Curida Takover Secures Norwegian Production

To secure Norwegian pharmaceutical production, Oslo Cancer Cluster- member Curida has completed a takeover of Ås produksjonslab AS.


Continued Production at Ås
Curida operate in an international marketplace and here the last line of production of pharmaceuticals is mostly taken care of by specialized operators.

«Ås produksjonslab» is a company rich in tradition, it has nine employees and produces many products for Norwegian pharmacies, while also facilitating production on an assignment order basis.

Curida purchase Ås produksjonslab from The Norwegian Apothecary Society (Apotkerforeningen), a union of Norway’s 900 Pharmacies.

However, the lab will continue their production at Ås also after the takeover. And, with a yearly revenue of 21 million NOK, Leif Rune Skymoen, CEO at Curida, believes the takeover combined with the general growth of the company will help balance the budget the upcoming year.

— We are making these strategic moves because Curida gathered 50 million NOK in December by releasing an equal amount of stocks to Canica and Klavness Marine. Furthermore, Investinor was given an option on 25 million NOK worth of stocks, says Head of the Board of Directors, Per S. Thoresen at Curida. Investinor will decide at the end of January.

Securing Norwegian Expertise
As early as December Thoresen informed that part of the money gathered in the end of the year emissions would be used to buy production facilities.

And CEO Per T. Lund at The Norwegian Apothecary Society is also happy with the takeover. He says in a press release that this will contribute to a strong base of Norwegian pharmaceutical production. Additionally, it secures Norwegian Pharmacies delivery of pharmaceuticals in strong demand.

— We are strengthening Norwegian pharmaceutical production and securing important expertise, Thoresen explaines.

Curida is not only securing Norwegian production, they have also become important for Norwegian war time infrastructure. Late 2017 Curida signed a letter of intent with the Norwegian Armed Forces. They now supply raw materials and are responsible for pharmaceutical manufacturing in situations of emergency preparedness, which means in case of conflict, state of war or general emergency.

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®.

BerGenBio enters collaboration with MSD

Oslo Cancer Cluster member BerGenBio enters collaboration with MSD focused on clinical evaluation of BGB324 in combination with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in advanced lung and breast cancer.

BerGenBio ASA is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel, selective Axl kinase inhibitors for multiple cancer indications. The company recently announced that it has entered into a collaborative agreement with Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ, USA (known as MSD outside the US and Canada) , through a subsidiary, focused on the clinical evaluation of BGB324 with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).

BerGenBio’s lead candidate BGB324 is a first in class, highly selective, potent and orally available small molecule Axl kinase inhibitor in clinical development in a variety of cancer indications. The Axl tyrosine kinase is a key driver of cancer spread, immune evasion and drug resistance – the cause of the majority of cancer-related deaths. Increased understanding of the role of Axl in suppressing innate immunity supports the rationale for evaluating BGB324 in combination with KEYTRUDA.

Under the terms of the collaboration with MSD, BerGenBio will conduct two international Phase II studies to evaluate the potential clinical synergy of combining BGB324 with MSD’s anti-PD-1 therapy, KEYTRUDA. Details of the studies are as follows:

  • BGBC007 – A Phase II multi-centre study of BGB324 in combination with KEYTRUDA in patients with previously treated, locally advanced or unresectable TNBC.
  • BGBC008 – A Phase II multi-centre study of BGB324 in combination with KEYTRUDA in patients with previously treated unresectable adenocarcinoma of the lung.

Biomarker studies will be conducted in parallel to the above studies with the goal of developing companion diagnostics to identify patients who would be most suitable for treatment with the BGB324/KEYTRUDA combination.

The clinical trials will be sponsored by BerGenBio while MSD will provide the trial with KEYTRUDA. The rights to the study results will be shared. No further details are disclosed.

BerGenBio is investigating BGB324 in multiple cancer indications based on preclinical and early clinical findings. Phase II studies with BGB324 as a single agent in relapsed acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) and myeloid dysplastic syndrome (MDS); and in combination with erlotinib (TARCEVA®) in advanced EGFR-positive NSCLC are in progress.

Richard Godfrey, Chief Executive Officer of BerGenBio, commented: “We are delighted to enter this collaboration with MSD, a leader in developing novel cancer therapies. This new agreement gives us the opportunity to evaluate the clinical potential of BGB324 in combination with KEYTRUDA in advanced lung and breast cancer; two of the areas of significant unmet medical need. We believe that BGB324 is a unique drug candidate that addresses a critical cancer mechanism responsible for promoting immune evasion. We believe the clinical utility of BGB324 in combination with immunotherapies has enormous potential. BerGenBio is excited to advance BGB324 in combination with KEYTRUDA into Phase II trials and we anticipate results in mid-2018.”

