NLSDAYS-ECCP 2014: Present your oncology innovation

Present your oncology innovation to the global life science industry at the largest partnering conference in the Nordics – Nordic Life Science Days featuring the 6th European Cancer Cluster Partnering (ECCP). Please note that application deadline is May 19th. 12 innovation projects will be selected to present a pitch.

ECCP and the Nordic Life Science Days features a special Oncology Track during the conference that takes place in Stockholm September 7-9 2014. NORTTH – The Nordic Tech Transfer Network/Health and the organizers invite researchers and oncology start-ups to apply to present their pre-commercial cancer projects to pharma industry and potential investors at the conference.

Great opportunity for oncology start-ups
12 pre-commercial cancer research projects will be selected by a review group consisting of oncology experts and technology transfer office representatives. Organizer Olav Steinnes from the largest Norwegian Tech-Transfer Office, Inven2, says: “This is a great opportunity for start-ups to promote their project, to receive feedback from the audience that can direct the research in the right commercial direction, and last but not least to connect to the key people. This event is above all a unique chance for investors to find the licensing opportunities of tomorrow.”

Criteria to be met:

  • Oncology related project (Rx or Dx)
  • Research conducted at a Nordic academic institution
  • Proof of principle demonstrated
  • Ambition to create a start-up or license out within the next 1-2 years

The application should be a maximum 2 page synopsis covering a short description of the technology and IPR situation, development status and planned project milestones over the next 2 years, description of product, intended use and target market.

Submit your application by May 19th, 2014 to olav.steinnes@inven2.com. Questions regarding the application may be directed to Olav Steinnes on Mobile +47 900 51 219 or E-mail: olav.steinnes@inven2.com.

Reduced rate
For registration and information about the NLSDays – ECCP 2014 please see www.nlsdays.se.
Oslo Cancer Cluster members receive a reduced special offer to participate – read more on this here.

Positive results on bile duct cancer from PCI Biotech

The PCI Biotech stock went straight up on the Norwegian Stock Exchange after successful results from the first dose cohort in the phase I/II study of Amphinex in combination with the cytotoxic agent gemcitabine in patients with inoperable bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma). No safety concerns were observed at this dose level.

PCI Biotech have previously shown promising results from phase I/II on head- and neck cancer using the same technology as in this phase I study on bile duct cancer, where the three first patients now has been treated.

Targeted therapy
The PCI-technology was developed at the Norwegian Radium Hospital in the nineties, and is a targeted therapy using light to enhance the effect of existing drugs. PCI is an abbreviation for photochemical internalisation and refers to the process of using light to destabilize the cell membrane of the cancer cells in order to deliver the cancer drug effectively.

Bile duct cancer is rare, but extremely severe. PCI Biotech have chosen bile duct cancer due to a clear medical need for a better local treatment, access with light is easy by using already established treatment procedures and one of the most used cytotoxic agents, gemcitabine, is one of the drugs that is significantly enhanced by PCI in preclinical studies.

Please read the press release here.

The PCI technology
Photochemical internalisation (PCI) technology is a technology for light-directed drug delivery, used to enhance the effect of drugs by targeted illumination of the diseased areas of the body.

About PCI Biotech
PCI Biotech has been listed on Oslo Stock Exchange since 2008. The company is offering effective local treatment solutions in cancer through its proprietary photochemical internalisation (PCI) technology. PCI Biotech’s lead photosensitiser Amphinex® is in Phase II clinical development in head and neck cancer in combination with the cytotoxic bleomycin and in Phase I/II clinical development in bile duct cancer in combination with gemcitabine. Read more on PCI Biotech’s website

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.

“Helsemyggordningen” proposed for the Norwegian Parliament

The liberal party Venstre have proposed the implementation of the “Helsemyggordningen,” a financial mechanism for stimulation of health innovation, for the Norwegian Parliament. The proposal have been designated to the The Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs in the Parliament.

“Helsemyggordningen” was raised for the Norwegian Parliament on March 19th as a so-called Document 8-proposal. The “Helsemyggordningen” is inspired by a similar and highly successful mechanism to stimulate innovation in the oil and gas sector, named “oljemyggordningen” – hence the name.

Joint cluster proposal
Oslo Cancer Cluster, Oslo Medtech and Nansen Neuroscience Network proposed the “Helsemyggordningen” jointly at a meeting in December 2013, were a report from Menon Buiness Economics analysing the effect of the instrument was made public. The report concludes that this is a scheme that may be implemented in a simple way, and may be very effective in stimulating health innovations.

