Debating the possibilities of a Norwegian health industry: Ketil Widerberg (Oslo Cancer Cluster), Kathrine Myhre (Norway Health Tech), Monica Larsen (LMI), Hans Eirik Melandsø (Innovation Norway) and Anne Kjersti Fahlvik (The Research Council of Norway).

Can Norway compete internationally on health?

Can Norway take a leading international position within the health industry? This was the main question for one of our discussions at Arendalsuka last week.

A report released in April this year shows a Norwegian health industry on the rise. However internationally, Norway is still comparatively small even compared to our Nordic neighbors.

SEE VIDEO FROM THE MEETING (Facebook, in Norwegian)

See our other events during Arendaluka:

  1. Fremtidens kreftbehandling i Arendal (In Norwegian)
  2. Tim: Pasienten som kommer hjem (In Norwegian)

Feasibility study
Oslo Cancer Cluster, Norway Health Tech, LMI, Innovation Norway and the The Research Council of Norway have, based on the ambition of creating a profitable health industry in Norway, conducted a feasibility study regarding the strategical positioning of the Norwegian health industry. 30 key position holders within the industry have contributed to the report, giving their views on how Norway can build a stronger health industry.

READ THE REPORT

The event in Arendal featured a a debate panel consisting of Ketil Widerberg from Oslo Cancer Cluster, Kathrine Myhre from Norway Health Tech, Monica Larsen from Legemiddelindustriforeningen, Hans Eirik Melandsø from Innovasjon Norge and Anne Kjersti Fahlvik from The Research Council of Norway.

Collaboration key
Collaboration between public institutions and the innovative private sector is important to create a health industry of some size, both according to the report published in April and the participants in the Arendal-panel. Oslo Cancer Cluster facilitates this kind of innovative public-private collaboration.

– We represent the whole value chain when it comes to cancer treatment and innovation. Research institutions, hospitals, as well as both small and large companies, Ketil Widerberg explained.

One example of how Oslo Cancer Cluster contributes to a functioning health industry is the new Car-T cancer treatment developed by Novartis. Important research and treatment conducted by the department of cell therapy at the Radium hospital is funded for clinical studies by the pharmaceutical company Novartis, the production is made possible by Norwegian innovations from Thermo Fischer, while the Norwegian Medicines Agency works hard securing international treatment approval.

– This type of collaboration saves lives while creating employment and income, said Widerberg.

Three ways to recreate success
The question is how do we recreate these type of success stories, and Widerberg emphasized three different aspects: More clinical studies, releasing the shackles on our health data and cultivating high-end research.

– Today, a successful Norwegian Centre of Excellence loses it’s funding after 10 years. If the research is a success, it should be doubled, he said.

The Norwegian health industry is growing. Can it also grow internationally? Photo: Shutterstock

New report on Norwegian health industry

Will the Norwegian health industry become a so-called growth industry? What kind of position can a Norwegian health industry claim internationally? 

These questions are at the core of a new report on the Norwegian health industry, published by Innovation Norway. According to Innovation Norway, health is one of six areas of opportunity for Norwegian export growth.

The Norwegian health industry is already increasing. It had a 57 billion NOK turnover last year, of which 23,6 billion in exports, mostly from companies producing in Norway.

New report out
Oslo Cancer Cluster, Norway Health Tech, Legemiddelindustriforeningen, Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Research Council have recently finished a feasibility study on the strategic position of a Norwegian health industry. 30 key position holders within the industry have contributed to the report, giving their views on how Norway can build a stronger health industry.

READ THE REPORT (in Norwegian)

Questions to be answered
How should we approach an expansion of the industry? What will become increasingly more important for this industry in the years to come? How should the public system contribute?

These questions will also appear in our meeting about the Norwegian health industry in Arendal, 16 August. Please join us in Arendal!

Previous reports
Menon Economics has previously published reports about the Norwegian health industry, commissioned by Oslo Cancer Cluster, Norway Health Tech, Legemiddelindustriforeningen, Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Research Council. Their latest report was published in April 2018. That report is available here (in Norwegian).

Meet Us at Arendalsuka

In mid-August Oslo Cancer Cluster travel to Arendal to put focus on cancer treatment and innovation.

Arendalsuka is a week of political discourse and interaction, and Oslo Cancer Cluster want to highlight several cancer related topics we find important. In total, we are hosting or co-hosting three different events!

