Nobel Laureate Dr James Allison and oncologist Dr Padmanee Sharma will become Strategic Advisors for our member, the Oslo-based biotech company Lytix Biopharma. Photo: Shutterstock

Nobel Prize winner joins Lytix Biopharma

Dr James Allison, Dr Padmanee Sharma

The Nobel Laureate Dr James Allison and oncologist Dr Padmanee Sharma will become strategic advisors for our member Lytix BioPharma.

Oslo Cancer Cluster’s member Lytix BioPharma announced this week that the cancer researchers and married couple Dr James Allison (PhD) and Dr Padmanee Sharma (MD) will join their Scientific Advisory Board.

Dr James Allison was, together with Dr Tasuku Honjo, awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine last December. The renowned cancer researchers received the award for their ground-breaking work in immunology. It has become the basis for different immunotherapies, an area within cancer therapy that aims to activate the patient’s immune system to fight cancer.

Dr Sharma is a distinguished oncologist, who has focused her work on understanding different resistant mechanisms in the immune system. These resistant mechanisms sometimes hinder immunotherapies from working on every cancer tumour and every cancer patient.

Lytix Biopharma is a biotech company, located in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, that develops novel cancer immunotherapies. They are making an “oncolyctic peptide” – a drug with the potential to personalize every immunotherapy to fit each patient.

  • Please visit Lytix BioPharma’s official website for more information about their product

Edwin Clumper, CEO of Lytix BioPharma, expressed how thrilled he was to welcome Dr Allison and Dr Sharma:

“We are honoured that they have offered their support to further the development of our oncolytic peptides with the aim to tackle tumour heterogeneity – an unresolved challenge in cancer treatment.”

Ultimovacs enters the Oslo Stock Exchange

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Ultimovacs, a Norwegian cancer vaccine company, has raised NOK 370 million and entered the Oslo Stock Exchange on Monday 3 June 2019.

There was a stir of interest among both national and international investors when Ultimovacs announced they will enter the Oslo Stock Exchange. Several interested parties have now become shareholders in the company, totalling approximately 1 500 shareholders.

“It is good for the Norwegian health industry and for Ultimovacs when national and international investors show the company this kind of trust. In today’s uncertain market, it is especially nice with such a large interest, from both international investors and small savers. I look forward to following the company further,” says Jonas Einarsson, Chairman of the Board in Ultimovacs and Managing Director in Radforsk.

The funds that Ultimovacs has raised will go to financing the development of their universal cancer vaccine, UV1. A large clinical study will document the effect of the vaccine. UV1 will be combined with other immunotherapies in patients with malignant melanoma (a type of skin cancer) at around 30 hospitals in Norway, Europe, USA and Australia.

Ultimovacs has already run two successful clinical trials of the vaccine on patients with lung cancer, prostate cancer and malignant melanoma.

“The cancer vaccine has shown promise in the studies we have conducted at the Norwegian Radium Hospital. Based on the results, we have established a development programme to document that our vaccine has effect on cancer patients. I am very happy that we now have entered the Oslo Stock Exchange. It means that the practical conditions are in place to put our development programme into action,” said Øyvind Kongstun Arnesen, Chief Executive Officer in Ultimovacs.

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Photo: Nordic Nanovector

A successful first quarter for Nordic Nanovector

Nordic Nanovector raises NOK 225 million in private placements, begins phase II clinical trials in 74 sites in 23 countries and prepares to commercialize the company. These were some of the good news presented in the first quarter 2019 report.

Oslo Cancer Cluster’s member company Nordic Nanovector develops precision medicine against haematological cancers. These are the types of cancers affecting blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes – also known as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. These cancers are notoriously difficult to treat and therefore have a highly unmet medical need.

On the morning of 23 May 2019, the CEO of Nordic Nanovector, Eduardo Bravo, presented some of the successes the company has had during the first quarter of 2019.

“As we advance the clinical development programmes with Betalutin, including PARADIGME, we are also beginning to initiate some of the other pre-commercialisation activities, such as manufacturing, that are crucial to ensure that we can submit our regulatory filing in a timely and efficient manner.”

The company’s highlights from the first quarter included raising approximately NOK 225 million in private placements.

They have also extended their clinical trials, known as the PARADIGME study, which address advanced, recurring follicular lymphoma. They now have phase II clinical trials in over 74 sites in 23 countries.

During the first quarter, Nordic Nanovector has also welcomed a new chairman to the Board of Directors – Jan H. Egberts, M.D. He is also the chairperson of the Board of Directors of Oslo Cancer Cluster member Photocure.

