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.

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®.

Four Cluster Companies Get Innovation Reward

Nacamed, Phoenix Soulutions, NorGenoTech and Clever Health are awarded Innovasjonsrammen for good early-stage innovation and collaboration. Innovasjonsrammen is awarded by Oslo Cancer Cluster with money from Innovation Norway. Congratulations!

Important with early financing
Early financing while companies are establishing their business is often limited, but can be crucial to get important projects off the ground. Therefore, Innovation Norway has given Oslo Cancer Cluster 1000 000 NOK to reward excellent innovation and collaboration activity at an early stage. A cluster is all about reaping the benefits of collaboration and Oslo Cancer Cluster has awarded the Innovasjonsrammen-money to four of their promising member companies. Hopefully this will inspire other potential financers to support Norwegian bio businesses at an early stage.

Prize money awarded
NorGenoTech AS     150 000 NOK
Clever Health           100 000 NOK
Phoenix Solutions    500 000 NOK
Nacamed                 150 000 NOK

Hanne Mette Kristiansen from Innovation Norway and Ketil Widerberg from Oslo Cancer Cluster, as well as Bjørn Klem form Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, handed out checks for Innovasjonsrammen. Her received by Sergey Shaposhnikov from NorGenoTech, Jon-Bendik Thue from Clever Health, Per Christian Sontum from Phoenix Solutions and Christina Westerveld Haug and Lars Gunnar Fledsberg from Nacamed.

Bringing Together Tech Knowledge
At the 5th floor of Oslo Cancer Cluster the four companies each received their innovation award handed out by Hanne Mette Kristiansen from Innovation Norway, Ketil Widerberg from Oslo Cancer Cluster and Bjørn Klem from Oslo cancer Cluster Incubator.

Ketil Widerberg, General Manager at Oslo Cancer Cluster, thanked Innovation Norway for providing the money and the panel of experts that helped pick the four deserved winners. – This money helps to remove some risk from the early stages of the innovation process, said Widerberg.

Bjørn Klem from Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator added that it had been a very difficult process choosing the winners from the eight companies that applied. However, giving out prize money requires hard choices and he applauded the versatility at display.

–I think it is interesting that the four companies represent four different approaches within cancer research. Four different technologies. And getting them together here today is what Oslo Cancer Cluster and the incubator is all about: Getting different people together sharing knowledge and impulses!

Hanne Mette Kristiansen from Innovation Norway explained that Innovasjonsrammen was a way of reaching out to companies that usually avoided their attention. Startups that had not yet attracted any serious business attention, but nevertheless had very promising projects.

About the companies
Sergey Shaposhnikov from NorGenoTech explained that the money was coming in very handy. They are a company, as he explained it, straight out of the lab. Now they could start turning their research into business.

Clever Health has a more customer or patient oriented focus in their business model. Jon-Bendik Thue from Clever Health explained how a widespread disease as prostate cancer needs a way of differentiating between the patients that need treatment and the ones that do not.

Per Christian Sontum from Phoenix Solutions was very thankful for the award and money. He showed everybody how ultrasound can be way of targeting cancer cells with precision drug delivery.

And the event was elegantly rounded off by Christina Westerveld Haug and Lars Gunnar Fledsberg from Nacamed. Nacamed’s business goal is to produce nanoparticles of silicon material for targeted drug delivery of chemotherapy, radiation therapy and diagnostics to kill cancer cells. She explained that the money would be put in use straight away. Preparing for important trials after Christmas.

NOME Important to BioIndustry Growth

Nordic Mentor Network for Entrepreneurship (NOME) will be an important piece of the puzzle if Norway is going to fulfill their ambitions set by the coming White Paper on the Healthcare Industry.

If we are to make our bioindustry more competitive and take a leading European role within eHealth, we need to learn from the best in the business. NOME is a program that aims to lift Nordic life sciences to the very top by using mentors.