On Wednesday August the 15th we are involved in two events. We start off early at Clarion Arendal by looking in to the glass bowl and predicting the future of cancer treatment. In the afternoon we discuss if digital technology can aid patients recovering from cancer treatment. Finally, on Thursday we ask: How can we promote the Norwegian Health Industry? What should we do and what should we avoid?

Browse our event in Norwegian.

Or better: Come and join us at Arendal!

Podcast host Silvija Seres and General Manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster Ketil Widerberg comparing nerdy glasses.

The Future Norway: Ketil Widerberg on Tech and Cancer

Our General Manager Ketil Widerberg visited the podcast People creating the future Norway (De som bygger det nye Norge) hosted by Silvija Seres and Oslo Business Forum.

Ketil and Silvija discussed important issues like: Is it possible to make cancer a chronic disease? And how do you really create medicine that is tailored for each individual? And many other important topics. Have a listen!

Listen to the podcast HERE (In Norwegian).

The Health Industry Is On the Rise

For the third year running, Menon Economics presented a report on “The Value of the Norwegian Health Industry”. The conclusion: Both the industry and exports are growing substantially. We see an increase in export income, research and innovation levels.

The report was launched at “Næringslivets Hus”, the home of NHO, and gathered a full house with people from the industry, public sector, press and the political sphere present.

Indications Verified: The health Industry is Growing
The report showed that export income is increasing and are estimated at 23.5 billion NOK, an estimate that is viewed as conservative. The report also finds an increase in private funds for research. In 2017, research and development funds originating from the private sector was in total 2.6 billion NOK.

In addition, the report notes an increase in start-up companies and innovation levels, but emphasizes a lack of available funds to realize projects in vulnerable phases.

The report’s main focus is the industry’s value contribution, which means contribution to BNP, jobs creation and tax income. However, in social economic terms, the report claims at present that as a benefit for society, the health industry is more important for the population and healthcare sector as a whole, rather than for economic growth alone.

Read the report. Download it here. (In Norwegian)

Can Help With White Paper
State Secretary Magnus Thue visited the launch of the report and talked about the upcoming White Paper on the Health Industry.

— Being healthy is a priced asset both for the individual and the society as a whole. This government prioritizes health and we want to create good working conditions for the industry.

And he added: – We will use this report as a backdrop when we are working on our White Paper.

We Have to Use Our Strengths
General Manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster Ketil Widerberg, is also happy for the report and that the health industry is on the rise.

— It means more and better treatment for people who need it!

However, he emphasized the importance of realizing that the health industry business is a global competition.

— This is an international competition and if we are to succeed, we have to succeed internationally! We need to use our strengths to position ourselves: That means putting our health data from our health registries to good use! This will prove beneficial both for industry and patient.

Behind the report is a consortium of contributors to the Norwegian Health Industry: NHO, Abelia, NHO Service, Oslo Cancer Cluster, Norwegian Smart Care Cluster, Inven2, The pharmaceutical Industry (LMI), Innovation Norway, The Norwegian Science Council, SIVA and Norway Health Tech.

Image: Shutterstock. Nard Schreurs, direktør e-helse i IKT Norge til venstre og Ketil Widerberg, daglig leder Oslo Cancer Cluster til høyre.

Kommentar: Jeg deler, altså arbeider jeg

Kommentaren stod på trykk i Finansavisen 26.02.2018 og er skrevet av Ketil Widerberg, leder i Oslo Cancer Cluster og Nard Schreurs, direktør e-helse i IKT-Norge.

Vi må snakke om hvordan vi skal forvalte våre helsedata før det er for sent.

På jobb får vi betalt for det vi deler og gir av tid, kreativitet eller kompetanse. Hva med alle data vi deler?

Da internettet og senere smarttelefonene kom, valgte de fleste å gi sine data gratis til tjenestetilbyderne i bytte mot nye tjenester. Google vet hva vi søker på. Selskapets søkealgoritmer er enestående og hjelper oss å finne frem i den uoverkommelige informasjonsjungelen. Google får mye data om oss, og det tjener de gode penger på. Det samme gjør Facebook, banker og butikker. De tjener gode penger på data som vi gir fra oss gratis.

