USA Neste!/ USA Next! er et nytt samarbeidsprosjekt som starter i januar 2022. Foto: MostPhotos

Felles veikart gjør veien til USA lettere

US flags and a bridge

De fire helseklyngene i Norge skal fra neste år samarbeide om et veikart for bedrifter som ser mot det amerikanske markedet.

Scroll down for an English version of this article.

Med over 700 000 selskaper innen helse har USA den største helseindustrien globalt. Viken Fylkeskommune støtter og muliggjør prosjektet til helseklyngene.

Prosjektet bærer navnet “USA neste! Veikart til internasjonalisering for helsebedrifter”, og starter opp i januar 2022. De fire helseklyngene som går sammen om prosjektet er Norwegian Smart Care Cluster, Norway Health Tech, Oslo Cancer Cluster og The Life Science Cluster.

Et puff ut i verden

– Målet med prosjektet er å hjelpe bedrifter med internasjonal satsing. Med utgangspunkt i den samlede kunnskapen og erfaringen klyngene har opparbeidet over tid, vil vi utvikle et bedre veikart ved å samarbeide, enn hver for oss. Synergiene vil bidra til å akselerere bedriftenes internasjonaliserings- og eksportaktiviteter ytterligere slik at vekst i omsetning, arbeidsplasser og verdiskaping vil skje raskere enn hvis dette samarbeidet ikke finner sted, sier Therese Oppegaard, prosjektleder i Norwegian Smart Care Cluster.

USA er et viktig internasjonalt marked med stort potensiale. Bedrifter som lykkes der, har høy sannsynlighet for å lykkes i andre markeder. Når klyngene nå setter i gang et felles krafttak for internasjonalisering, blir det naturlig å søke samarbeid med Innovasjon Norge for å optimalisere arbeidet.

– Prosjektet USA neste! skal gi gründere og oppskaleringsbedrifter tilgang på ekspertise og nettverk de ellers normalt ikke har tilgang til, opplyser Oppegaard.

Dami i blå jakke på grønt gress ser inn i kamera og smiler

Therese Oppegaard, prosjektleder i Norwegian Smart Care Cluster.

­Et steg videre

Det internasjonale aspektet ved utvikling av bedre kreftlegemidler og diagnostikk har alltid vært viktig for Oslo Cancer Cluster, som nå ønsker å bygge videre på internasjonale initiativer med dette nye samarbeidet.

– Vi ønsker å skape ny innsikt, nye fora og muligheter for nytt samarbeid for våre medlemmer, og for det nasjonale økosystemet vi har for helseinnovasjon, sier Jutta Heix, Head of International Affairs og prosjektleder i Oslo Cancer Cluster.

– Ved å styrke nettverkene for klynger og helsenæring mellom Norge og USA, kan vi også gi bedre støtte til oppstarts- og biotechbedrifter på deres vei til nye forretningsmuligheter, sier Heix.

Jutta Heix, Head of International Affairs, OCC

Jutta Heix, Head of International Affairs i Oslo Cancer Cluster

Samarbeid forenkler veien

Chelsea Ranger, forretningsutvikler og investor-rådgiver, deltar i samarbeidsprosjektet fra The Life Science Cluster.

– Vi skal gjøre veien til det amerikanske markedet enklere og raskere for våre medlemmer. Når alle helseklyngene samarbeider, øker effekten av arbeidet, uavhengig av hvilken klynge selskapene er en del av. Vi representerer fire ulike industrisegmenter, men mulighetene for å jobbe smart sammen for å øke eksporten av norsk helseindustri, er store, sier Ranger.

– Det er mange gode norske oppstartsbedrifter med stort potensial for å lykkes i USA. Gjennom dette samarbeidet får de verdifulle kontakter mot industriledende eksperter, viktige fagmiljøer og ikke minst til investorer. Disse selskapene står i kapitalintensive utviklingsløp med høy risiko, og mange er avhengig av investorer i utlandet for å lykkes, avslutter Ranger.

Chelsea Ranger, prosjektleder i The Life Science Cluster.

Chelsea Ranger, prosjektleder i The Life Science Cluster.

En felles innsats

USA er blant de tre høyest prioriterte markedene for internasjonalisering og eksport hos de fire klyngene. Dette prosjektet legger til rette for å utnytte kontaktflater, kompetanse, medlemsmasse og allerede etablerte nettverk i ulike deler av USA.

Prosjektet er en felles innsats, og ledes av Trine Radmann fra Norway Health Tech.