The three clusters are all very pleased that the liberal party Venstre have lifted the initiative politically.

Read the Document 8-proposal from Venstre here.
Read the report of “Helsemyggordningen” from Menon Business Economics here.

The Radium Hospital Foundation support the R&D Network Meetings 2014

Illustration photo meeting

The Radium Hospital Foundation (Radiumhospitalets Legater) will support the Oslo Cancer Clusters R&D Network Meetings 2014, and collaborate closely with the cluster on developing these meetings.

Oslo Cancer Clusters R&D Network Meetings are the backbone of the clusters strategic goal to stimulate collaborations and partnership by further develop strong national and international networks.

Important for partnering and innovation
The R&D Network Meetings target the members and collaborators of the cluster and is usually held five to six times annually. Each R&D Network Meeting is focused on a specific oncology theme, featuring speakers and angles from basic research to pharma, encouraging interdiciplinary and multi-diciplinary comptence development and partnering.

“The R&D Network Meetings contribute to important networking for the researchers at the Radium Hospital. In addition it gives the participants the opportunity to keep up to date in the ever changing field of cancer research,” says Karl-Erik Giercksky, Clinical Advisor at the Radium Hospital Foundation.

Ketil Widerberg, General Manager of the Oslo Cancer Cluster is very grateful for the support: “The contribution from the Radium Hospital Foundation to our R&D Network Meetings is very important and will contribute to the importance of connecting the members of the cluster further. This is vital to drive and stimulate oncology innovations for the benefit of the cancer patients.”

The Radium Hospital Foundation
The Radium Hospital Foundation is built from gifts and donations given from people, organisations and large companies alike. These contributions enable The Radium Hospital to maintain their place as a world leading Comprehensive Cancer Center by supporting cancer research and excellent patient care.

Find more information on the Radium Hospital Foundation here.

 

R&D Network Meetings 2014

March 5th: Urologic Cancer

April 23rd: Personalised Medicine Workshop

August 20th: R&D Summer Meeting
Featuring presentations of the new members; New Kids on the Block

October 22nd: Conjugated antibodies

December 10th: Christmas R&D Network Meeting

Nansen Prize to Professor Kirsten Sandvig

professor Kirsten Sandvig at Institute of Cancer Research

The Fridtjof Nansen prize for excellent research in science and medicine 2014 is awarded to Centre for Cancer Biomedicine’s Kirsten Sandvig for her groundbreaking work within biochemistry and cell biology.

Oslo Cancer Cluster congratulates Professor Kirsten Sandvig with the Fridtjof Nansen prize for excellent research in science and medicine (Fridtjof Nansens belønning for fremragende forskning innen realfag og medisin). Sandvig is awarded the prize for her groundbreaking results within the fields of biochemistry and cell biology.

Prizewinner Sandvig receives a medal, a diploma and 150,000 NOK at a ceremony on the 5th of May at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Kirsten Sandvig is Principal Investigator in CCB and Professor at the University of Oslo, Department of Biosciences. Sandvig’s research group is located at the Institute for Cancer Research, the Norwegian Radium Hospital, Oslo University Hospital.

Presentations from Cancer Crosslinks 2014

Cancer Crosslinks logo

Cancer Crosslinks 2014, January 23, was the 6th edition of this annual oncology conference bringing together hematologists, oncologists and the industry in Norway.

This years conference was developed and hosted in collaboration with partners BMS, Amgen and the Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital. The feedback from the more than 220 participants was as always very positive, and we promise to come back with a even more exciting 7th edition of Cancer Crosslinks in January 2015.

Below you may find the main presentations featured at Cancer Crosslinks 2014, including the international keynote presentations from Professor Mario Sznol, Yale Cancer Centre and Professor Cornelis van de Velde, ECCO President. Here you may watch these presentations recorded at the Cancer Crosslinks conference.


Opening Keynotes:

“Opportunities, challenges and visions for cancer research and treatment”

Prof. Kjell Magne Tveit, Head of Department of Oncology, Oslo University Hospital

“Current trends in oncology drug development”
Prof. Gunnar Sæter, Head of the Institute for Cancer Research, Oslo University Hospital

Main session: New treatment modalities – need for a multidisciplinary approach

International Keynote:
“Cancer immunotherapies – novel treatment opportunities and their implications”
Prof. Mario Sznol, Yale Cancer Center, New Haven, CT, USA

International Keynote:

“Multidisciplinary collaboration for patient-centric oncology”
Prof. Cornelis van de Velde, Leiden University Medical Centre, Netherlands, ECCO President

“Optimizing treatment for each patient: MetAction as a Norwegian initiative”
Kjetil Boye MD, PhD; Oslo University Hospital as representative for the MetAction team
Find more info on Cancer Crosslinks 2014 here.

