Sharing a Global Vision- The Oslo Cancer Cluster

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Sharing a Global Vision- The Oslo Cancer Cluster


Category: AmCham News

People are living longer, there are more of us, and with this longevity has come increasing trends in cancer rates. Turning this tide back is the vision of the Oslo Cancer Cluster (OCC), aiming to create an environment among the world leaders within Life Science & Cancer education, research and industry by the year 2013.

This is a bold – but focused – goal in a world where the ultimate societal industrial competition is well underway to develop Global Knowledge Hubs (see the February article A Knowledge-Based Norway) that rank along the same lines as the Life Science Hub in Boston. If current activities and successes are any indication, the Oslo Cancer Cluster is on the right track.

As a Norwegian Centre of Expertise, the Oslo Cancer Cluster maintains the highest of standards. With over 60 members that represent the best in academic research institutions, biotech companies, industry, financial and regional development stakeholders, the Cluster is dedicated to finding new ways to improve the lives of cancer patients as well as establishment and development of preventative measures.

 Global Knowledge Hub
Dr. Torger Reve, the Wilh. Wilhelmsen Professor of Strategy and Industrial Competitiveness of the BI Norwegian School of Management who has guided much of the thought leadership related to the goal of ultimately making Norway among the world’s most attractive locations for knowledge-based industries, offered his perspectives related to the Oslo Cancer Cluster.

Says Dr. Reve, “The structure of a Global Knowledge Hub within the Life Science industry typically includes university research hospitals and other research organizations, many dedicated biotech firms, international pharmaceutical companies, venture capital, a range of supportive services, a cluster organization and a stable regulatory environment. The Oslo Cancer Cluster has these fundamentals in place, and I believe it is well-positioned for growth in the direction of becoming a Global Knowledge Hub specializing on cancer diagnostics and cancer treatment”.

A World-Class Innovation Park
The Oslo Cancer Cluster makes its home in the heart of Norway’s Oslo Region, with headquarters just outside the capital city. Almost half of Norway’s R & D activity is located in the region, providing access to the most highly educated labor force in Europe – an excellent start point for Oslo Cancer Cluster activities – activities that include planning for the opening of the Oslo Cancer Cluster Innovation Park in August 2013.
The Innovation Park will be unique in a number of ways, including the fact that one of the top secondary schools in the city of Oslo will be integrated into the activities here. Ullern High will be giving students both the theoretical as well as hands on opportunity to work with Oslo Cancer Cluster members that include the Oslo University Hospital, Radium; a leading cancer research institution. The Innovation Park is highly supported by government, research, and investors.

Member Success
Through a combination of local collaboration and international partnership, the Oslo Cancer Cluster works with its membership to increase ability to attract capital and create clinical trials network to shorten developmental time. There have been a number of notable advancements in the recent past among Oslo Cancer Cluster members in both of these areas. The following are just a few examples of member activity:

Clavis Pharma & Liquid Vector Technology
Clavis Pharma’s activities in development of unique anti-cancer drugs for treatment of hematological and solid tumor cancers using the company’s Lipid Vector Technology (LVT) chemistry to introduce new properties to already established, commercially successful drugs are gaining more and more attention. Earlier this year Clavis Pharma announced that a Phase II clinical trial to “investigate the use of CP-4126 as a 2nd line treatment for advanced, metastatic pancreatic cancer, and the prognosis looks good.

PCI Biotech & Light Directed Delivery
PCI Biotech is noted for its development of a unique and patented photochemical drug delivery technology for use in cancer therapy and other diseases.  “PhotoChemical Internalization” is a patented technology for light-directed drug delivery, providing local enhancement of a range of different drugs, including several cytotoxics that are currently in clinical use. These include combination products based on the proprietary photosensitiser Amphinex. The company’s product PC-A11 combines Amphinex with the cytotoxic agent bleomycin, currently in an ongoing clinical phase I/II study at London’s University College Hospital in London with encouraging results.

Algeta with a Global Agreement 
In the latter half of 2010 OCC member Algeta signed $800 million dollar (US) global agreement with Bayer regarding the development and commercialization of Algeta’s lead cancer therapeutic Alpharadin, currently in a global phase III clinical trial (ALSYMPCA) designed to confirm its efficacy and safety as a targeted treatment for bone metastases in patients with HRPC. Alpharadin has demonstrated a strong body of evidence that it can prolong patient survival, improve quality of life and offer a benign safety profile.

OCC, Cancer-Bio-Santé & the ECCP2011 Event
It takes a Village”, it is said, and this is true for the efforts that are taking place on a global scale in conquering cancer. The Oslo Cancer Cluster has an extensive network outside of Norwegian borders that includes North-American partners, The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences in North Carolina as well as partnership with the highly respected Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica (SIMM), part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Within Europe, Oslo Cancer Cluster has had a long-term successful and close cooperation with the Toulouse, France-based Cancer-Bio-Santé.

This ongoing partnership with Cancer-Bio-Santé has proved to be of tremendous benefit to both clusters as well as their members with various cooperative activities, programs and initiatives as well as the European Cancer Cluster partnering event ECCP2011. This event – the third annual – will take place in Toulouse, France September 14th – 16th and again will be dedicated to accelerating innovation within cancer treatment. This follows on the heels of the 2010 event where nearly 400 people from 21 different countries and 203 companies staged over 500 meetings in Oslo as a direct result of the event.

This year, the scope of speakers and participants is expanded with the inclusion of the Maryland Biotechnology Centre together with US biotech companies as well as speakers from the NCI and the FDA will join in strengthening the collaboration between Europe and US in oncology business development. For more information regarding this important event, see the ECCP2011 event website.

For more information about the Oslo Cancer Cluster and its wide range of services, activities and members, please see the organization website here.

Source: Norway Communicates

Published: April 4, 2011