Oncoimmunity, Vaccibody, Nextera and Nordic Nanovector granted BIA-funding

The Norwegian Research Council granted  Oslo Cancer Cluster member companies Oncoimmunity, Vaccibody, Nextera and Nordic Nanovector funding through the Programme for User-Driven Research Based Innovation (BIA).

In total, the Norwegian Research Council will grant 532 MNOK to 50 Norwegian companies, of which 10 are within biomedicine.

Oncoimmunity, Vaccibody, Nextera and Nordic Nanovector will receive between 15-20 million NOK each over 4 years, depending on the outcome of the contract negotiations between the council and the companies. Funding from the BIA programme is a quality stamp since the companies compete in “open class” where all sectors are represented.


Titles for the granted innovation projects:

  • Vaccibody: Targeted Personalized Therapeutic Cancer Vaccines
    Press release from Vaccibody
  • Nordic Nanovector: Development of Two New Antibody Radionuclide Conjugates for Treatment of Malignant Lymphoma and Leukemia
  • Oncoimmunity: Software for profiling tumor neo-antigens to empower cancer immunotherapy
  • Nextera: Novel targeted therapy for treating Leukemia

More information about the BIA-grants: Forskningsrådet investerer en halv milliard i innovative bedrifter

600MNOK in seed capital funds

Oslo Cancer Cluster member Sarsia Seed and Tromsø-based Norinnova have been given the managment of two new national seed capital funds on MNOK 300 in total by the Norwegian government. The money will be matched by privat capital. Sarsia Seed invests in life science/biotech and energy companies, whilst Norinnova invests in research based industrial biotech companies, oil and gass, marine and aquaculture.

SarsiaSeed has invested in Oslo Cancer Cluster members Vaccibody, BerGen Bio, Apim Therapeutics and 19 other companies within biotech/energy. Watch a short presentation on SarsiaSeed here.

– We are pleased that Sarsia Seed is the manager of one of the two new seed funds. The biotech sector needs competent investors as Sarsia Seed, says Jónas Einarsson, CEO of Radium Hospital Research Foundation.

The new funds will probably make their first investements in Q2 2016.


In Norwegian – from Innovation Norway´s home page:

Nye forvaltere av landsdekkende såkornfond
Styret i Innovasjon Norge har i dag besluttet å gi Sarsia Seed Management i Bergen og Norinnova Forvaltning i Tromsø ansvaret for forvaltningen av to nye landsdekkende såkornfond. Fondene skal nå sørge for at frisk såkornkapital på til sammen 600 millioner kroner blir brukt til å skape utvikling i norske vekstbedrifter.

– Norsk næringsliv er i omstilling. For å utvikle ny virksomhet trengs det egenkapital i såkornfasen. De nye såkornfondene skal bidra til det. Her samarbeider offentlig og privat kapital om å styrke satsingsvillige og innovative bedrifter over hele landet. Dette er viktig for utviklingen av et fremtidsrettet norsk næringsliv, sier administrerende direktør Anita Krohn Traaseth i Innovasjon Norge.

Fremtidens næringsliv
Regjeringen besluttet i vår opprettelsen av to nye landsdekkende såkornfond.
Fondene skal investere i unge, innovative bedrifter med internasjonalt vekstpotensial. Innovasjon Norge har nå valgt forvaltere til de nye fondene. Fondet i Bergen skal forvaltes av Sarsia Seed Management og vil særlig rette seg mot bransjer knyttet til life-science og energi. Fondet i Nord-Norge skal ledes av Norinnova Forvaltning i Tromsø, og som vil være spesielt rettet mot forskningsbaserte bedrifter innenfor industriell bioteknologi, olje og gass, marin sektor og akvakultur.
Hvert fond vil investere i 15 til 20 bedrifter, og skal drives p markedsmessige vilkår.

– Unge, innovative bedrifter skaper nye arbeidsplasser. Såkornfond bidrar med penger og kompetanse, slik at vi kan få enda flere vekstselskaper i Norge. Jeg håper og tror at investorer i hele landet vil være med på å bygge opp fremtidens næringsliv, sier næringsminister Monica Mæland.

