On March 18th the trade association for the research-based pharmaceutical industry in Sweden (LIF) held a conference with the focus “Nordic Life Science collaboration for stronger competitiveness”.
The conference attracted close to 300 delegates from all the Nordic countries, including decision makers from authorities and departments, as well as different life science companies. NLS asked Frida Lundmark, special adviser at LIF and co-moderator of the conference, about the outcome.
Describe the purpose of the conference?
“We view this conference as a first step to establish increased cooperation between us as industry associations to strengthen Nordic competitiveness and establish the Nordic region as the leading life science region in Europe.”
How would you describe Nordic collaborations within life sciences today?
“There are strong ties between the countries and a tradition of collaboration. So the willingness is there but now we have to chose which areas to prioritize and structure proposals to develop Nordic collaboration more tangibly. We have already started to plan for further activities to hopefully further determine how we can walk the talk.”
What are the advantages with a common Nordic life science strategy?
“First of all, as I see it, it is about trying to find synergies between the different national strategies and efforts, and if possible to present a clearly defined Nordic offering. Then strategies will have a strong signal value and if they are combined with both economic efforts and other concrete actions we will show we are serious about making the Nordic region a leader within life sciences.”
Do you have a take away-message from the seminar when it comes to how we can strengthen Nordic collaborations within life sciences?
“It is clear that health data and clinical trials are prioritized issues in every Nordic country. We are all countries with relatively small populations, but if we join forces we can become internationally competitive when it comes to attracting clinical trials, for example. We are also far ahead when it comes to well developed registries and bio banks, which together could constitute an attractive alternative for different kinds of studies. In addition we have a number of internationally interesting infrastructure efforts that we should be able to utilize more within the Nordics, and which could also attract investments from other parts of Europe.”
Within which areas would LIF like to see more concrete or extended collaborations between the Nordic countries?
“The conference had a special focus on health data and clinical trials and it was also these areas that most of the participants highlighted. Particular areas where we are especially strong and where we could create a common Nordic profile were also discussed, for example precision medicine.”
Give an example of what Sweden could learn from its Nordic neighbors when it comes to life sciences?
“We have previously highlighted efforts to facilitate companies and scientists getting access to health data, which is happening in both Denmark and Finland, but we also see interesting efforts to increase company-initiated clinical trials in Denmark and Norway.”
Photographer/flags: Johannes Jansson/norden.org