About BerGenBio ASA
BerGenBio (Bergen, Norway) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing a pipeline of first-in-class Axl kinase inhibitors to treat multiple cancer indications. The Company is a world leader in understanding the central role of Axl kinase in promoting cancer spread, immune evasion and drug resistance in multiple aggressive liquid and solid cancers.

BerGenBio’s lead product, BGB324, is a selective, potent and orally available small molecule Axl inhibitor in Phase II clinical development in three major cancer indications. It is the only selective Axl inhibitor in clinical development. BGB324 is being developed by BerGenBio as a single agent therapy in acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)/myeloid dysplastic syndrome (MDS) and in combination with TARCEVA® (erlotinib) in advanced non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC); and in combination with KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab) in advanced NSCLC and triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) in collaboration with MSD.

The Company is also developing a diversified pre-clinical pipeline of selective Axl inhibitors including BGB149, anti-Axl monoclonal antibody.

For further information, please visit:

It is estimated that more than 220,000 new cases of lung cancer will be diagnosed in the US in 2017 and it is the leading cause of cancer death. 65% of NSCLCs are of adenocarcinoma pathology. Although various treatments exist for NSCLC, they are often curtailed by acquired resistance to therapy and immune evasion. Novel treatments overcoming these mechanisms in NSCLC are urgently required.

About TNBC
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women – it is estimated that more than 250,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the US in 2017. 20% of breast cancers lack receptors for three common hormones (estrogen, progesterone and HER2) and are thus called triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC). Treatment options for TNBC are limited to intense chemotherapy, but despite therapy recurrences are frequent and aggressive. Consequently, novel treatment strategies for TNBC are of high need.

KEYTRUDA® is a registered trademark of Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. TARCEVA® is a registered trademark of OSI Pharmaceuticals, LLC.


Photocure – full year report

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Photocure ASA  reported that full year 2016 revenues ended at NOK 143.6 million (134.7). Photocure targets revenues from the US operations to quadruple to a range of USD 15 million by 2020.

“2016 was a positive year for Photocure as we continued to build momentum in the US with Cysview. A significant milestone was reached by the inclusion and recommendations of Cysview in National treatment guidelines in the US. In addition, several papers including strong new clinical evidence supporting the use of Hexvix/Cysview were published during 2016. These events, together with the increase in installed base of Blue Light enabled Cystoscopes in the US and a higher level of patient awareness, provide us with confidence that our planned increase in investment in the US commercial urology franchise will create value for our shareholders in the future. Lastly, we are also looking forward to receiving results from our expanded use Phase 3 study in the US with the Karl Storz flexible scope in the surveillance setting in the middle of the year.” said Kjetil Hestdal, President and CEO.

Photocure reported total revenues of NOK 38.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 (34.5), with an EBITDA of NOK -0.3 million (-8.7). Net profit was NOK 17.9 million (-9.4), while the cash position ended at NOK 169.2 million. Hexvix/Cysview revenues grew 13% for the full year but declined 5% in the fourth quarter mainly due to inventory reductions at distributors, as well as a negative impact from foreign exchange rates. In-market unit sales increased with 3% in the quarter.

“Photocure has built considerable experience in the urology sector through its Hexvix/Cysview franchise and sees significant long-term value creation potential in this market segment. The company has over the last years experienced a strong and growing penetration of Hexvix in key European markets and aims to capitalize on the inclusion in the AUA guidelines as well as the increased patient awareness to significantly increase penetration in the US market. Photocure does however believe that in order to increase market shares in the US to European levels, an investment in the US salesforce is required,” said Hestdal.

The company will therefore double its salesforce and increase sales and marketing expenses accordingly towards the end of 2017. The company believes these efforts will result in revenues from the US operations to quadruple to a range of USD 15 million by 2020.

“As a result of the increased activity level, the added operating expenses will contribute to an EBITDA decline for the group in 2017 and 2018. Photocure is fully funded for this market strategy. Photocure has also completed enrollment in its Phase 3 study of Hexvix/Cysview in the surveillance patient segment and expect to report clinical results in mid-2017. The company will then submit an sNDA to the US FDA, with a possible approval in 2018 for use of Blue Light Flexible Cystoscopy with Cysview in this setting,“ Hestdal concludes.