Så langt har det vært forbrukerdata som vi selv velger å gi bort. Nå står vi foran en ny bølge digitalisering der helsedata slippes fri. Apper måler vårt blodtrykk og våre bevegelser. I Storbritannia har myndighetene frigitt tilgang til genetiske data fra en halv million mennesker. Formålet er å utvikle bedre tjenester og skaffe forskning som kan gi oss alle bedre helse.

Er “forbrukermodellen” der vi gir dataene gratis fra oss den beste måten å håndtere dette? Eller finnes det måter vi som innbyggere og som samfunn kan oppnå høyere verdiskaping og bedre helse?

Enkelt sagt er det tre modeller som utpeker seg. La oss presentere dem kort, uten å gå nærmere inn på viktige dimensjoner som personvern og samtykke.

Første modell er fri bruk av data, som i forbrukermodellen. Helsedata frigjøres for alle som ønsker å drive innovasjon, uansett hvor de kommer fra, og i utgangspunktet også uansett hvilket mål de måtte ha. Litt som vi har gjort med kart, GPS, eller værdata. Fordelen med denne modellen er innovasjon som bidrar til et bedre samfunn og økonomisk virksomhet. Vi gir fra oss data for å få bedre tjenester. Ulempen er at det ikke er gitt at verdiskapningen skjer i Norge eller at verdien tilfaller de som gir fra seg data.

Andre modell er å låse inn dataene og be om en gjenytelse for å få bruke dem. Det kan være penger, lisens eller krav at dataene er knyttet til norske virksomheter. Fordelen er at globale teknologi- og pharmaselskaper skal dele verdien våre helsedata representerer. Ulempen er at selv om det ikke er feil at man skal dele verdien, vil modellen i praksis sannsynligvis ikke fungere. Det er få eksempler der innelåste data økonomisk kan konkurrere med frie data.

I den tredje modellen fungerer data som arbeid. Fordelene ved en slik modell er mange. Når vi bruker vår tid, kreativitet eller kompetanse får vi betalt for det. Hvorfor skulle vi ikke få betalt når vi generer data? I et heldigitalisert samfunn, der dataene om oss og fra oss er sentrale verdier, er det unaturlig at de brukes uten at vi får en økonomisk ytelse for det. Som eksempel er det mulig å tenke at på en blockchain-basert plattform knyttes helsedata opp mot individuelle kontoer. Hver gang dataene brukes får vi en (mikro)betaling. Slik får både vi som individer og dermed også det norske samfunnet betalt for det.

Vi ser at det er en del ulemper med siste modellen også, og vi tror ikke at det er det endelige svaret. Det vil derimot være fornuftig å ta en bredere samfunnsdebatt om hvordan vi skal forvalte våre helsedata, hvem som skal eie dem, og hvordan de skal bidra til verdiskapning, før det er for sent.

 

Photocure Expansion Accepted by FDA

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Photocure recently announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has accepted an expansion of the bladder cancer detection system “Cysview”.

The FDA has accepted a supplemental New Drug Application (NDA) for “Cysview”. Photocure, the Norwegian company behind the drug-device system, has now been allowed to expand the system to include “Flexible Cystoscopes”, these are used in the ongoing surveillance of patients with bladder cancer. According to Photocure, this is the only combination of drug and device approved for the detection of bladder cancer.

How Cysview Detects Cancer
Cysview is a method of detecting bladder cancer using photodynamic technology and is the only FDA-approved product for use with blue light cystoscopy, where a device called a cystoscope is used to detect cancer inside the bladder.

Cysview is injected into the bladder through a catheter. It accumulates differentially in malignant cells. When illuminated with blue light from the cystoscope, the cancerous lesions fluoresce red, highlighting the malignant areas.

An important Tool
Bladder cancer is one of the most expensive cancers to manage, accounting for approximately 3.7 billion USD in direct costs each year in the US. Being able to expand “Cysview” with flexible Cystoscopes will substantially decrease costs and give patients a more effective treatment. Good news for both company and bladder cancer patients.

— This approval is an important milestone for Photocure. With 1.2 million surveillance cystoscopies performed annually in the U.S., this represents a significant opportunity for the company and allows us to bring solutions to current clinical challenges, says Kjetil Hestdal M.D. Ph.D., President and CEO, Photocure.