Kompetanse og nettverk
De nye såkornfondene skal hovedsakelig konsentrere seg om prosjekter Norge, men de kan også investere i internasjonalt. Denne fleksibiliteten skal gi fondene bedre mulighet til å hente inn penger, kompetanse og nettverk fra miljøer utenfor Norge.

Gjennom såkornfondene avlaster staten private investorer for risiko. Målet er at investorene kan bruke mer tid og kompetanse på å utvikle nye bedrifter. De to nye såkornfondene vil være på minimum 300 millioner kroner. Staten deltar med 150 millioner kroner i hvert fond. Investorene må stille med minst samme beløp.

Forvalterne skal hente inn privat kapital i månedene fremover. De nye fondene vil trolig gjøre sine første investeringer sommeren 2016.


Lytix Biopharma, Vaccibody and Regencis selected for the venture session at DNB Healthcare Conference

The venture session at the DNB Healthcare Conference features three Oslo Cancer Cluster member companies: Lytix Biopharma, Vaccibody and Regencis. They will all present in session five: Therapeutics, that starts at 15:00. See below for the full program. 

The venture session is part of the DNB Healthcare Conference on December 2015. In paralell to the venture seesion, there will be presentations of listed companies that features several Oslo Cancer Cluster members as well. See information on this here.


Session one: Medical Devices

Session two: Ultrasound and imaging based medtech companies
IC Target



Session three: M-Health
Pattern Solutions
X Center

Lunch and DNB Health Care Prize

Session four: Diagnostics
Genetic Analysis
Spiro Medical

Session five: Therapeutics
Lytix Biopharma
Pharmasum Therapeutics

Vaccibody and Ultimovacs nominated to DNB HealthCare Prize on 1 MNOK

DNB wants to contribute to a growth industry in Norway and has established a healthcare prize for early stage healthcare companies within pharmaceuticals, biotech, medtech and diagnostics. Of the six nominated for the DNB HealthCare Prize on 1 MNOK, two of them are members of the Oslo Cancer Cluster: Vaccibody and Ultimovacs. The other nominees are: Spiro Medical, Glucoset, Picterus and Labrida.

The winner will be announced and given the prize money by Rune Bjerke, CEO of DNB at the DNB Healthcare Conference on December 15. Companies will be evaluated on their business potential, innovation capacity and ability to execute. The prize is NOK1m and the six finalists will each hold a six-minute pitch for the jury and the audience. You are invited to vote for your favourite candidate.




Targovax in agreement with Ludwig Cancer Research and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI)

Ludwig Cancer Research and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) announced today an agreement with Oslo Cancer Cluster member Targovax to evaluate its experimental virotherapy, ONCOS-102, in early phase clinical trials testing the virotherapy in combination with other, potentially synergistic immunotherapies such as checkpoint inhibitors.

“We believe oncolytic virotherapy-in which engineered viruses are deployed against cancer cells-holds considerable promise, especially for boosting the efficacy and expanding the applicability of compatible immunotherapies,” said Jonathan Skipper, executive director of technology development at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. “This kind of clinical research is precisely what our collaboration with CRI is all about, and certainly a key component of our mission to apply our life-changing science as quickly as possible to cancer patients everywhere.”

ONCOS-102 is an engineered human serotype 5 adenovirus optimized to induce systemic anti-tumor T cell response in cancer patients. A gene encoding granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF), which was originally discovered by Ludwig researchers in Melbourne, is inserted into the virus genome and expressed as the virus replicates in tumor cells.

“Our partnership with Targovax and Ludwig is an important step forward in efforts to discover and develop optimally effective immunotherapy treatment regimens,” said Adam Kolom, managing director of CRI’s Clinical Accelerator and venture fund that will support this trial. “This strategic partnership is the latest in a series of CRI-Ludwig collaborations with pharmaceutical companies to test novel combination treatments, and will enable us to explore an innovative new way to create a more favorable tumor microenvironment for an immune attack on cancer.”

“We are delighted about this partnership and what may come out of it. Targovax R&D will have access to the well-known expertise and network of CRI and Ludwig Cancer Research, which provides us with new opportunities for combinatorial research. The focus will be on mechanistic synergies with clinical impact combining ONCOS-102 with other immune therapies to the potential benefit of patient care in the future,” says Magnus Jaderberg, chief medical officer at Targovax.