Photocure is continuing its discussions and due diligence processes with potential partners to establish strategic partnerships for its non-urology products, Visonac and Cevira.

Please find the full financial report and presentation enclosed.


Five members granted funding by Innovation Norway

To stimulate collaboration between companies in the Oslo Cancer Cluster, we have through Innovation Norway´s funding scheme *Innovasjonsrammen*  granted five member companies project funding between NOK 500.00 – 100.000,-.

PCI Biotech, Ultimovacs, Arctic Pharma, Oncoimmunity and MyHere are the said companies, and they  will all use the funding to develop improved cancer treatments. Read more about the projects below.

Ketil Widerberg, CEO of Oslo Cancer Cluster, commented: “Oslo Cancer Cluster encourages collaboration between companies. We highly appreciate that Innovation Norway has a funding scheme like *Innovasjonsrammen* that enables us to fund  projects that may drive collaboration and innovation to develop innovativ cancer treatments.”


Joint project PCI Biotech and Ultimovacs:
PCI Biotech (OSE: PCIB), a cancer focused biopharmaceutical company, and it’s partner Ultimovacs, a pharmaceutical company developing novel immunotherapy against cancer, received funding of NOK 500.000,- for further development of the existing preclinical research collaboration. The purpose of the collaboration is to utilise the companies’ complementary scientific platforms to explore potential synergies and the grant will support these activities.
Read press release here.


Arctic Pharma and Oslo University
Arctic Pharma’s main objective is to develop therapies for breast cancer (triple-negative subtypes) that to date have non-specific treatments and the poorest survival outcome. Arctic Pharma will create therapies that kill cancer cells by attacking the core of their metabolism, and was granted NOK 100.000,- in their effort together with University og Oslo, to test and characterize their most promising therapies, which they are in the process of patenting.



OncoImmunity and partners
OncoImmunity provides innovative software solutions to guide the discovery of neoantigen-based personalized immunotherapies and biomarkers. One of the major challenges to overcome is the accurate identification of immunogenic peptides in the tumor, and their precise constellation on a personalized vaccine. In this project OncoImmunity and partners were granted NOK 300.000,- to develop a software framework to predict the peptides that confer maximum immunogenicity with minimum autoimmune side-affects to a patient.


Myehere and partners
Myhere and partners were granted NOK 100.000,- for a pilot study.


Vaccibody raised MNOK 220

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Vaccibody succesfully raised NOK 220 million (€ 24 million). The Private Placement was significantly oversubscribed by both existing shareholders and new investors.

The net proceeds from the Private Placement will be used to conduct Vaccibody’s early stage clinical development plan for personalized cancer neoantigen vaccines (two phase I/Ib trials) and for general corporate purposes.

Martin Bonde, CEO of Vaccibody, said: “We are grateful for the confidence in, and commitment to, the Company from our new investors as well as our existing investors. With the investment we will be able to pursue our ambition of making an entirely novel therapy available. In collaboration with expert clinicians we will work to initiate clinical trials with our to cancer neoantigen vaccines to show benefit in patients suffering from advanced and severe cancer”.

Photocure with good results

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Photocure ASA is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on photodynamic technologies in cancer and dermatology. They reported a revenue growth of 17 % to NOK 31.6 million in the third quarter of 2016 (Q3 2015: NOK 27.0) for the Hexvix/Cysview commercial franchise and a corresponding EBITDA of NOK 8.0 million.

Watch full presentation here.


Photocure, the world leader in photodynamic technology, is a Norwegian based specialty pharmaceutical company. They 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.

Photocure currently have one product on the market: Hexvix®/Cysview® (The brand name is Cysview in the US and Hexvix in the rest of the world).

The Photocure Technology® is uniquely selective, targeting affected areas without impact to non-affected areas. This allows for non-invasive procedures that improve quality of life.

For more information on Photocure.

Targovax granted European Patent for ONCOS platform lead product, ONCOS-102

Oslo Cancr Cluster member Targovax has been granted European Patent for ONCOS platform lead product, ONCOS-102. This composition of matter patent protects Targovax’s lead product from its ONCOS platform, the oncolytic viral product ONCOS-102 and expires in 2029. A US patent covering ONCOS-102 was granted in May 2016.

Targovax’s proprietary ONCOS platform generates novel oncolytic viruses, an emerging class of biological therapy. ONCOS exclusively uses adenoviruses, which are engineered to be tumor targeted immune activators. The platform has the potential to generate therapies with superior efficacy and safety compared to the first approved oncolytic virus therapy, Imlygic, recently launched by Amgen.

