities. The International Cancer Cluster Showcase 2014 will be hosted at the San Diego Convention Centre, same site as the BIO 2014 will be hosted.

For information on presenting companies and registration, please see the ICCS conference website: www.internationalcancercluster.org.

 

BIO International Convention 23-26 June, 2014
Oslo Cancer Cluster will also be represented at the world’s largest biotech conference, BIO International Convention. This year the event is taking place on 23-26 June in San Diego, California at the San Diego Convention Center.

Oslo Cancer Cluster will share a centrally located booth with the other Nordic regions; Medicon Valley Alliance, Biopeople, Invest in Skåne and Copenhagen Capacity. All Oslo Cancer Cluster members may display material at the booth which will function as a central meeting place for the members, coordinated by the Oslo Cancer Cluster team.

Building strong international networks to stimulate collaboration, partnerships and thereby innovation for our members is a key strategic goal for Oslo Cancer Cluster. Read more here.

More information about BIO 2014 is found at convention.bio.org.

Excellent evaluation of Oslo Cancer Cluster

Tone Ikdahl at the Oslo University Hospital

The six year evaluation of Oslo Cancer Cluster as a Norwegian Centre of Expertise concludes that Oslo Cancer Cluster is a strong biotech cluster, well positioned within the global oncology industry. “This plays well with our ambition to take the step up a level and become a Global Centre of Excellence,” says Jónas Einarsson, acting CEO of Oslo Cancer Cluster.

The thorough evaluation report gives a comprehensive picture of the Oslo Cancer Cluster as of today; our projects and plans and also our achievements over the last three years since our first evaluation in 2010. Both evaluations have been done by Oxford Research.

Evaluation of Oslo Cancer Cluster NCE after 6 years.
Evaluation of Oslo Cancer Cluster NCE after 3 years.


Bottlenecks have been identified and reduced

“The evaluation points out that Oslo Cancer Cluster from 2010-2013 have managed to address the challenges for oncology R&D in Norway as well as the weaker points from the first evaluation. We have identified some crucial bottlenecks within clinical trials, and contributed to reduce the pre-clinical development time for oncology start-ups. We have also made it easier for SME`s to attract the capital they need to develop new oncology treatment. This I am very proud of”, says Jónas Einarsson, acting CEO of Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Einarsson continues: “All in all we have received an excellent evaluation. The evaluation concludes that we have untapped innovation potential, and that we need to address this issue in the years to come. This is totally in line with what we plan to do through the work with the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park and the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.”


Well positioned to become a Global Centre of Expertise

The public cluster program in Norway has until now included two levels; Arena and Norwegian Centre of Expertise. In 2014 a third and higher level, the Global Centre of Expertise (GCE) will be introduced. Only mature clusters with a global position will obtain the elite status as a GCE and probably only 4-5 clusters will be chosen.

“Oslo Cancer Cluster`s ambition is to become one of these 4-5 GCE-clusters. The evaluation shows that we are a global player in the oncology field, and that we have succeeded in establishing an extensive international network that exposes the members for the global oncology industry and secures that recourses like capital and competence are accessible,” says Einarsson.

Einarsson points out that the three years to come will take the cluster a giant step further on the global scale with a targeted focus on innovation: “In 2015 Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park opens and this will become a power centre for oncology R&D. The Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator will make sure that we have new commercialization’s from oncology research. These new start-ups will have better frame work conditions to succeed than ever before. Oslo Cancer Cluster has since the start managed to build a solid fundament. In many ways the cluster has just begun its work.”


Other conclusions from the evaluation:

  • Particularly strong topics within Oslo Cancer Cluster are personalised medicine and immuno-oncology. These are also the buzzwords on the global oncology scene, which makes the cluster well positioned and attractive as a collaborative partner.
  • The cluster have increased the number of members considerably and in parallel developed into a national cluster representing the entire oncology-value chain from bench to bedside.
  • There is now a considerably degree of trust between the members which is based on regular networking and collaboration across disciplines.
  • The strategy work performed during this three-year period have been of good quality and have been embedded in a god way.
  • The feedback from the members on the importance of Oslo Cancer Cluster for their company, institution is to some extent a bit weaker in 2013 than 2010. We take this very seriously and will take action and see how we may perform better here.