About Ludwig Cancer Research

Ludwig Cancer Research is an international collaborative network of acclaimed scientists that has pioneered cancer research and landmark discovery for more than 40 years. Ludwig combines basic science with the ability to translate its discoveries and conduct clinical trials to accelerate the development of new cancer diagnostics and therapies. Since 1971, Ludwig has invested nearly $2.7 billion in life-changing science through the not-for-profit Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research and the six U.S.-based Ludwig Centers. To learn more, visit www.ludwigcancerresearch.org.

About the Cancer Research Institute

The Cancer Research Institute (CRI), established in 1953, is the world’s only non-profit organization dedicated exclusively to transforming cancer patient care by advancing scientific efforts to develop new and effective immune system-based strategies to prevent, diagnose, treat, and cure cancer. Guided by a world-renowned Scientific Advisory Council that includes three Nobel laureates and 27 members of the National Academy of Sciences, CRI has invested $311 million in support of research conducted by immunologists and tumor immunologists at the world’s leading medical centers and universities, and has contributed to many of the key scientific advances that demonstrate the potential for immunotherapy to change the face of cancer treatment. Learn more at www.cancerresearch.org.


About Targovax

Targovax is a clinical stage immuno-oncology company developing targeted immunotherapy treatments for cancer patients. Targovax has a broad and diversified immune therapy portfolio and aim to become a leader in its area. The company is currently developing two complementary and highly targeted approaches in immuno-oncology:

Oncos 102 is a virus-based immunotherapy platform based on engineered oncolytic viruses armed with potent immune-stimulating transgenes targeting solid tumors. This treatment may reinstate the immune system’s capacity to recognize and attack cancer cells.

TG01 is a peptide-based immunotherapy platform targeting the difficult to treat RAS mutations found in more than 85% of pancreatic cancers and 20-30% of all cancers. Targovax works towards demonstrating that TG01 will prolong time to cancer progression, increase survival and improve safety and tolerability.

The product candidates will be developed in combination with multiple treatments in several cancer indications, including checkpoint inhibitors. Targovax also has a number of other cancer immune therapy candidates in the early stage of development. For more information visit our website at www.targovax.com.


For further information, please contact:

Rachel Steinhardt

Vice President of Communications, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research

rsteinhardt@licr.org or +1-212-450-1582


Brian Brewer

Director of Marketing and Communications, Cancer Research Institute

bbrewer@cancerresearch.org or +1-212-688-7515 x242


Gunnar Gårdemyr

Chief Executive Officer, Targovax

ggardemyr@targovax.com or +41 798 340 585

HealthCap opens office in Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator

HealthCap, a leading life science venture capital firm, has opened office in the newly established incubator in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park. HealthCap also becomes a member of the Oslo Cancer Cluster.


HealthCap recognizes the emerging life sciences industry in Norway. “The strong environment created in the dedicated oncology cluster, bringing together all parts of the oncology value chain at the world renowned Radiumhospitalet, holds promise to play an important role in the development of the next generations of oncology treatments. We look forward to take part in and contribute to this important endeavor”, says Björn Odlander, managing partner of HealthCap.

HealthCap has retained Ludvik Sandnes to supervise the Norwegian operations. Ludvik Sandnes is a special advisor to HealthCap and has more than 40 years of experience from international corporate finance and asset management. He is currently the chairman of the listed Norwegian oncology company Nordic Nanovector AS.


HealthCap will host a seminar at the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park on December 9th at 12.30.
Please sign up here, the program will be published shortly.

The CEO of Oslo Cancer Cluster and Chairman of the Board of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, Ketil Widerberg says “We are extremely happy to have HealthCap on board both in the Oslo Cancer Cluster and in the Incubator. HealthCap´s track record of investing in life science is impressing, and their competence and network will be valuable for further building a viable oncology industry based on excellent cancer research at Norwegian academic institutions.”