The expanded indication includes the combination of “Cysview” with the KARL STORZ PDD Flexible Blue Light Videoscope System. The approval also expands the indication for the current rigid setting by including the detection of the pre-cancer state carcinoma in situ (CIS) in patients, as well as the repeated use of Blue Light cystoscope with Cysview.

 

About Photocure:

Photocure, the world leader in photodynamic technology, is a Norwegian based specialty pharmaceutical company. Photocure develop and commercialize highly selective and effective solutions in several disease areas such as bladder cancer, HPV and precancerous lesions of the cervix and acne.

Their aim is to improve patient care and quality of life by making solutions based on Photocure Technology™ accessible to patients worldwide.

Photocure was founded by the Norwegian Radium Hospital in 1997. Today, the company, headquartered in Oslo, Norway, has over 60 highly skilled employees and operates in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the United States.

Fremtidens kreftbehandling – ta med egne data!

Les kronikken, fra 21.12. 2017 i Aftenposten, om hvordan vi bør forme våre nye sykehusbygg av Ketil Widerberg.

Den nye klinikken på Radiumhospitalet må ta helsedatarevolusjonen på alvor.

Radiumhospitalet ved Oslo universitetssykehus får nytt klinikkbygg. En god nyhet for kreftpasienter, som blir enda bedre hvis pasientene selv får bidra med data om egen helse.

Et nytt sykehus må bygges slik at data enkelt kan samles inn og hjelpe pasientene.

La også appene fortelle
Hva er så helsedata? Se for deg en lege med stetoskop rundt halsen. Leger har i «alle år» brukt stetoskopet til å registrere informasjon fra kroppens indre; høre om hjerterytmen er normal eller om lungene surkler. Stetoskopet samler helsedata og hjelper frem riktig diagnose ved å innhente skjult informasjon.

I dag har vi heldigvis enda flere hjelpemidler til å samle inn helsedata.

Og Helse-Norge samler inn data som aldri før. Informasjon kan komme fra analyse av blod og spyttprøver eller undersøkelser som EKG, MR og CT. Forkortelsene er mange, instrumentene enda flere.

Prøver, testing og overvåking gjennomføres i økende grad av digitale verktøy. Dette gir behov for nye effektive møteplasser. Digitale møteplasser der flere typer kreftleger kan møtes for å diskutere behandlingen av en pasient uten å møte opp fysisk. Digital infrastruktur vil kunne effektivisere og forbedre hverdagen til våre kreftspesialister betydelig.

Det pasienten selv forteller, er mange ganger også uvurderlig for å fastslå diagnose og behandling. I dag registreres presis informasjon om vår hverdag på ulike private apper via mobiltelefoner. Helsepersonell får dermed vite mye mer om pasienten og kan legge til rette for bedre pasientoppfølging og behandling.

Data-arkitektur
Hvordan helsedata samles inn og tas i bruk må endres!

Det tas millioner av blodprøver på et sykehus, og god sykehusarkitektur kan bidra til bedre innsamling av blodprøver og biologisk materiale. Mange tradisjonelle sykehusprosesser er allerede automatisert, og sykehusarkitekter må ta hensyn til hvordan slik ny teknologi endrer arbeidsflyt og behov.

Vi har allerede nødvendig teknologi for digital rapportering, vi må bare ta den i bruk

Og videre, hvordan skal dataene kategoriseres og lagres? I dag registreres ofte samme data manuelt av lege og sykepleier flere ganger. Dette er frustrerende for pasienter og helsepersonell, i tillegg til at det kan være utfordrende for konfidensialitet, kvalitet og tilgjengelighet.

Slik trenger det ikke være. Vi har allerede nødvendig teknologi for digital rapportering, vi må bare ta den i bruk. Helsedata vil også hjelpe sykehuslogistikken. Innfører vi elektronisk sporing av pasienter, kan vi se hvor pasienter, utstyr og personell er til enhver tid. Det vil forenkle behandlingsplanlegging og forhindre mye unødig løping i gangene.

Ikke skuff statsministeren!
Sykehus i Norge fungerer godt, men den nye klinikken må ta helsedatarevolusjonen på alvor. Det lar seg gjøre. Og Erna Solberg er enig. På IBM-konferansen i november sa hun: «Pasientdata skal gå fra lagrede data til aktivt å benyttes som beslutningsstøtte.» Til alle beslutningstagere: Ikke skuff statsministeren! Bygg et bygg som utnytter helsedata best mulig. Pasientene vil takke dere.