Lastly, Dr Mark Wright has been appointed Head of Manufacturing to lead the production of Nordic Nanovector’s therapies. This prepares Nordic Nanovector for future commercialisation and will hopefully lead to more precise treatments successfully reaching cancer patients.

 

Biobank Norway coordinates Norwegian biobanks with the health industry to ensure that the valuable biosamples are used to develop new, breakthrough treatments.

How will biobanks accelerate cancer research?

Biobanks ­– the powerful tools in cancer research you may have never heard of.

 

Biobank Norway is a national research infrastructure that comprises all public biobanks in Norway and represents one of the world’s largest existing resources within biobanking. They are also a member of Oslo Cancer Cluster, through NTNU, and represent an exciting initiative in the endeavour to develop precision medicine.

 

A biobank is a storage facility that keeps biological samples to be used for medical research. The samples come from population-based or clinical studies.

 

Christian Jonasson, seniorforsker ved NTNU.

Christian Jonasson, seniorforsker ved NTNU.

Christian Jonasson, the Industry Coordinator for Biobank Norway, connects businesses with Norwegian biobanks to accelerate medical research. He said that more biobanks now work with the health industry and benefit from added value in the process.

“It is the health industry that will ultimately bring new therapies to patients.”
Christian Jonasson

Biobank Norway has developed several strategic areas for Norwegian biobanks. They have built automated freezers for secure long-term storage, with advanced robotised systems that can retrieve barcoded biological samples. They have initiated new biobanks, established new IT systems and also developed policies for public-private collaborations. Also, they have contributed to strategic processes that promote increased utilization of Norwegian health data, including the national Health Data Program.

Ultimately, Biobank Norway aims to facilitate collaborations between the global health industry and Norwegian biobanks to accelerate innovation in the life sciences, disease prevention and treatment.

“Biobanks are one of the most important tools in precision medicine.” Christian Jonasson

 

Biosamples may be used for important, life-saving cancer research. For example, to develop new immunotherapies, such as T cell therapy. Photograph by Christopher Olssøn

 

A competitive edge

Norway has been collecting biological samples for the last 30-40 years. For example, one of the world’s largest birth cohort studies, the Mother and Child study (called MoBa) was initiated in 1999. It included 100 000 newborns with mother and father, which totalled over 285 000 participants over a ten-year period. There are numerous other Norwegian health studies, which have involved hundreds of thousands of people, such as the HUNT study and the Tromsø study.

Moreover, the Norwegian Radium Hospital have collected countless valuable samples from cancer patients over the years from both regular clinical care and from clinical research studies. Hospitals across Norway also continually collect and save diagnostic samples, which may be used for medical research at a later stage.

The number of biobanks and the rigorous collection of clinical data in health registers in Norway represent unique assets for medical researchers.

“Norway has a competitive edge on its health data infrastructure.” Christian Jonasson

 

Sharing the data

However, Jonasson also points out that the health registers in Norway are too fragmented. To combat the problem, Biobank Norway are helping the Norwegian Directorate of eHealth to develop a Health Data Program. The digital platform, called the Health Analytics Platform (HAP), will collate copies of relevant data from the various health registers, providing a single point of easy access for researchers.

Biobank Norway also has a long-term vision to collect all biobank data and health data in a common platform. This is a necessary step to unleash a larger national precision medicine initiative. First, they want to organise the data from the four largest population-based cohort studies in one place. In a couple of years, this database would hopefully include 400 000 people, which is a very attractive cohort for medical research.

“We need to attract leading actors from the international health industry and Norwegian start-ups in real collaborations with biobanks.” Christian Jonasson

Important medical research is already being conducted in biobanks across Norway. Jonasson said that there now needs to be a plan to market Norwegian health data and biobanks internationally to spur innovation further.

 

Biosamples are also used for sequencing of the human genome, to develop more precise diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

 

The hidden key

To unlock the potential of biobanks, the biological samples need to be analysed and converted into meaningful data, which can be an expensive and laborious process.

Finland, for example, has begun to collect biological samples from 500 000 individuals. One single database holds all phenotypic data, such as diagnosis and treatment, and all genotypic data, which is the mapping of the human genome.

In the UK, there is the Genomics Project, which has already sequenced the DNA (the coded parts of the human genome) of 100 000 patients. The UK Biobank are aiming to sequence the DNA of half a million brits.

Jonasson hopes that such ambitious initiatives will be imported to Norway to build the biobank infrastructure further and provide meaningful data for medical research. He adds that public-private collaborations will be key to drive and fund such large scale initiatives.