The Norwegian Parliament’s Health Committee has asked for a report on the Healthcare industry in Norway, a so called White Paper. The objective is to examine the challenges we face because of climate change, new technology, robotics and digitalization.

Innovation needs to meet industrial targets
Additionally, the committee has stressed the importance of a purposeful dedication to health innovation. There should be a focused investment In fields where we have special preconditions to succeed. A better facilitation of clinical studies and use of health data is especially emphasized. Nordic countries are in a unique position with vast registries of well documented health data, a good example being the Cancer Registry of Norway. With better implementing of new technology this type of health data will be increasingly important.

The committee also emphasized the need to shorten the distance between research and patient treatment through effective commercialization. And, in continuation, easier access to risk investment capital to help the industry grow.

–The path from research to actual treatments and medication is long and hard, and rightfully so – everything must be thoroughly tested. But you can imagine! Every second we can peel off the time it takes for new research to reach patients is extremely valuable and saves lives, explains Bjørn Klem, Managing Director, Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

NOME a piece of the puzzle
However, how do we fulfill these ambitions? Klem believes the answer is combining forces within the other Nordic countries.

– We have different strengths. Think about how big Bioindustry and business is in Denmark. There is so much to learn form that!

NOME is a concrete way of collaborating. It is easy to say: “we are going to learn from each other”, but how do we in a concrete fashion set about doing this. NOME is a mentoring program that sets collaboration in motion.

— To put it plainly, NOME is a program for all Nordic Bio start-ups. They can apply and if their application is successful we send experts catered to help with the company’s very specific needs, explains Klem.

NOME is a meeting place between the start-up freshman and the experts that have thread this path before. They match Nordic entrepreneurs with handpicked international professionals to help each start-up with their specific needs.

— Think about it! There is so much a new start-up don’t know, lacking network and experience. How do you make it as a commercialized company in the health industry? NOME can provide both business and research mentoring transferring knowledge from past successes to new ones, says Klem.

A Twofold Benefit to Society
The desire is to propel the Nordic countries into one of the leading life science regions to commercialize high growth life science start-ups.

— With NOME society’s return is twofold. Firstly, we give patients access to new treatment faster by giving start-ups the necessary guidance and know-how. Secondly, we give our Bio Business a chance to grow with all the positives that has to economy and employment, Klem believes.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator coordinates the NOME-program in Norway and collaborates with the incubator Aleap to find the best match of mentors and entrepreneurs. To take part in the program you can click here for more information.

New Funds for Ultimovacs

Investors are recognizing the huge potential of Oslo Cancer Cluster member Ultimovacs. They are currently investing an additional 125 million NOK in the cancer research company.

 

Well known investors and Ultimovacs backers Stein Erik Hagen, Anders Wilhelmsen og Bjørn Rune Gjelsten are among financiers putting fresh money into the cancer research company, according to the Norwegian newspaper Finansavisen.

Preparing for the Stock Exchange
Kjetil Fjeldanger,  the Ultimovacs chairman, believes a stock exchange listing within 12-18 months is realistic. – We will start the preparations for a stock exchange listing to prepare for further financing, says Fjeldanger.

Ultimovacs has so far gathered a lot of funds. However, a lot of funding still remains because of the sheer cost of doing cancer research.

– Current funds will fund us until the start of phase two of clinical studies, explains General Manager of Ultimovacs, Øyvind Arnesen.

Fighting Cancer with the Body’s Own Tools
The company is developing a cancer vaccine that helps the body’s own immune system fight cancer. Currently, three concluded studies have been combined into one, and all participating patients will now be followed closely during a five year period to monitor their survival rate.

– The patients are doing well, but the documentation is not sufficient, but we continue in very good spirits, explains Arnesen.

However, a commercial vaccine will not be for sale until 2021, according to Arnesen.

Arnesen and Ultimovacs are also initiating a new study on melanoma cancer where the vaccine is used in combination with the most common immunotherapy remedies. The hope is that the two methods will strengthen each other and make an efficient cancer fighting remedy together. The study will conclude in 18 months.