– Vi tror fantastiske ting vil skje når de fire helseklyngene i Norge jobber sammen mot det amerikanske markedet. Forventningene er skyhøye til hva vi kan gjøre for å lette veien inn til verdens største helsemarked for norske helseselskap. Vi skal lytte, bygge kunnskap og hjelpe bedriftene. Veikartet til USA som nå skal utvikles gjennom dette programmet, kan brukes for fremtidige generasjoner av unge selskap som ser mot USA, sier Radmann.

Bilde av Trine Radmann, prosjektansvarlig og prosjektleder i Norway Health Tech

Trine Radmann, prosjektansvarlig for USA Neste! og prosjektleder i Norway Health Tech.

 

Om USA Neste!

FINANSIERING: Viken Fylkeskommune

HVEM: Norwegian Smart Care Cluster, Norway Health Tech, Oslo Cancer Cluster og The Life Science Cluster

HVA: Aktivitetene i prosjektet deles overordnet inn i fire områder:

  • Kartlegging/mobilisering
  • Opplæringsprogram
  • Internasjonalisering
  • Eksponering

OPPSTART: Prosjektet starter i januar 2022

KONTAKT: Ta kontakt med en av de fire prosjektlederne om du er interessert i mer informasjon:

Prosjektet er muliggjort av Viken Fylkeskommune.

Logo til Viken Fylkeskommune, blå skrift på hvit bakgrunn

 

A common road map secures the path to the American health market

From next year, the four health clusters in Norway will collaborate on a roadmap for companies looking at the American market.

This is a translated text from the Norwegian article above. 

With over 700,000 health companies, the United States has the largest health industry globally. Viken County Municipality supports and enables the project for the health clusters.

The project is called «USA next! Roadmap to internationalization for health companies », starting in January 2022. The four health clusters that join forces on the project are the Norwegian Smart Care Cluster, Norway Health Tech, Oslo Cancer Cluster, and The Life Science Cluster.

“The goal of the project is to help companies with international investment. Based on the overall knowledge and experience the clusters have gained over time, we will develop a better roadmap by collaborating, than each for us. The synergies will help to accelerate the companies’ internationalization and export activities further so that growth in turnover, jobs, and value creation will take place faster than if this collaboration didn’t happen,” says Therese Oppegaard from Norwegian Smart Care Cluster.

The United States is an important international market with great potential. Companies that succeed there have a high probability of success in other markets. When the clusters now join forces for internationalization, a logical step is to seek cooperation with Innovation Norway to optimize the work.

“The project USA next! will give entrepreneurs and scaling companies access to expertise and networks they otherwise don’t have access to,” Oppegaard states. 

One step further

The international aspect of developing better cancer drugs and diagnostics has always been important for Oslo Cancer Cluster, who will build on previous international initiatives with this new collaboration. – We want to create new insights, new forums, and opportunities for new collaboration for our members, and for the national ecosystem we have for health innovation, says Jutta Heix, Head of International Affairs in the Oslo Cancer Cluster, and project manager from the cluster.

“By strengthening the networks for clusters and health industries between Norway and the US, we can also provide better support to start-up and biotech companies on their way to new business opportunities,” says Heix.

Chelsea Ranger, business developer and investor advisor, contributing in the collaborative project from The Life Science Cluster, adds:

“We will make the road to the American market easier and faster for our members. When all the health clusters work together, the effect of the work increases, regardless of which cluster the companies are part of. The clusters represent four different industry segments, but the opportunities for working smart together to increase exports of the Norwegian health industry are great.”

“There are many good Norwegian start-up companies with great potential for success in the US. Through this collaboration, they gain valuable contacts with industry-leading experts, important professional environments and not least investors. These companies are in capital-intensive development races with high risk, and many depend on international investors to succeed,” Ranger concludes.

The United States is among the three most prioritized markets for internationalization and exports for the four clusters. This project facilitates the utilization of contact surfaces, expertise, membership and already established networks in various parts of the USA.

The project is a joint effort, and is led by Trine Radmann from Norway Health Tech.

“We think fantastic things will happen when the four health clusters in Norway work together towards the American market. Expectations are sky high for what we can do to facilitate the way into the world’s largest health market for Norwegian health companies. We will listen, build knowledge, and help companies. The road map to the USA, which will now be developed through this program, can be used for future generations of young companies looking towards the USA,” says Radmann.

The project starts in January 2022, contact one of the four contact persons below if you are interested in more information:

The project is made possible by Viken Fylkeskommune

Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg hosted the latest Northern Future Forum 30 October 2018. During the forum, the Prime Ministers of the Nordic and the Baltic countries and the UK came together in Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park to discuss health technologies and the role these crucial technologies can play in the health systems of the future. In this picture, the ministers get a guided tour of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator and the laboratories with Ketil Widerberg as their guide. Photo: Kilian Munch/Statsministerens kontor

Let us cooperate on precise health technologies

International cooperation is key to fulfilling our vision of making cancer treatments more precise, and giving the patients new treatments more quickly.

