14 March 2024 Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator was ranked among Europe’s Leading Start-up Hubs by the Financial Times, Statista and Sifted. Shared and private lab facilities are a big part of the incubator rig. There is also an accelerator programme for start-up companies. Photo: Fartein Rudjord / Oslo Cancer Cluster

One of Europe’s Leading Start-up Hubs

Two scientists in a lab, smiling, on in action and one sittingOslo Cancer Cluster

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator made the Financial Times Europe’s Leading Start-up Hubs list.

“This recognition by the Financial Times celebrates our dedication to transforming oncology research and places us in a league with Europe’s most innovative ecosystems. It’s about more than accolades; it reflects our collective impact in pioneering new frontiers in cancer therapy and patient care,” said Ketil Widerberg, CEO of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, when he was made aware of the news.

Ketil Widerberg, CEO of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, is happy about making the Financial Times ranking. Photo: Fartein Rudjord

“This honor is a testament to the synergy between groundbreaking science and entrepreneurial spirit within the Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator. Our unique approach, focusing on collaboration and support, sets us apart in Europe’s diverse and dynamic start-up landscape, as highlighted by the Financial Times.” Ketil Widerberg

Read more about the incubator companies and community on this incubator webpage.

Two Norwegian hubs

Only two Norwegian hubs are in the ranking. They are 6AM Accelerator, a pre-seed accelerator and investor for tech startups in Trondheim, and Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, with its laboratory-based community and cancer-focused companies next to Oslo University Hospital, the Radium Hospital. Oslo Cancer Cluster made 104th place out of 125 hubs in total.

Here you can read the complete list (link to Financial Times). 

It is also published as a Special Report in the Financial Times.

Specialized lab infrastructure

“With world-leading researchers in shared and individual labs Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator exemplifies the critical role specialized lab infrastructure plays in supporting focused innovation within the incubator framework, particularly in the demanding field of cancer diagnostics and therapies,” said Janne Nestvold, COO of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

Woman in lab coat in lab

Janne Nestvold, COO of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, in one of the incubator’s shared laboratories. Photo: Fartein Rudjord

Ranking methodology

According to Financial Times and their partners Statista and Sifted, Europe’s Leading Start-Up Hubs 2024 is a ranking of the top centres for founders offering incubator and/or accelerator programmes to people who want to build or grow a company.

To identify the 125 leading hubs, a registration and survey process was conducted. Several thousand hubs were evaluated, and several elements were considered for the evaluation, with the main criterion being the assessment of the respective start-up hub by alumni who participated in at least one incubator or accelerator programme run by the respective hub. In addition, the recommendations of external experts, such as investors, entrepreneurs, and academics were included. Finally, the most successful startups coming out of a hub were examined.

More about the ranking and methodology in this article in the Financial Times.


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From the left: Emanuele Ostuni, ARTBIO CEO, and Anders Tuv, Managing Director at Radforsk. Photos: ARTBIO and Thomas Ekström/ Radforsk.

What does it take to make it?

Two headshots of men in a collage, black and white image.ARTBIO / Radforsk

What does it take to make it for new biotech companies? We are looking for answers, digging into the legacy and environment surrounding successful start-up companies like ARTBIO.

One of the newest members of Oslo Cancer Cluster is the clinical-stage radiopharmaceutical company ARTBIO. On their webpage, they present the company in these words:

ARTBIO is redefining cancer care by developing a new class of alpha radioligand therapies (ART) and building the ecosystem that maximizes their potential.

We first wrote about ARTBIO in an article presenting the newest members in January. Here, we can read that ARTBIO is shaped by a long-standing scientific legacy with nearly a century of pioneering work in radiation therapy conducted at the University of Oslo and Norway’s Radium Hospital.

What is this legacy all about, and what kind of environment is optimal for successful start-up companies like ARTBIO to grow up in?

The answer appears to be fourfold.

The obvious part: financing

Part of the answer for ARTBIO is the tremendous financing round that raised USD 90 Million in December last year, for progress in the pipeline and isotope technology development for a new class of alpha radioligand therapies. The news of the company raising this amount from private investors made headlines in the Norwegian newspaper E24. How was this possible in today’s slow and skeptical market?

“There are several reasons why we managed to raise one billion NOK in the series A investment. The first one is that ARTBIO is a very attractive investment case with a differentiated technology and pipeline within radio pharmacy, which is a field that is receiving a lot of attention internationally”, said Anders Tuv.

He is Managing Director at Radforsk, an early-stage evergreen fund dedicated to oncology. Radforsk is one of ARTBIO’s founders.

In the latest investment round Boston-based venture capital fund Third Rock Ventures was the main investor, together with an undisclosed healthcare fund and existing seed lead investors F-Prime Capital and Omega Funds, according to a press release from the company.