Biobank Norway is currently in the process of extending into its third phase and aims to continue to improve the biobanks, the partner institutions and global research collaborations in the future.

 

  • Do you need help with your research and innovation project using biobanks in Norway?
    E-mail Christian Jonasson.
  • For more information, please visit the official website of BioBank Norway.

 

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Anette Weyergang demonstrated the PCI technology to the Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg during her visit to Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park.

Radforsk to invest NOK 4.5 million in cancer research

Radforsk, the Radium Hospital Research Foundation, a partner of Oslo Cancer Cluster, is awarding several million Norwegian kroner to new research that fights cancer with light.

Radforsk is an evergreen investor focusing on companies that develop cancer treatment. Since its inception in 1986, Radforsk has allocated NOK 200 million of its profit back into cancer research at Oslo University Hospital. This year, four researchers will be awarded a total of NOK 4.5 million. One of them is Anette Weyergang, who will receive NOK 3.75 million over a three-year period.

“I’m so happy for this grant. As researchers, we have to find funding for our own projects. I didn’t have any funding for the project I have now applied and been granted funds for,” says Anette Weyergang.

Anette Weyergang is one of the researchers who has received funding from Radforsk.

Anette Weyergang is a project group manager and senior researcher in a research group led by Kristian Berg. The group conducts research in the field of photodynamic therapy (PDT) and photochemical internalisation (PCI). Radforsk’s portfolio company and Oslo Cancer Cluster member PCI Biotech is based on this group’s research.

What is PDT / PCI? Cancer research in the field of photodynamic therapy and photochemical internalisation studies the use of light in direct cancer treatment in combination with drugs, or to deliver drugs that can treat cancer cells or organs affected by cancer.

 

Weyergang is the first researcher ever to receive several million kroner over the course of several years from Radforsk.

“We have donated a total of NOK 200 million to cancer research at Oslo University Hospital, of which NOK 25 million have gone to research in PDT/PCI. We have previously awarded smaller amounts to several researchers, but we now want to use some of our funds to focus on projects we believe in,” says Jónas Einarsson, CEO of Radforsk.

By the deadline on 15 February 2019, Radforsk received a total of eight applications, which were then assessed by external experts.

 

The new research focuses on how to use light to release the cancer drugs more efficiently inside the cancer cells.

 

New use of PCI technology

PCI is a technology for delivering drugs and other molecules into the cancer cells and then releasing them by means of light. This allows for a targeted cancer treatment with fewer side effects for patients.

Weyergang will use the funds from Radforsk to research whether PCI technology can be used to make targeted cancer treatment even more precise.

“The project aims to find a method for delivering antibodies to cancer cells using PCI technology. This has never been done before, and if we succeed, it can open up brand new possibilities for using this technology,” says Weyergang.

Initially, she will focus on glioblastoma, which is the most serious form of brain cancer. Glioblastoma is resistant to both chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and has a very high mortality rate.

“This is translational research, so human trials are still a long way off. We will now use both glioblastoma cell lines and animal experimentation to test our hypothesis. We do this to establish what is called a “proof of concept”, which we need to move on to clinical testing,” says Weyergang.

 

The other researchers who have received funding for PDT/PCI research from Radforsk in 2019 are:

  • Kristian Berg and Henry Hirschberg Beckman: NOK 207,500
  • Qian Peng: NOK 300,000
  • Mpuldy Sioud: NOK 300,000

 

What is Radforsk?

  • Since its formation in 1986, Radforsk has generated NOK 600 million in fund assets and channelled NOK 200 million to cancer research, based on a loan of NOK 1 million in equity back in 1986.
  • During this period, NOK 200 million have found its way back to the researchers whose ideas Radforsk has helped to commercialise.
  • NOK 25 million have gone to research in photodynamic therapy (PDT) and photochemical internalisation (PCI). In total, NOK 40 million will be awarded to this research.

 

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Supporting cancer research with IP rights

Why are legal services an important part of Oslo Cancer Cluster? We asked Andrew Wright from Potter Clarkson to explain why they became a member.

 

Oslo Cancer Cluster helps to connect start ups and entrepreneurs in the cancer field to the legal service providers they need. There are many reasons why a law firm specialising in intellectual property (IP) rights is an important part of a cancer cluster. IP rights play an essential role in securing protection, and developing the value, in an idea or invention.