This opinion piece is written by Ketil Widerberg, General Manager at Oslo Cancer Cluster. It was first published in the Norwegian newspaper Today’s Medicine, Dagens Medisin, 30 October 2018. 

The countries in Northern Europe have contributed to developing medical treatments that we today could not imagine living without. From the British discovery of antibiotics to the Danish development of a treatment for diabetes. Once again it is time for Northern European health innovation, this time in the field of health technology. What might the prime ministers from Northern Europe focus on when they meet in Oslo on 30 October to discuss health technology?

They might want to point out concrete and state-of-the-art initiatives from their respective countries. It could be Swedish biobanks, Finnish artificial intelligence, Danish health data, English genomics and Estonian health blockchain. These are exciting initiatives that make medicine more precise. This is particularly important when it comes to cancer because more precise treatments could save lives and limit the late effects resulting from imprecise treatment.

This opinion piece is written by Ketil Widerberg, General Manager at Oslo Cancer Cluster. It was first published in the Norwegian newspaper Today’s Medicine, Dagens Medisin, 30 October 2018.

At the same time, we see the contours of serious challenges arising with more precise medicine, such as each unit becoming more expensive. Smaller patient groups also mean that it is harder to find enough patients to understand the biological processes and the consequences of new medical treatments. As the prime ministers gather in Oslo to discuss health technology and plan the road ahead, it would not be amiss for them to look back in time and find inspiration from another technological development.

Precise through cooperation
In the 1990s, the search engine Yahoo helped us to quality-assure by categorising and being precise when we needed information on the internet. Yahoo thus contributed to the internet changing the world. However, the amount of data soon became enormous and complex, and a never-ending need for resources and experts arose. The traditional categorisation to ensure quality and structure the data became an impossible task.

This is very similar to what is happening in the health field today. We are constantly collecting more data and educating an increasing number of experts. With a few exceptions, every country is now collecting their data in their own registers and using a great deal of resources on assuring the quality of the data. The countries are rightfully proud of their initiatives. In Norway, we are proud of our biobanks and our health registers, such as the Cancer Registry of Norway. At the same time, we need to ask ourselves whether this national strategy really is the smartest way forward.

Let us go back to Yahoo. Towards the end of the 1990s, some engineers in California thought differently about the internet. How about using cooperation as a quality indicator? Instead of categorising, the links between the websites could ensure data quality. This is how Google was born, and we got precision, quality and insight into data that changed the world.

There are different challenges in the health field than on the internet. Data are more sensitive and the consequences for individuals can often be more dire. At the same time, health technology, in many ways, has reached the same point as the internet faced in the 1990s.  We do not have the quantity, the methods for analysis, or the quality to fully exploit the data to gather insight, or for treatment or innovation – yet.

From Yahoo to Google level
One way in which we could tackle the health technology challenges the data present us with is through international cooperation. It is about two things: to gather enough data, and to analyse the data to provide better and more precise treatment. The initiatives so far are promising, but they lack the potential to make the leap from Yahoo to Google.

The Northern European prime ministers can probably acknowledge this. The question is: what can they do? Should they encourage smart young engineers to analyse health data instead of developing the next app? Or should they change the way the hospitals buy technology?

A step in the right direction could be to look at what works best in the other countries. At the same time, we need to avoid new initiatives merely becoming a better horse-drawn carriage. Are there initiatives in existence that are scalable internationally so that we can bring health data up to the next level together? The answer is yes, but it requires visionary initiatives that have not been done anywhere else.

Common clinical studies
An area that the prime ministers will be able to highlight is a Northern European initiative for clinical studies. Together, the countries have a large number of patients, which gives researchers and doctors a better basis in their studies to understand more and provide better treatment. Such an initiative could also use health data from the national health services collected on a daily basis in several countries, known as real world data, instead of eventual clinical studies with patients over several years. This would be both quicker and much cheaper.

The prime ministers might also agree on cooperating on Northern European genetics. For 13 years, we collaborated on mapping our genes in the international  Human Genome Project. Now we need to get together to understand genes and treat the patients. With prioritised funding, genetics will soon be a part of the everyday clinical life in England. We can learn a lot from their experience.