The crucial part: the right people

“Even though it is crucial to have the right technology as a foundation, it is a must to have the right people and teams. And on that note, we have hit the bull’s eye with ARTBIO”, Tuv said and added:

“The company has been rigged the right way to see it through and succeed with realizing their potential in a global competition.”

Tuv especially mentioned the hiring of ARTBIO CEO Emanuele Ostuni as a key success factor, who was also the first full-time employee. He is described as bright, tenacious, and with a compassionate drive to succeed for patients.

To the question what do you think it will take to get to the next milestone? Ostuni answered:

“Our goals all involve doing things that have not been done before. As such they require creativity, collaboration, and practical optimism.”

Ostuni added:

“We are working to start a phase 1 trial this year. That will require a working technology for P212 isolation and a robust process for manufacturing the therapeutic product. We are also working to create a broader pipeline of programs that addresses patient needs – several of these programs should also move forward this year.”

The historical part: the legacy

So far, we have touched upon the company’s technology, the people, and the financing. What about this long-standing scientific legacy that we started with?

Anders Tuv explained:

“The scientific founders behind ARTBIO are the same people that developed the only alpha-emitting radionuclide treatment on the market so far (Xofigo), the legendary researchers and founders Roy Larsen and Øyvind Bruland.”

Tuv added:

“I think that both the seed round and the series A round in particular have shown that we have worked hard and done many things right with ARTBIO. We got international specialist investors and founding CEO Emanuele involved at a very early stage with Roy Larsen and Øyvind Bruland, and F-Prime and Radforsk have been active investors, building the company and heavily involved from the beginning. We have been thinking globally from the start and extracted talent where they were to be found.”

This is the reason why ARTBIO has offices in Boston, Basel, London, and Oslo.

The part of the environment

Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park and Incubator, and the entire Campus around the Radium Hospital, including Radforsk, offer an environment for companies like ARTBIO to begin their journey, especially in radiopharmacy and precision medicine in cancer.

“We have a strong legacy and a good ecosystem for radiopharmacy in Oslo, including the Radium Hospital and the environment in Oslo Cancer Cluster”, Tuv said, and Ostuni agreed:

“We appreciate the availability of flexible space that is already partially equipped at Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator – it allowed us to get started quickly when we were building the company.”

“The culture of openness and support at the Radium hospital also made sure that we could establish collaborations with academic groups and progress some programs while at the same time providing educational opportunities for female scientists”, said Ostuni.

So there you have it; the somewhat complex answer to what it takes to make it – at least through the first serious financing rounds.

About ARTBIO and Radforsk

ARTBIO’s approach: Alpha radioligand therapeutics (ARTs) are gaining attention as a promising experimental modality for delivering lethal radioactivity directly to cancer cells. The unique ARTBIO approach selects the optimal alpha-precursor isotope (Pb-212) and tumour-specific targets to create therapeutics with the potential for the highest efficacy and safety. ARTBIO is currently advancing multiple pipeline programs with lead program AB001 first in human trials.

Radforsk is engaged in the commercialisation of cancer research. Our goal is to develop better cancer treatment – for all patients. We invest in and develop infrastructure through Radforsk Innovation and companies through Radforsk Invest. Radforsk Invest is an oncology focused investment fund dedicated to developing immunotherapies, precision medicine and radiopharmaceuticals. The fund has an evergreen structure allowing flexibility and focus on investments that will create long-term value. Radforsk Invest`s model is based on very active ownership as investors and hands-on company builders. Radforsk’s portfolio of companies spans from early start-ups to public companies with products on the global market. For more information, please contact Anders Tuv, Managing Director Radforsk Invest (at@radforsk.no).




The post What does it take to make it? first appeared on Oslo Cancer Cluster.

OCC member company Hemispherian receives NOK 16 million in funding from Norwegian Research Council. Photo: Hemispherian.

Member companies secure NOK 92 Million

group of four people standing in front of staircase. two women and two men wearing formal bussines clothes

Oslo Cancer Cluster Members secure a staggering NOK 92 Million from the Research Council of Norway.

The Research Council of Norway allocates NOK 494 million to 39 research-based innovation projects in companies across the entire country, marking a significant boost for cancer innovation. Oslo Cancer Cluster celebrates the success of several member companies, who collectively secured a remarkable NOK 92 million of the funds. Our member companies are:

  • Oncosyne
  • DoMore diagnostics
  • Hemispherian
  • AdjuTec Pharma
  • Blue Wave Therapeutics
  • Augere Medical

Kjetil Widerberg, Oslo Cancer Cluster’s General Manager, expresses his excitement, stating

“This fantastic news is a testament to the hard work and risk-taking spirit of individuals in these companies. It validates the quality of our ecosystem, bringing us significant steps closer to improving cancer patients’ lives through the acceleration of new diagnostics and treatments.”

Oslo Cancer Cluster extends recognition to The Research Council of Norway for the acknowledgment of the high quality of these Norwegian cancer companies, some of which are integral to Oslo Cancer Cluster (OCC) Incubator.