HealthCap invests in companies developing targeted therapies for rare diseases, cancer and genetic diseases, among others. HealthCap was the lead investor in the Norwegian oncology company Algeta, which was acquired by Bayer for USD 2.9 bn, and is the largest shareholder in the Norwegian oncology companies Nordic Nanovector AS and Targovax AS.

Purely focused on oncology, the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park and Incubator, will ensure that bright ideas in the lab benefit cancer patients faster than today.


For more information, please contact:

Björn Odlander, managing partner HealthCap,  email: bjorn.odlander@healthcap.eu, phone: +46 8 442 58 50

Johan Christenson, partner HealthCap, email: johan.christenson@healthcap.eu, phone: +46 8 442 58 50

Ketil Widerberg, CEO Oslo Cancer Cluster and Chairman of the Board Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, email: kw@oslocancercluster.no, phone: +47 915 77 990



HealthCap is a leading European venture capital firm investing exclusively and globally in life sciences. A cornerstone of the strategy is to invest in companies developing therapeutic interventions that have the potential to significantly improve patient outcomes. HealthCap backs companies developing targeted therapies for rare diseases, orphan drugs, cancer and genetic diseases, among others. The HealthCap team of ten partners, five of whom are MD PhDs, has established its reputation as one of Europe’s preeminent life science specialists amongst VCs and entrepreneurs. See more at: www.healthcap.eu


Oslo Cancer Cluster
Oslo Cancer Cluster is a strong biotech cluster well positioned in the global oncology industry. The cluster is particularly strong in immuno-oncology and works to release the potential that lies within Norwegian oncology registries and bio banks. 70 members make up the cluster and represent the entire oncology value chain. www.oslocancercluster.no


Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator
Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator offers lab and office space to researchers and biotechs developing cancer treatments, as well as companies offering competence, services and an international network crucial to succeed in this globally competitive area. The incubator´s over all aim is to develop more companies based on excellent cancer research as well as to contribute to their success. Today, more than X companies are part of the incubator. www.occincubator.com


Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park AS

Total space: 36 000 m²

Vision: The vision of the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park is to create Europe’s leading environment for education, research and industry within oncology, while also shortening the time it takes to develop new cancer medication and diagnostics.

Tenants: Oslo University Hospital, The Institute for Cancer Genetics and Informatics, Norwegian Cancer Registry, Oslo Cancer Cluster SA, Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator AS, The Norwegian Radium Hospital Research Foundation, The Oslo Hospital Pharmacy, Ullern High School and leading Norwegian biotech companies such as Ultimovacs and PCI Biotech.

Owners: OBOS, Industrifinans, Radium Hospital Foundation, Utstillingsplassen Eiendom, Oslo Cancer Cluster and Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

Opened officially August 24 2015 by the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg.



Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator: Hottest bioincubator in the Nordics

According to The European Biotech News Website, Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator is ranked as the hottest bioincubator in the Nordics as well as the 6th hottest bioincubator in Europe. The Top 10 ranking is subject to several criteria. You may read the whole list here.

Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator just opened its premises in the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park August this year and is home to around 20 companies,  instituitons and consultants.

The incubator´s ultimate goal is to contribute to the succesful commercialisation of cancer research performed in Norway. This will provide patients with new cancer treatments and at the same time build a much needed knowledge based health industry in Norway.


DNB Health Care Conference

DNB Health Care Conference on December 15 features many of Oslo Cancer Cluster member companies. See more information on the program below and use this chance to build competence, broaden your professional network and gain insight into what lies ahead for the market in 2016. 

There will also be a parallel venture session, organised by DNB together with Oslo Medtech, Oslo Cancer Cluster and Nansen Neuro. The companies presenting here have not been selected yet.

DNB Health Care Conference: Invitation and agenda 2015

DNB Healthcare Prize 2015
DNB wants to contribute to a growth industry in Norway and has established a healthcare prize for early stage healthcare companies within pharmaceuticals, biotech, medtech and diagnostics. Companies will be evaluated on their business potential, innovation capacity and ability to execute.
The prize is NOK1m and the six finalists will each hold a six-minute pitch for the jury and the audience.
You are invited to vote for your favourite candidate.
Please join us and our CEO, Rune Bjerke, when we announce the winner of the DNB Healthcare Prize 2015.