In a previously reported Phase I trial ONCOS-102 treatment induced tumor-specific immune activation both at a systemic and lesional level in tumors of late stage cancer patients. The immune activation was associated with signals of clinical benefit. Targovax is currently initiating a number of Phase I/II clinical trials that are expected to readout in the next two years for the treatment of solid tumors such as melanoma, malignant pleural mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and prostate cancer.

ONCOS-102 has Orphan drug designation with the FDA and EMA in mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and soft tissue sarcoma.

Jon Amund Eriksen, Chief Technology Innovation Officer and Co-founder of Targovax said, “This European patent is an important addition to Targovax’s intellectual property portfolio covering our ONCOS platform and the engineered oncolytic viruses that arise from it. The patent further extends the protection of the lead product candidate from the platform, ONCOS-102, following the grant of a US patent for ONCOS-102 in May this year, both of which expire in 2029. The US and Europe are expected to be the largest markets for immuno-oncology products, the most rapidly growing segment for the development of innovative cancer treatments.”

The main characteristics of ONCOS-102 include:

  • The adenovirus knob 5 domain is replaced by a protein from a different adenovirus (serotype 3) to facilitate the specific entrance of ONCOS-102 into tumor cells
  • One of the genes affecting virus replication in the host cells is inactivated (D24 deletion). As a result, the virus cannot replicate in normal cells, but can do so in tumor cells
  • A gene coding for GM-CSF, a drug stimulating the immune response, inserted into the virus genome and expressed during the virus replication in the tumor cells



About Targovax

Arming the patient’s immune system to fight cancer

Targovax (OSE: TRVX) is a clinical stage company focused on developing novel immuno-oncology therapies to target, primarily, treatment-resistant solid tumors. The Company’s pipeline is created from two novel proprietary platforms, with three therapeutic candidates in clinical development covering six indications including melanoma, mesothelioma, ovarian cancer and resected pancreatic cancer. Targovax’s strategy is to bring products to market directly in those indications where it already has Orphan drug status and to partner with pharmaceutical companies in larger disease areas with significant commercial potential.

PCI Biotech with share issue in November

Oslo Cancer Cluster member PCI Biotech has initiated a process with the objective to carry out a share issue in the range of NOK 40-50 million by the end of November 2016. Two of the largest shareholders have pledged that they will at least follow up their pro-rata in the share issue. Fondsfinans is retained as advisors in this process.


The promising results from the Phase I part of the Phase I/II study of fimaChem in bile duct cancer and the recently granted orphan designation in EU have provided the Company with new exciting opportunities.  The Company has initiated processes to assess whether a well-designed pivotal Phase II study may provide market authorisation, which would significantly shorten the time to market for this orphan indication.

The proceeds from the contemplated share issue will allow the Company to complete regulatory interactions with European and US authorities, to determine the fastest way to market. The Phase I results have also furnished increased external interest, which will be assessed in relation to various financing and partnering alternatives for further development.

Establishing fimaVacc as a clinical asset in immunotherapy is a major milestone towards commercialisation and the proceeds will also be used to fund completion of the Phase I study. The initiated Phase I study in healthy volunteers is designed to show enhancement of the cellular immune responses important for therapeutic effect of vaccines, with expected read-out of results in the first half of 2017.

The strategy for the fimaNAc programme will continue to be an opportunistic approach, pursuing out-licensing opportunities.


About PCI Biotech
PCI Biotech is a biopharmaceutical company focusing on development and commercialisation of novel therapies for the treatment of cancer through its innovative photochemical internalisation (PCI) technology platform.  PCI is applied to three distinct anticancer paradigms: fimaChem (enhancement of chemotherapeutics for localised treatment of cancer), fimaVacc (T-cell induction technology for therapeutic vaccination), and fimaNAc (nucleic acid therapeutics delivery).

Photochemical internalisation induces triggered endosomal release that is used to unlock the true potential of a wide array of therapeutic modalities. The company’s lead fimaChem programme consists of a Phase I/II clinical study in bile duct cancer, an orphan indication with a high unmet need and without approved products. fimaVacc applies a unique mode of action to enhance the essential cytotoxic effect of therapeutic cancer vaccines, which works in synergy with several other state-of-the-art vaccination technologies. fimaNAc utilises the endosomal release to provide intracellular delivery of nucleic acids, such as mRNA and siRNA therapeutics, thereby addressing one of the major bottlenecks facing this emerging and promising field.

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