Bergen Bio Raises MNOK 75

BerGenBio AS, an oncology biopharmaceutical company, announces that it has raised NOK75 million (c.$12.5 million) from a syndicate of new and existing investors through a private placement. This follows a $6.0 million round in May 2013.

Proceeds from the financing will be used to support the development of the Company’s innovative portfolio of innovative cancer therapeutics.This includes the on-going clinical development of its lead drug candidate, BGB324, a first-in-class selective AXL kinase inhibitor, which is currently in Phase Ib clinical studies to evaluate its safety and initial signs of efficacy to treat different cancers as a single agent and in combination with other drugs.

Fund pipeline advancement
The funds raised will be used to complete these studies, data from which is anticipated in 2015. BGB324 is the only selective Axl receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor in clinical development to target tumour epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and has a potential application as a novel treatment for drug-resistant solid and hematological cancers, including non-small cell lung cancer and acute myeloid leukemia.

Richard Godfrey, CEO of BerGenBio commented: “I would like to thank our new and existing investors for their support. This important funding will enable us to advance our pipeline to key value inflection points. We believe that targeting Axl is a promising new approach to treating drug resistant cancers. We look forward to using this investment to continue exploring the clinical opportunity for our lead Axl inhibitor, BGB324, and our other candidate compounds.”

Huge market potential
Sveinung Hole, Managing Partner Sarsia Seed commented “At the seed stage we recognised the huge addressable market potential for BerGenBio`s EMT inhibitors and have continued to support the Company throughout its development. I am delighted the Company continues to attract funding and is able to progress its promising pipeline of novel targeted cancer therapies through further clinical development and realising significant value gain.

Ann-Tove Kongsnes, Investment Director, Investinor AS added, `we are excited by the Company’s prospects and are confident in the management team’s ability to drive these programs forward.”


About the Axl kinase receptor

The Axl tyrosine kinase receptor is regarded as one of the most promising new therapeutic targets for cancer drug  development It is upregulated in tumours residing in a hostile micro-environment and plays a crucial role in the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), which in turn is a key driver of metastasis (cancer spread) and a mechanisms of acquired drug-resistance.

About BerGenBio AS
BerGenBio AS is a biopharmaceutical company located in Bergen, Norway. The company is committed to developing first in class therapeutics that inhibit tumor EMT, preventing the formation of cancer stem cells and disrupting the important mechanisms of acquired cancer drug resistance. The company is founded on proprietary platform technology called CellSelect™, which uses information from RNAi screening studies to identify and validate novel drug targets and biomarkers. BGB324 is the first compound in BerGenBio’s pipeline to enter clinical trials, with additional compounds and drug targets at different stages of preclinical development. www.bergenbio.com

 

Targovax in phase IIa with cancer vaccine

Research from Norwegian Radium Hospital is the basis of the Targovax  vaccine company

Immunotherapy specialist Targovax reaches Phase IIa in operable pancreatic cancer with its TG01 immunotherapy. RAS specific immune responses were induced in all 6 patients in Phase I, and no substantial side effects were observed in the patients. The clinical trial has now expanded from Norway to two sites in the UK.

 

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Targovax started in 2010 to develop targeted immunotherapy in the form of therapeutic cancer vaccines. The TG01 vaccine has been given as treatment to cancer patients, in combination with chemotherapy after surgery, to prevent relapse. TG01 is granted Orphan Drug Status for pancreatic cancer in both EU and USA. The promising Phase I results has triggered a $2M (12.5 MNOK) milestone from current owners.

 

Clinical trial in phase II
Gustav Gaudernack, professor emeritus at Oslo University Hospital, and one of the inventors of the technology, states: “I have great expectations for the principle of treating patients with peptide based immunotherapy, which educates the patients’ immune system to fight cancer. It is exciting that the TG01 project now reaches this important milestone in combination with chemotherapy”.

The clinical trial has now formally entered Phase IIa, and the trial is expanding from Norway to two sites in UK, namely The Christie NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester, and The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust in Liverpool.