Andrew Wright, a partner in the law firm Potter Clarkson, member of Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Andrew Wright, a partner in Potter Clarkson, explained why they became a member of Oslo Cancer Cluster:

“We have, for a long time, recognised the important developments in the field of oncology being pursued by members of the Oslo Cancer Cluster.

“This is an exciting time to be involved with Oslo Cancer Cluster, and Potter Clarkson thrives on opportunities to interact, and collaborate, with scientists and innovative companies that have ground-breaking ideas and an enterprising outlook.”

 

Why IP protection?

– To build value to attract investors and support ongoing development;

– To realise value in an invention by out-licencing to a commercial partner, in order to generate a funding stream; and/or

– To create exclusivity for the next stage of your commercial plans.

Source: Potter Clarkson

 

Supporting growth

A law firm with experts in IP rights can support innovators and entrepreneurs. They can provide guidance and assistance when seeking to obtain protection for new ideas, developments and inventions.

“Strong protection through relevant IP rights can be critical to the success of any start up or developing business. We believe that there is the potential for outstanding synergy between the needs of the members of Oslo Cancer Cluster and the support that Potter Clarkson offers.” Andrew Wright, Potter Clarkson

 

Building value

Early-stage companies in the cancer field often face great challenges when commercialising their products. Their ideas may only exist on a conceptual level or their products may be at a pre-clinical stage. It can take a company many years to bring a product to market, after developing their technologies and seeking the necessary approvals. It is critical that these companies can fund the ongoing development during this period.

“The decision of whether or not to invest, and the scale of any investment, will typically be based on how well the technologies that form the core of a company have been protected by suitable IP rights.” Andrew Wright, Potter Clarkson

 

Patent protected

Patents are often the main form of IP right. The objective of a patent application is typically to obtain protection for the general concept that underlies an invention, to provide a legally-enforceable right that can prevent competitors either from copying the invention itself, or from launching a closely-related equivalent based on the same concept.

Strong patent rights can provide companies with the ability to control the future commercialisation of their inventions. An owner of patent rights can also negotiate with other companies for licensed access to their invention, whether they want to commercialise it directly or develop it towards a collaborative product.

Entrepreneurs or start ups can apply for patents themselves through the European Patent Office, but it is often a complicated process. Therefore, it may be a good idea to get some advice from a patent professional.

 “Having patent protection, or the opportunity to obtain patent protection, provides strong and commercially-relevant coverage for the core technology of the company and being able to present a plan for generating and supporting future IP, can be key to the success of a Lifescience start up.” Andrew Wright, Potter Clarkson

 

Biotech meets law

All the patent professionals at Potter Clarkson hold degrees in scientific subjects, for example in biotechnology or pharmaceuticals. Their professionals often work across disciplines, which is good as Iinovations do not always fit ‘neatly’ into only a single field of technology.  For example, computer-implemented inventions are increasingly used in the field of therapies and diagnostics, and medical devices become ever more important in the delivery of therapies. In this case, the patent professional needs the experience to work across such inter-disciplinary fields.

“We pride ourselves on being technically knowledgeable, on having the ability to quickly immerse ourselves in your specialist area of science, to rapidly understand your invention, and to ask the right questions.” Andrew Wright, Potter Clarkson

 

For more information about the members of Oslo Cancer Cluster that offer legal services or advice on IP rights, please visit their official websites:

 

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Encouraging news from BerGenBio

A second group of patients have been added to an ongoing phase II clinical study of a drug combination to treat lung cancer.

 

The ongoing trial is a collaborative effort between two members of Oslo Cancer Cluster: Norwegian biopharmaceutical company BerGenBio and US-based pharmaceutical company Merck (known as MSD in Europe). It involves an kinase inhibitor called bemcentinib, developed by BerGenBio, in combination with an immunotherapy drug called Keytruda (also known as pembrolizumab) from MSD.

 

“Throughout 2018, we reported encouraging updates from our ongoing proof-of-concept phase II clinical trial assessing bemcentinib in combination with Keytruda in advanced lung cancer patients post chemotherapy.”
Richard Godfrey, Chief Executive Officer, BerGenBio

 

The second group will involve patients that have been treated with immunotherapy before, but that have experienced a progression of the disease. There are various treatments available for patients with non-small cell lung cancer, but patients often acquire resistance to treatment. New treatments that can overcome these resistance mechanisms are therefore urgently needed.

 

“I am pleased that we are now extending the ongoing trial to test our hypothesis also in patients showing disease progression on checkpoint inhibitors.”
Richard Godfrey, Chief Executive Officer, BerGenBio

 

The aim is to evaluate the anti-tumour activity of this new drug combination. Preliminary results from the second patient group of the study are expected later this year. BerGenBio is in parallel also developing diagnostic tools to see which patients are most likely to benefit from their drug.