This funding injection serves as a powerful catalyst, propelling these innovative projects into new realms of possibility and advancing the frontier of cancer research and treatment.

Thrilled and Grateful

Oncosyne, a biotechnology start-up in the OCC Incubator, received a NOK 16 million grant for “clinical feasibility of in vitro diagnostic drug testing for pancreatic cancer.” Cofounder & CTO, Peter W. Eide, shares his gratitude for the Research Council’s support, emphasizing the opportunity to enhance their drug modeling platform and initiate vital clinical studies for pancreatic cancer patients.

man Withith dark hair and gray jacket presenting slides on stage

Peter W. Eide, Co-founder and CTO of Oncosyne. Photo: OCC.


DoMore Diagnostics, also an OCC Incubator company, secures NOK 16 million for clinical validation and implementation of the AI-based digital biomarker Histotype Px, to personalize treatment in colorectal cancer. CEO Torbjørn Furuseth shares the excitement of competing with strong applicants and expresses the motivation to accelerate plans.

man smiling in front of gray background wearing dark blue jacket and white shirt

Thorbjørn Furuseth CEO of DoMore Diagnostics. Photo: DoMore.


Hemispherian receives a substantial NOK 16 million grant towards “a one-of-a-kind approach to treat Ovarian Cancer.” Hemispherian CEO, Zeno Albisser, expresses immense gratitude for the support,

“We are immensely grateful for this support from the Research Council of Norway. Our team is excited to advance our second asset, GLIX5, towards clinical use. We are dedicated to developing therapies that will make a tangible difference in the lives of those battling cancer.”

man with dark hair standing in front of dark gray wall wearing a greay suit jacket

Hemispherian CEO, Zeno Albisser. Photo: Hemispherian.


AdjuTec Pharma, also part of the OCC Incubator, secures NOK 16 million towards the “development of a novel broad-spectrum antibiotic-resistant inhibitor product.” CEO Bjørn Klem acknowledges the award’s significance, serving as both external validation and a catalyst for private capital raising to propel the project into the clinical phase.

man standing in front of white wall wearing dark jacket and glasses

AdjuTec Pharma CEO Bjørn Klem. Photo: OCC/Stig Jarnes.


Blue Wave Therapeutics also receives NOK 16 million towards their project ALPHAGLIO: Development of a novel treatment for glioblastoma.

“It feels incredibly good. This is the third time we’ve applied, so now it will be fantastic to finally get started with this project.” says CEO Jostein Dahle

man smiling wearing dark jacket standing in front of white background

Blue Wave Therapeutics CEO Jostein Dahle. Photo: Blue Wave.


Augere Medical is thrilled to announce the acceptance of its application for the IPN grant by the Research Council, securing close to NOK 12 million towards the project “ColoCompare: colonoscopy guidance and AI-assisted procedure comparison.”

Augere CEO and Co-founder, Pia Helén Smedsrud, expresses gratitude for the opportunity

“These funds will enable further research into novel technologies that can improve the detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. We are thankful for the opportunity and look forward to sharing our progress and technology with the public in the next few years.”

woman standing in fron of white wall

Augere CEO and Co-founder, Pia Helén Smedsrud. Photo: Augere.

The post Member companies secure NOK 92 Million first appeared on Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Thomas London recently joined the board of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator. Photo: private

New incubator board member

Thomas London

Thomas London has joined the board of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator

“It was an honour to be elected to the board,” Thomas London said.

London is a businessman who has been trying to buy property from Oslo municipality to expand Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park to make room for more businesses and laboratories within the cancer sphere. The slow process now seems to have found a solution with the new Oslo City Council.

Read about the assurances from the City Council in the newspaper Dagsavisen (in Norwegian).

This is the entire incubator board. 

An active board member

London underlines the value for society in having an incubator dedicated to new companies working with cancer, often developing innovative Norwegian cancer research.

“The work of the incubator affects many lives and will continue doing so in the future. I wish to be an active board member and support the work of the incubator team in developing the incubator to be even bigger and help even more start-up companies through their first critical years.”

There is also a personal reason why Thomas London was eager to take on a board position in the incubator. Like so many, he has had close relations get cancer.

“I am personally invested in the fight against cancer and in developing better cancer care.”

Expanding the innovation park

As the manager of the real estate development company Oslo Science Hub AS, he oversees the final expansion of Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park. The final expansion is planned to be about 40,000 square metres. London is sure that cancer innovation in Norway will grow with the park.

“In the coming years it will be easier to see the entire Campus Radiumhospitalet as one innovative area,” London said.

Arcitect model of buildings

A model of the planned expansion of Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park. Phase 4 is being built today, between the hospital and the current park. Phase 5, to the far right in the picture, is planned to be built by 2028. The two planned building phases will add about 50,000 square metres to the park. Photo: Fartein Rudjord

You can read more about the expansion plans, and see the building site live, at the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park website. 


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