Artificial intelligence
Lastly, the Northern European prime ministers may wish to collaborate on artificial intelligence in the health field. Today, cancer treatment, for instance, often only works on three out of ten patients. Artificial intelligence will change how we understand diseases such as cancer and how we treat the patients. The experiences from Finland of introducing artificial intelligence will help other countries to understand where the barriers are and where help might be needed first.

Oslo Cancer Cluster’s vision is to make cancer treatment more precise and provide new treatments more quickly to the patients. We see that international cooperation is key to obtaining this goal. As a result, we could also discover diseases more quickly and reduce the costs of the national health services. We hope the Northern European prime ministers will delve into these issues when they meet to discuss the health technologies of the future here with us.

By Ketil Widerberg, General Manager at Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Ketil Widerberg, General Manager at Oslo Cancer Cluster, opened the meeting on intelligent and personalized algorithms to prevent cancer 20 September 2018.

American tech and Norwegian health data

Combining country scale population data with world class computer systems and algorithms will push the boundaries of precision medicine.

This is a story about the unique American-Norwegian collaboration that combines the best health data with the most powerful computers in a pioneer project run by Cancer Registry of Norway and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Data to screen cancer 
The ongoing project was initiated after a talk on tech between the General Manager of Oslo Cancer Cluster and a Senior Scientist from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Some months later, in San Francisco, a meeting room was filled with some of the world’s best minds on cancer and technology. The Norwegians knew cancer and the Americans knew computing. The outcome was unknown. 

They identified a concrete challenge. Can we see patterns in data to screen cancer more precisely?

The quest resulted in a successful cooperation between Lawrence Livermore and the Cancer Registry in January 2016 where a team from the Cancer Registry started the first project on cervical cancer. If successful, they would potentially identify and screen high risk patients earlier and leave the low risk patients unburdened. 

Now there are two ongoing projects, one on cervical cancer and one on multitask learning for cancer. The goal is to make predictions more accurate and improve precision medicine. 

– If successful we can potentially identify and screen high risk earlier and leave the low risk unburdened. The individual and social impact of such a strategy is significant. This may be the reason why Joe Biden mentioned details from this project at a UN Assembly last year, Widerberg said.

Former Vice President Joe Biden led the American cancer initiative known as the Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel. Two years ago, when the collaborative project between Norway and the USA had just started, the Blue Ribbon Panel released a report describing ten transformative research recommendations for achieving the Cancer Moonshot’s ambitious goal of making a decade’s worth of progress in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment in just 5 years.

One of the ten recommendations was to expand use of proven cancer prevention and early detection strategies.

The major research questions
– One of the major research questions right now is How do we design the optimal screening programs? Another is how to actually take advantage of the registry data that we have, said Giske Ursin, Director of the Cancer Registry of Norway.

In Norway, and similarly in the other Nordic countries, we have registries on various diseases, pregnancy/births, vaccinations, work history/unemployment, income and much more. We have data sets dating from the 1950s. That is unique in the world. 

– If you look at enough data, you can find interesting links that can be explored in the clinical world or elsewhere. For instance; how do other diseases affect cancer diseases? We need international expertise to cover areas we are not experts on ourselves, she said, showing a picture of one of the super computers at Lawrence Livermore.

Cancer and national security
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is a national security laboratory and part of the U.S Department of Energy. The laboratory has over 5000 employees, of which at least half are engineers and researchers.

– We have the mandate from the government to push the forefront on subjects like bio security. Precision medicine is alined with the bio security mission, but it is even more relevant to the super computing research mandate. What are the next types of problems that will move this forward? Biomedical data complexity. That is why we are in this, Ana Paula de Oliveira Sales from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory said in her presentation. 

Some ingredients of the project on cervical cancer is to improve cancer outcome prediction by combining disparate cancer types. The preliminary results are encouraging.

 

Break down barriers
John-Arne Røttingen, CEO of the Research Council of Norway, gave a talk on how collaborations between the Nordic countries and other countries are important for population based clinical research and health research.

– Personalized medicine is full of promise and we want to contribute to this progress, but we cannot do this only with our data. We have to collaborate with other countries and with different fields of research, he said.

One important country in that respect is of course the USA.

Kenneth J. Braithwaite, U.S Ambassador to Norway, talked about the opportunities with the Norwegian databases in a meeting in the Oslo Cancer Cluster innovation park 20 September 2018.

— I have learned the past few years that data is king, and we need to wrap our arms around this. I think there is a responsibility from the governments to begin to break down the barriers and truly find a cure to cancer. That’s what we are up against, said U.S. Ambassador to Norway Kenneth J. Braithwaite, who is Rear Admiral of United States Navy (Retired).

— As we say in the Navy, full speed ahead!

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.