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

Member companies secure NOK 92 Million

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thrilled and Grateful

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

man Withith dark hair and gray jacket presenting slides on stage

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


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

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

Thorbjørn Furuseth CEO of DoMore Diagnostics. Photo: DoMore.


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

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

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

Hemispherian CEO, Zeno Albisser. Photo: Hemispherian.


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

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

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


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

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

man smiling wearing dark jacket standing in front of white background

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


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

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

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

woman standing in fron of white wall

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

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

New incubator board member

Thomas London

Thomas London has joined the board of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator

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

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

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

This is the entire incubator board. 

An active board member

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

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

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

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

Expanding the innovation park

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

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

Arcitect model of buildings

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

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


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Karsten Rydén-Eilertsen, Head of Proton Therapy Physics at Oslo University Hospital, is testing the new technology from Kongsberg Beam Technology in a clinical environment, and hopes to improve the precision of radiation therapy.

AI for more precise radiation therapy

Artificial intelligence is changing the way radiation therapy is used to combat cancer.

A Norwegian technology, developed by the company Kongsberg Beam Technology to improve the precision of external beam radiation therapy, is being tested at Oslo University Hospital.

“There are almost half a million Norwegians living with cancer today. Many more cancer patients survive after radiation therapy, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the patients get well. What concerns us most today is to create treatment plans with less side effects,” said Karsten Rydén-Eilertsen, Head of Proton Therapy Physics at Oslo University Hospital and responsible for the test project.

Huge developments

Karsten Rydén-Eilertsen has worked with radiation therapy at Oslo University Hospital for 33 years. He remembers when the doctors had to make radiotherapy plans for cancer patients using only 2D X-ray images and palpating the tumour site with their hands. Medical physicists and radiotherapy technicians would calculate the dose using standardised charts.

“I have experienced an explosive development in the field of radiation therapy against cancer. We now only use three- and four-dimensional images that we transfer to a sophisticated treatment planning system, where we can outline the tumour and vital organs in detail. There are advanced algorithms for calculating the exact right doses for the individual patient,” Rydén-Eilertsen explained.

These developments are thanks to major advancements in imaging technology, computer power, programming and data handling.

“The big difference today is that the level of personalisation and precision is much higher. We can deposit a high dose of radiation that can destroy the tumour while sparing healthy tissue,” Rydén-Eilertsen commented.

Still many side-effects

With radiation therapy, doctors aim to eradicate the tumour, while minimizing the damage to healthy tissue and vital organs.

“It is a difficult balancing act, because sometimes the organs are so close to the tumour that you can’t avoid affecting them with radiation. Sometimes, you need to choose between destroying the tumour and keeping a vital organ,” Rydén-Eilertsen said.

This dilemma isn’t unique for radiation therapy, but is also true for other cancer treatments, such as surgery and chemotherapy.

“With radiation therapy, you will never have zero radiation dose to the surrounding tissue. There will always be some side-effects. My hope with proton therapy is that these side effects will be reduced,” added Rydén-Eilertsen.

Photons vs. protons

Traditional radiation therapy involves beaming millions of photons through the patient’s body to the tumour. The photons deposit radiation all along their way through the body before exiting. It is not possible to control the photons to only deposit radiation to cancer cells.

“Proton therapy is different. Protons are heavy particles that loose most of their energy the moment they stop. By adjusting their initial speed, you can direct them to deposit most of the radiation dose at the site of the tumour. This means that you don’t affect tissue ‘behind’ the tumour and there is minimal damage ‘in front’ of it. This opens for the possibility to greatly reduce side-effects,” explained Rydén-Eilertsen.

The challenge with protons however is that they are very sensitive to which type of tissue they pass through. The energy loss will be different in bone versus in fat.

“In proton therapy, changes in the patient’s body during treatment are critical. The anatomy of the patient may change from when we take the first CT scan for treatment planning to the day of treatment. A treatment course may take several weeks and involve 30-40 treatment sessions. The anatomy may change both between and during a session. Ideally, one may think that a new plan should be created for every session, but today we don’t have the resources for this. That is why we introduce margins to ensure that the tumour gets properly irradiated every time. Sometimes these margins need to be so large that the patient may still get side-effects,” said Rydén-Eilertsen.

First of its kind

This is where the MAMA-K technology developed by Kongsberg Beam Technology comes in. It can build a digital twin of the patient representing their anatomy as accurately as possible. The twin is created by using advanced mathematical models that allow for all image data sets to be combined into a longitudinal, virtual representation of the patient’s anatomy.

“With this mathematical modelling, we can visualize and quantify how the patient’s body, tumour and vital organs change over time, as well as, make an accurate scoring of the accumulated doses to the tumour and organs at risk,” said Rydén-Eilertsen.

This system will generate knowledge about how different cancer patients’ bodies, tumours and vital organs change while undergoing radiation therapy and the impact this may have on the delivered dose. This will be valuable when starting up proton therapy centres in Norway.

“The mathematical models may make it possible to even predict anatomical changes and the related consequences for the dosage. Artificial intelligence can tell us how the patient might look in 24 hours, so we can create a treatment plan accordingly. The next day, we can take a new CT image and compare if the AI’s prediction is correct. We can then introduce smaller margins, which will also reduce side-effects,” explained Rydén-Eilertsen.

