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A new era for Finnish life science

photo markus sommers

The Finnish health sector is getting a boost, creating a vital life science industry, where the field of digital health especially is growing at a rapid pace.

No countries were spared when the economic crisis hit the entire world back in 2008. Finland took a big hit, and so did its life science sector. But the industry managed to recover well. Due to the depression and the loss of the former big employer Nokia there has now been strong government interest in supporting something new that could bring Finland both income and job. The health sector is one of the country’s new governmental spearheads. Public investment in R&D has traditionally been directed to the IT sector, but in 2014 a Health Sector Growth Strategy was published that clearly identified the health industry as a new important focus area.

There are currently around 500 companies in the Finnish health sector, operating throughout various areas. Finland has historically always invested a lot in research and today the country is well known for its strong expertise in hormonal cancers, such as prostate and breast cancer. Regenerative medicine is another area where Finland is a frontrunner. Looking at the research-pharmaceutical firms operating in Finland the main focus lies within neurology, cancer, vaccines and diabetes.

Strong biotech clusters

Biotechnology has been a strong life science sector for a long time, especially during recent years. The Finnish life science community was primarily focused on health-related biotech between 2001 and 2013, mainly through the country’s national Pharma Cluster and HealthBIO program. Finland’s biotech was gathered around five different major regional centers of expertise and activities were coordinated at both regional and national levels. As the HealthBIO program terminated some other life science initiatives followed and the original regional biotech clusters have remained and now form the current Finnish life science clusters in Kuopio, Turku, Tampere and Oulu.

Turku has a strong …

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