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A new Swedish-Norwegian health industry collaboration

A collaboration agreement between AstraZeneca, Oslo Cancer Cluster, and Oslo Science City aims to strengthen the Nordic health industry by facilitating closer collaboration between researchers, startups, and pharmaceutical companies.

The focus on investment in the health industry in Norway gained momentum after Minister of Trade and Industry, Jan Christian Vestre announced at the Norway Life Science conference in February 2023 that the government would develop a roadmap for the health industry, writes Oslo Cancer Cluster and Oslo Science City in a joint article (in Norwegian).

Ahead of this year’s Norway Life Science conference, AstraZeneca, Oslo Cancer Cluster, and the innovation district Oslo Science City, are following up with a collaboration agreement to strengthen contacts and cooperation between Norwegian and Swedish research and innovation environments. The agreement will facilitate Norwegian startups’ access to residency at AstraZeneca’s innovation hub, BioVentureHub, in Gothenburg. Simultaneously, Swedish companies will have the opportunity to reside at Oslo Cancer Cluster and collaborate closely with their environments in cancer and precision medicine, as well as the outstanding research groups from the Radium Hospital, part of Oslo University Hospital, and the University of Oslo, which are gathered in Oslo Science City.

“It is important for AstraZeneca to contribute to the success of new startups and to strengthen the entire Nordic health industry. Therefore, we are very happy to participate in this collaboration, which will benefit all parties and build the Nordic region’s position internationally as a leading region in health and life sciences,” says Guro Bjøntegaard, Managing Director of AstraZeneca Norway.

BioVentureHub can connect our start-ups to international value chains, and it is only a short train ride from Oslo. I think that will be quite effective!”

Oslo Cancer Cluster will have the role of identifying the companies that are offered residency in BioVentureHub, it reports. General manager Ketil Widerberg points out that promising Norwegian startups often lack industrial expertise and an important link to the international market. “International collaboration is essential to scale up Norwegian startups. BioVentureHub can connect our start-ups to international value chains, and it is only a short train ride from Oslo. I think that will be quite effective!” he says.


Magnus Björsne, CEO, BioVentureHub (Photo: Daniel Forssberg), and Christine Wergeland Sørbye, CEO, Oslo Science City (Photo: Øyvind Ganesh Eknes)


Realizing the potential

The parties to the agreement also want to involve Innovation Norway, whereby Norwegian companies staying at BioVentureHub can apply for support during their residency. In the long term, the goal is also to involve Vinnova, Innovation Norway’s Swedish sister organization, in the collaboration, they state.

Over several decades, Norway has invested significant public funds in health research, but Christine Wergeland Sørbye, Managing Director of Oslo Science City, points out that several analyses show that Norway has been less successful than other countries in using this research to develop new companies.

“There is great potential here for business development that will both create new jobs and benefit Norwegian patients in the form of new medicines and treatments,” she says. “By strengthening the collaboration between research and business across Nordic borders, we shall realize this potential,” says Wergeland Sørbye.

Source: Oslo Cancer Cluster