There are 16 treatment machines that generate 3-dimensional data and 2 000 patient appointments every week at the Radium Hospital, generating a large volume of potential test data, which could map changes in cancer patients receiving radiation therapy.

“These data will be extremely valuable when we enter the era of proton therapy because they will tell us more about how patients’ bodies change. Then we can become better at adapting treatment plans and hitting the tumour directly,” explained Rydén-Eilertsen.

AI to identify organs

The next step will be to adjust the treatment plan while the patient is on the table by using real-time images. To accomplish this, the shape and location of the tumour and organs at risk must be extracted from the images. The use of AI will be crucial to realize the speed needed. AI models to identify different parts of the anatomy must be trained and tested – something Kongsberg Beam Technology hopes to have in place soon.

“One of the biggest workloads in radiation treatment today is that doctors must manually outline the tumour and organs at risk in the CT images. We have already tested AI methods to identify anatomic parts of the body, especially vital organs, and the models are very good at this. To find tumours is a different story. We have tested some models that can find breast tissue, and they work well. I think it is only a matter of technological development. A lot will happen in this area,” said Rydén-Eilertsen.

Norwegian proton therapy centres

There are two proton therapy centres being built in Norway and Rydén-Eilertsen believes the MAMA-K technology will be very useful in these centres.

“The exciting part about the establishment of proton therapy is that the number of patients eligible for treatment is quite small, perhaps between 100-200 patients every year, while the capacity of the centres is around 800 patients a year. About 70-80 per cent of patients will be recruited via clinical studies, which have the goal to document that side effects are less with protons than with photons. In this setting, it is super important to know what the patient looks like, and MAMA-K will be a useful tool to achieve this. I don’t know about anyone else that is developing this kind of technology. It is truly unique,” said Rydén-Eilertsen.


Kongsberg Beam Technology is a member of Oslo Cancer Cluster and participating in the Accelerator Programme at Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator. Read more about the company at their website https://www.kongsbergbeamtech.com/


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The research group OSCAR (short for Osteosarcoma and CAR) consists of Nadia Mensali, PhD; Sany Joaquina, MSc; Sébastien Wälchli, PhD, and Else Marit Inderberg, PhD.

New targeted therapy against osteosarcoma

A new cancer treatment against osteosarcoma has been developed in the labs of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator.

A new target for CAR therapy against osteosarcoma has been discovered in the Translational Research Unit at the Department of Cellular Therapy (Olso University Hospital). The results of their research, which was completed in the laboratories of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator, were recently published in an article in Nature Communications.

“CAR is a new type of molecule. It stands for Chimeric Antigen Receptor. It is part of a bigger family of cancer treatments called immunotherapy, in which you use the immune system of the patient to fight cancer,” explained Sébastien Wälchli, who has co-led this research project with Else Marit Inderberg.

A unique molecule

Chimeric antigen receptor therapy (CAR T) is a cancer treatment in which a patient’s T cells (a type of immune cell often referred to as the “foot soldiers” of the immune system) are changed in the laboratory so they will attack cancer cells.

“In the case of the CAR, we help the immune system to recognize cancer cells by putting in a completely artificial receptor. The key part of the receptor is the recognition site, so it will guide the immune cell to the tumour. Normally, we need a molecule that can recognize a cancer marker. The molecule of choice is an antibody,” said Wälchli.

The antibody that Wälchli’s group used was first isolated by clinical researcher and sarcoma expert Prof. Øyvind Bruland in 1986.

”We designed the CAR based on this antibody by using its coding sequence. This antibody is quite unique because it recognizes the marker on the surface of lung metastasis of osteosarcoma. We created a Osteosarcoma CAR (OSCAR) molecule to see if we could use the power of this antibody in immunotherapy and the results published in Nature Communications prove that we can,” explained Wälchli.

A full preclinical validation

The preclinical development of the treatment took place in the laboratories of Oslo Cancer Cluster Incubator which are fully equipped for such a process.

“We did a full preclinical validation of OSCAR using devices installed at the incubators for the in vitro and further tested it in vivo using different animal models where we mimicked what would happen in human. Our colleagues in Barcelona tested the injection of tumour cells directly into the bone of mice and observed a lower progression of cancer in the mice treated with OSCAR T cells, than we,” said Wälchli.

Furthermore, the group did experiments to check the toxicity of OSCAR T cells.

“We tried to predict using different healthy tissues if this CAR would only recognize tumour cells and spare healthy tissues. We concluded that it was safe, but before you inject it in human, you will never know for sure,” said Wälchli.

What is osteosarcoma?

Osteosarcoma is a bone cancer and affects many children and older people. It is quite well-treated with chemotherapy, but when it metastasizes to the lungs, it becomes more difficult to treat. Surgery can slow down the progression, but the cancer can reappear.

“This is where our hearts brought us. We are not choosing cancer by patient. We always talk with the clinicians. When we first discussed with Bruland, we did not know much about osteosarcoma. He told us about patients who have absolutely no alternative,” Wälchli explained.

There are other CARs in development against osteosarcoma globally, and some have already reached clinical phase, but none cover all patients.

“In the seminal paper of Bruland in 1986, they checked the biobank and estimated that 90 per cent of all osteosarcoma patients were positive to this antigen. This was confirmed by our collaborators in Spain. According to the first estimate, it looks like this marker is the most important that has been described so far,” said Wälchli.

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