Registration: www.meetmax.com/dnbhcc2015

The programme will feature company presentations and Q&A sessions, and institutional investors will have the opportunity to meet management in one-on-one or small group meetings.


08:30-09:00       Registration and Breakfast
09:00-09:30       BerGenBio, CEO Richard S. Godfrey
09:30-10:00       Targovax, CEO Gunnar Gårdemyr + CMO Magnus Jäderberg
10:00-10:30        Nordic Nanovector, CEO Luigi Costa
10:30-10:45        Coffee Break
10:45-11:15         Elekta, Director & Head of IR Johan Andersson
11:15-11:45          GenMab, SVP, IR & Communication Rachel Curtis Gravesen
11:45-12:15        Lunch
12:00-13:00       DNB Healthcare Prize 2015* (parallel session)
12:15-12:45        Medistim, CEO Kari Krogstad
12:45-13:15       Speed Presentations:
Serodus, CEO Eva Steiness
PCI Biotech, CEO Per Walday
Vistin Pharma, CEO Kjell-Erik Nordby
13:15-13:30       Coffee Break
13:30-13:55       Vitrolife, CEO Thomas Axelsson
13:55-14:20       Recipharm, TBA
14:20-14:45       Wilson, CEO Jonas Hansson
14:45-15:00       Coffee Break
15:00-15:25       Weifa, CEO Kathrine Gamborg Andreassen + CFO Simen Nyberg-Hansen
15:25-15:50       Bionor Pharma, CEO David Horn Solomon
15:50-16:15       Photocure, CEO Kjetil Hestdal
16:15                  Cocktail Reception

Only available for 1:1 meetings: Gentian, CEO Bård Sundrehagen
The agenda is subject to change

Oslo Cancer Cluster companies pitching at Norwegian Investment Forum

4 Oslo Cancer Cluster member companies will pitch at Norwegian Investment Forum during Oslo Innovation Week Thursday October 15th: Vaccibody/picture above/, Nordic Nanovector, Regenics and Phoenix Soloutions

Our companies will pitch during the Health & Life Science sessions at the forum, chaired by Kathrine Myhre, CEO Oslo Medtech. Norwegian Investments Forum is a full day event – but you may join the the Health & Life Science sessions FOR FREE – they are at 10:30 am, second at 2:10 pm. The event is at Forskningsparken in Oslo.

Read more and register to participate on www.norwegianinvestmentforum.no.  
If you enter code word #occ you’ll get 25% off the registration fee – this is for participating the whole day.

Nextera AS announces research collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Nextera, a Norwegian biotechnology company focused on developing novel and highly disease-specific immunotherapies for autoimmune diseases, cancer and chronic infections announces today that it has entered into a research agreement with Janssen Biotech, Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.  The Johnson & Johnson Innovation Centre in London facilitated the research agreement.


Under terms of the agreement, Nextera will, with use of its unique technology platform, undertake certain verification studies to determine the applicability of Nexteras technology platform within rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Janssen will fund the research program, and will have an option for an exclusive worldwide license to the Nextera technology platform within RA.

“This research agreement represents Nextera´s first collaboration with a global biopharmaceutical company. We believe that our unique technology platform can offer great benefits in the development of new and improved treatment modalities for patients with autoimmune diseases, cancer and chronic infections. Thus, we are very enthusiastic for the collaboration with Janssen, a world leader in innovative drug development, and the opportunity we now have within rheumatoid arthritis,” said Thomas Andersen, CEO of Nextera.


About Nextera 

Nextera is a privately owned Norwegian biotech company. Our approach is to manipulate the disease at the initiation of the escalating immune cascade by identifying and subsequently targeting the principal causative agent.  The core technology of the company is our phage display engine, which we apply in protein engineering and evolution of T cell receptors and MHC class II molecules. The technology is developed by Nexteras CSO, Dr. Geir Åge Løset who co-founded the company as a spin out from his work at the group of Professor Inger Sandlie and the Centre for Immune Regulation, University of Oslo. The main shareholders of Nextera are The Norwegian Radium Hospital Research Foundation and Birk Venture AS.