UK Principal Investigator Professor Daniel Palmer says: “Vaccination targeting RAS mutations is an extremely promising area of research and with our considerable experience in conducting multicentre immunotherapy trials, we are looking forward to help expand Targovax’s TG01 trial into Phase IIa.”

Important milestone
CEO Hanne Mette Kristensen commented: “Through this important milestone, we have significantly reduced risk in TG01 development by confirming observations of specific immune response and safety for the patients. This is very encouraging. We will continue to work towards confirming the link between TG01 treatment and effect on survival for these patients. We are proud that the two UK sites now participate in the clinical trial – we see this as a quality mark. ”

Targovax’ RAS specific immunotherapy triggers both cytotoxic- and helper T-cell- immune responses, educating the patients’ immune system to recognize and kill the cancer cells.

New IPR is established as a basis for expanding pipeline to broader indications.

“Based on these results, Targovax is now focused on completing the ongoing Phase IIa study with TG01 in surgically resected cancer. In addition, the company is initiating preparations for a randomized Phase II, and completing a Phase I trial with TG02 in larger indications such as colorectal cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC),” concludes Kristensen.

Read more in the press release on Targovax’ website.

 

About Targovax
Targovax develops immunotherapy in the form of therapeutic cancer vaccines. TG01 is being developed for pancreatic cancer as its first indication. The drug has been investigated in exploratory trials in patients with promising results. The company is located in Lysaker, close to Oslo, Norway.

TG01 and RAS
TG01 is a therapeutic cancer vaccine which means that it educates the body’s immune system to recognize and kill the cancer cells. TG01 is based on pioneering research into RAS mutations in the Norwegian Radium Hospital (now Oslo University Hospital) and Norsk Hydro. Mutation of RAS disrupts normal cell division signaling and contributes to development of cancer cells and tumors. RAS mutations are found in approximately 25% of all cancers and in particular in pancreatic cancer (80-90%), colorectal cancer (40%) and non-small cell lung cancers (30%). Lead candidateTG01 has Orphan Drug status for pancreatic cancer in the EU and US and is currently in Phase IIa trials in surgically resected pancreatic cancer, patients start treatment 1-8 weeks after surgery.

Pancreas cancer and other RAS-mutated cancer forms
Pancreatic cancer is a disease affecting 116 000 patients each year in EU and USA, and approximately 690 persons each year in Norway. Approx 15-20% of these are discovered at an early stage and are operable. The mortality is high, and the prognosis for these patients has been more or less unchanged the last 30 years. Approximately 80-90% of patients with pancreatic cancer have RAS mutations in the cancer cells.
RAS mutations are also frequent in colorectal cancer, non-small cell lung cancer and other cancers. Patients with RAS mutations within these indications have proved to be difficult to treat with current treatments, and there is a significant unmet medical need.

Join the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park & Incubator

Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park

May 2015 is THE grand opening of Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park and Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator. Would you like to join us in the fight against cancer by being part of a power centre for developing innovative cancer treatment? Contact us now, and see what we may offer you as a tenant  in the Innovation Park or the Incubator.

With the opening of the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park, the whole value chain within oncology R&D in the Oslo-area is brought together at one place: The Radium Hospital Innovation Campus.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park is made up of a ground space of two floors and three semi-separate buildings on top. Ullern High School with 900 students will inhabit the ground space. Here you will also find a cantina, a hall for multi-purpose use and a seminar room.

Already now, the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park is filling up. If you decide to join us, you will be in good company as well as in the heart of where innovative cancer R&D are being developed.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator  – where budding biotechs bloom
The Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator will provide a dynamic, creative and professional growth environment for scientists and start-ups within oncology, so that outstanding research is transformed into innovative therapies.

In the Incubator both researchers and start-ups may rent both office and lab space, scaling up and down as needed. The Incubator also provides a very attractive “plug and play” model – where all practicalities are taken care of.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator receives financial support from the governmental agency Siva, the Industrial Development Corporation of Norway. The funding will be used to develop and implement a tailor made business development concept for the tenants of the Incubator.

Contact: 

Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park
Jónas Einarsson
Initiator of the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park
Mobile: +47 480 96 355
E-mail: je@radforsk.no

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator
Ketil Widerberg
General Manager, Oslo Cancer Cluster
Mobile: +47 915 77 990
E-mail: kw@oslocancercluster.no