 

The decision to extend the trial was based on new positive results from pre-clinical studies, which were presented at the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR) earlier this week. The results open for the possibility to use bemcentinib both as a monotherapy and in combination with other cancer treatments on a broad spectrum of cancers.

 

 

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200 EUR discount for OCC members: BIOEurope Spring® 2017

BIOEurope Spring 2017 — 11 th International Partnering Conference
Where the global biotech industry comes to partner

BIOEurope Spring is the springtime counterpart to EBD Group’s flagship conference, BIOEurope , and continues the tradition of providing life science companies with high caliber partnering opportunities. Featuring EBD Group’s sophisticated, webbased partnering system, partneringONE ® , the event enables delegates to efficiently identify, meet and get partnerships started with companies across the life science value chain, from large biotech and pharma companies to financiers and innovative startups.

Venue:
CCIB Convention Centre
Willy Brandt Square 1114
08019 Barcelona, Spain

Date: March 20–22, 2017

Website: https://ebdgroup.knect365.com/bioeurope-spring/

The members of the Oslo Cancer Cluster have the opportunity to obtain 200 EUR discount on the registration fee. To receive the discount code, please contact Jutta Heix (or) Gupta Udatha.

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20% discount for OCC members: NORDIC PRECISION MEDICINE FORUM 2017

The Nordic Countries represent a unique opportunity when it comes to healthcare; boasting a wealth of data, some of the most advanced HealthTech, and being host to world leading biotech and pharma companies and universities. As such it is little surprise that the precision medicine revolution is creating such a buzz; disruptive technology, a strong economic setting and decades of social and health data collection are coming together to create the perfect storm for the future of healthcare in the region.

It is widely accepted that for the promise of precision medicine to become a reality we must work together; sharing data and research via a multi-disciplinary approach as well as cross border collaboration.

Nordic Precision Medicine Forum will bring together those at the very forefront of precision medicine from biologists, physicians and technology developers to data scientists, patient groups, governments and more. We hope you can join the forum in Copenhagen on 26 April 2017.

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The members of the Oslo Cancer Cluster have the opportunity to obtain 20% discount on the registration fee. To receive the discount code, please contact Jutta Heix (or) Gupta Udatha.

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Career Day RealKarriere at UiO in February 2017

RealKarriere is the Career Day for the The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at University in Oslo. In 2017 the Career day will be arranged on February 9th 2017. Find more information below in Norwegian or reach out to Oda Felix Sønslien  for more info or info in English.

 

RealKarriere er en nettverksdag for det Matematisk-Naturvitenskapelige fakultet ved Universitet i Oslo. Målet med dagen er å øke kontakten mellom arbeidslivet og fremtidens talenter innen teknologi- og realfag.

Bak denne dagen sitter en arbeidsgruppe bestående av studenter innen ulike fagområder og ansatte ved Universitetet. Målgruppa er hele det Matematisk-Naturvitenskapelige fakultet som består av studieprogram som dekker det meste av teknologi-og realfag. Dette er altså en flott mulighet for profilering av dere som bedrift, og til å plukke opp de dyktigste studentene! For mer informasjon se nettsiden.

 

Profileringsmuligheter

  • 2 minutters presentasjon for studentene på start av dagen (GRATIS)
  • Temapresentasjon på 20 minutter (5000,-)
  • Speed-intervju (3000,-)
  • Stor stand, 3 meter (10.000,-)
  • Liten stand, 2 meter (6000,-)
  • Snapchat og instagram “take over” (1000,-)

Prisene er eksl. Moms og inkluderer matservering samt eget pauserom for bedriftene.

Alle bedrifter som melder seg på vil få tilbud om en 2 minutters presentasjon på starten av dagen, dette vil hjelpe dere å hente relevante studenter til deres stand. Vi tilbyr også større presentasjoner på 20 minutter; her vil dere kunne velge et tema som vi vil profilere ekstra på sosiale medier opp i mot dagen.

Dere kan velge å ta over vår Snapchat og Instagram konto for en dag, der dere for eksempel kan vise frem en arbeidsdag hos deres bedrift.

Dere kan også velge å kjøre et speed-intervju, hvor dere selv plukker ut kandidatene dere ønsker å intervjue.

Påmeldingsskjema finner dere.
Kontakt:
Oda Felix Sønslien // E-mail: odafs1993@gmail.com //Mobile: 90109590