Her finner du artikkelen på Aftenposten sine egne sider.

Breakthrough Agreement for Phoenix Solutions

A new exciting collaboration among two Oslo Cancer Cluster members has been initiated. GE Healthcare has agreed to be the manufacturer of the target drug delivery platform ACT, made by Phoenix Solutions.

Early Christmas Present
As an early Christmas present to each other the two companies announced that they had signed an agreement securing manufacturing for ACT, short for Acoustic Cluster Therapy, a technology platform for targeted drug delivery. CEO at Phoenix Solutions, Per Sontum, emphasized the importance of gaining a manufacturer that had experience with similar products.

“We are excited to sign this agreement and get GE on board as contract manufacturer of our product. With more than 20 years of experience producing Sonazoid and Optison, GE`s Oslo organization is the world leading site for the manufacturing of this class of pharmaceuticals.”

From GE`s Womb
The collaboration, however, is not totally out of the blue. Phoenix Solutions sprung out from GE Healthcare in 2013. GE`s General Manager for Norway, Bjørn Fuglaas believes this tie between the two companies is an advantage:

“We are very pleased that Phoenix has chosen to work with GE for this project, which is in line with the expectations we had when the company was spun out of GE in 2013. This is an area of interest and we believe GE to be uniquely positioned in this field given existing and strong capabilities within production of disperse pharmaceuticals, and microbubbles in particular”, he says.

This agreement also secures what is called Good manufacturing practice (GMP) for Phoenix Solutions. Making their product and company a safer potential for investors and further along in their development than time should suggest.

A Very Promising ACT
ACT is a special and interesting targeting device. It is an ultrasound mediated drug delivery system that specializes in beating the vascular barrier. It has a wide range of therapeutically useful applications, but Its primary use being the ability to deliver sufficiently high concentrations of drug to the tumor without contaminating its surroundings. Phoenix thinks ACT is a promising targeting system for pancreatic, liver, triple negative breast and prostate cancers, and has extremely promising pre-clinical results so far.

Oncoinvent With New Lab and Bright Future

The cancer research company and Oslo Cancer Cluster-member Oncoinvent opened this Thursday a brand-new lab and research facilities at Nydalen Oslo. Now they control the whole production line and continue their development of their lead product candidate Radspherin.

A Good Year
2017 has been a good year for Oncoinvent. The company has now relocated and built new office and laboratory facilities, grown from four to twelve employees, and raised new capital. CEO at Oncoinvent Jan A. Alfheim believes that this represents a significant milestone for the company and will enable the company to further develop Radspherin®, a novel alpha-emitting radioactive microparticle designed for treatment of metastatic cancers in body cavities.

And Oncoinvent ends the year in fashion by opening brand new laboratory and research facilities. A lot of interested people came to tour the new facilities, observing an impressive lab with special infrastructure. Treating radioactivity, and circulating air in a facility that treats radioactive materials, calls for an extra advanced ventilation system.

Lab With all the Facilities
The idea of the new research facility is to be able to contain the whole production line, from research to drug manufacturing, to one location. All this contained in an area of 581 m2.

Creating a modern lab with the capabilities to treat radioactive materials in an active and well populated part of Oslo demands very strict guidelines. The production suites in the facility are constructed to be qualified for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) for production of Medical Product Candidates. Systems for purifying and monitoring of air and water quality as well as the removal of any potential radioactivity have been installed to ensure the safety of the operators, population and the environment.

The Production and Research areas of the laboratory will facilitate both the development of the Radspherin program and other discovery projects of the Company.

A Weapon for Precision Medicine
Radspherin® has been shown to cause a significant reduction in tumor cell growth an it is anticipated that the product can potentially treat several forms of metastatic cancer. Oncoinvent is developing Radspherin® as a ready-to-use injectable product that seeks out cancer tumors and destroys them from inside by emitting its radioactive content.

The first clinical indication for Radspherin® will be treatment of peritoneal carcinomatosis, a rare type of cancer that occurs in the peritoneum, the thin layer of tissue that covers abdominal organs and surrounds the abdominal cavity. Additionally, Oncoinvent has lined up a collaboration with European and American clinical research centers for the clinical development Radspherin®.