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Writing a Nordic Saga …

Helena Strigård

Too few people around the world have listened to the Nordic Saga. The one that is about five small countries, far up in the North, each of them developing amazing innovations, based on groundbreaking research, often stemming from prestigious universities, in close collaboration with companies, ultimately targeting life quality and survival for patients struck by disease of various kinds.

Each one of these countries was highly successful in their respective areas of strength, with the entrepreneurs and researchers hitting milestone after milestone on their quest to improve health, not just in their own corner of the world but globally. The researchers and entrepreneurs were filled with vision and ambition.

“Each country, and even each region within the small countries in the North, was on this quest on its own, not really noticing what was going on in the other parts of the Nordics.”

Yet, the five small countries were struggling to bring those ideas to market. Each country, and even each region within the small countries in the North, was on this quest on its own, not really noticing what was going on in the other parts of the Nordics. When you have your mind set on a global market, you might not pay that much attention to your neighbors next door.

So, international investors with the capital needed to turn ideas into phase 2 trials or the big pharma, biotech and medtech companies looking to partner up with cool external innovation, thus adding crucial competence into the teams, simply did not know enough about the wonders going on in this region of the world called the Nordics.

That was long ago. Things have changed.

The Nordics have now unified to become one life sciences giant!

With each Nordic country excelling on its own merits, the joint innovative power of our five nations coming together as one Life Science Region is matched only by a few hotspots around the world. The attention paid to our corner of the world is increasing rapidly. Something big is about to happen.

“The attention paid to our corner of the world is increasing rapidly. Something big is about to happen.”

More and more companies finally make it through all phases of the drug development pipeline. New therapies, diagnostics and med tech products are coming into use in healthcare systems worldwide. The companies grow and employ, both in the Nordics and in those markets they are about to enter. The future looks bright.

The best thing about this saga is that it is true. Our saga is based on facts and figures.

Yet, the new, modern Nordic Life Science Saga has not been sufficiently told. We believe more people need to hear about it and about the uniqueness of five neighboring countries far up North all excelling in the same academic and industrial field – while sharing cultural values of openness, trust and innovation. This is why Nordic Life Science Days was created nine years ago. This is why we, for the program of Nordic Life Science Days 2022, have selected themes that display the diverse set of fields of excellence in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland, as well as the unified approach of our region as one market, one research network, and one community of life science companies.

Going from East to West, we will dive into the Deep Tech wonders of Finland, looking closer into how tech companies are revolutionizing healthcare through AI and quantum computing (how cool is that!) and how the Nordic investment community is contributing as a real game changer.

We will learn from Sweden how Convergence is Erasing Silos, with pharma and automotive companies jointly sharing thoughts around what technology can bring in support of health in every-day life. You will hear about MindForce GameLab which can’t really be labelled as a gaming OR life science company, they are both! The reality is simply that both were needed to solve a real world problem for patients.

Our journey will take us to Denmark, with Origin of Femtech, where we will be reproducing medical sciences for the other 50%: Women! Yes, you heard me. This is not just about women’s health anymore. It is about how new and existing drugs and therapies should be adjusted to the biology of women. With the Nordic countries being on the frontline of gender equality, it makes perfect sense that important steps of rethinking medicine is taking place here with big pharma (such as Ferring Pharmaceuticals), investors (such as PAACS invest) and entrepreneurs (too many to name drop) pushing for change.

Moving further West, Norway will show off how Patient Centricity is a crucial component and success factor in addressing Rare Diseases.

Finally, the smallest nation of them all – Iceland – will make your jaw drop with their contribution to the breakthroughs in Omics coming out of the Nordics. This country might be the most impressive of us all in terms of international connections and punching above its weight.

I can’t wait to tell you more about this Saga and to show off our cultural features in the exhibition!

See you at Nordic Life Science Days 2022,

Helena Strigård, Director General, SwedenBIO