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Arendalsuka 2022 – Collaboration Driving Innovation in Healthcare

AmCham at Arendalsuka 2022 - Collaboration Driving Innovation in Healthcare

This year at Arendalsuka, AmCham hosted a meeting addressing the question: “How can we best work together to accelerate healthcare innovation and research in Norway. AmCham members represent 21 industries, with a significant number of those within the healthcare and technology sectors. In Arendal, our presenters emphasized how public-private partnerships can improve public health by further utilizing innovations brought to market by our member companies.

All public-private partnership stakeholders were present at Clarion Tyholmen; (1) Policy makers, represented by parliamentarians Alfred Bjørlo (The Standing Committee on Business and Industry, Liberal Party) and Truls Vasvik (The Standing Committee on Health and Care Services, Labour Party). Both MPs emphasized the potential for increased collaboration across the sectors and the health industry as an important growth industry for Norway.

Vidar Sie, AmCham
Thomas Anglero, Cognizant; Trine Strømsnes, Cisco; Atle Spilde, Microsoft; Linn Mandahl, AbbVie

(2) Private sector, represented by member companies Microsoft (Atle Spilde, Director Public Sector), AbbVie (Linn Mandahl, General Manager) and Cisco (Trine Strømsnes, General Manager). This session was moderated by Thomas F. Anglero (Nordic CTO and Innovation Officer, Cognizant). Here, real life examples were presented showing how AI from Microsoft is used for processing enormous data in neuro research, how patient apps from AbbVie improve quality of life and potentially reduce hospitalization, and how cutting-edge VC systems from Cisco effectively bring knowledge from centers of excellence to rural areas securing faster and better cancer treatment at local hospitals.

(3) Public sector, represented by Prof. Kjetil Taskén, (Head and Director of Institute of Cancer Research at Oslo University Hospital). Taskén presented the CONNECT public-private partnership, a national precision cancer medicines initiative comprising 28 partners – of which one half are pharma companies, and the other half are public partners, biotech companies and NGOs. The initiative has attracted considerable interest, and public funding raised so far amounts to approx. €20m. Parliamentarian Truls Vasvik  concluded the meeting by, inviting the audience to continue the dialogue with him directly– affirming the collaborative stance.

Going forward, accelerated access to healthcare innovation for Norwegian patients will hinge upon:

AmCham will continue to work diligently on all fronts.

Truls Vasvik, Labour Party
Kjetil Taskén, Oslo University Hospital
Alfred Bjørlo, Liberal Party

Presenting Member Companies:

HealthTalk: Helse-Norge må gjennom en kulturell hestekur

Her er tusenmilliarderkronerspørsmålet; Hvordan skal Norge klare å bygge en stor og internasjonalt orientert helsenæring på linje med våre nordiske naboer og samtidig skape et bedre og mer bærekraftig helsevesen?

Arendalsuka 2019 Summary

Arendalsuka 2019 Summary

Building the Norwegian Healthcare Industry

There are few things better than the excitement and passion of Arendalsuka, and AmCham made the trek down to southern Norway again this year to put on an exciting program of healthcare-related events featuring a diverse array of industry leaders and politicians.

Building the Norwegian Healthcare Industry and Meet Norway’s Healthcare Leaders One-on-One were held back-to-back, offering attendees an unfettered look into Norway’s healthcare industry. Well over 50 attendees joined the first session, where panelists Sveinung Stensland, Tom-Christer Nilsen, Sveinung Tornås, Ans Heirman, Atle Bergfjord, and Aksel Reksten not only discussed the challenges the industry faces in Norway, but also expanded upon how the country can unlock its potential to become a global innovation hub at the forefront of developing innovative healthcare solutions for patients around the world.

Member of Parliament Tom-Christer Nilsen kicked off the session by noting the important role the healthcare industry can play in diversifying the Norwegian economy. “We want to be California, not Klondike,” the Høyre parliamentarian noted, before going on to highlight how Norway’s unparalleled amount of healthcare data and access to the common market make it an ideal country for the industry to invest in.

Nilsen was followed by fellow Member of Parliament Sveinung Stensland. Stensland touched upon the cultural challenges surrounding the healthcare industry in Norway in his presentation, noting that healthcare is not just a public service, but a business – a business that generated over NOK 142 billion in taxable turnover in 2017.

Next up was Sveinung Tornås. Tornås, the head of innovation and e-health for Sunnaas Sykehus, highlighted how innovation occurs on the hospital side, noting how hospitals can be important conduits for innovation and how Sunnaas has worked with everyone from the world’s largest healthcare companies to small, Norway-based startups to develop patient centered healthcare solutions that improve outcomes.

“Because of Norwegian innovation, we’re making things cheaper than any other place in the word. Cheaper than either China or India. So, when I combine that with the new healthcare whitepaper, which is an excellent piece of work, I can go to my American owners and say this is where you should invest – Norway.”

Aksel Reksten

GE Healthcare

After the conclusion of Stensland presentation, Bergfjord, Reksten, and Reksten joined the two parliamentarians and Tornås on stage for a panel discussion moderated by AmCham’s Katja Dahl Murphy.

MSD Managing Director Ans Heirman was the first to speak, expanding upon Stensland’s comments on Norway’s healthcare culture by noting the necessity of instilling a “culture of collaboration” that understands the value of innovation in the public procurement process.

Innovation was also on Bergfjord’s mind as well. Capgemini’s VP of the Public Sector & Healthcare noted that his over fifteen years of experience with public procurement has shown him that by rewarding innovation, Norway can combine its technological prowess with the latest medical thinking, allowing the country to “not only create a lot of value, but create a better life for people.”

GE Healthcare Managing Director Aksel Reksten followed Bergfjord, highlighting the company’s tremendous Norwegian growth in the course of the past two decades and the underscoring the importance of predictable frameworks, such as the EEA Agreement (EØS). “Because of Norwegian innovation, we’re making things cheaper than any other place in the word. Cheaper than either China or India. So, when I combine that with the new healthcare whitepaper, which is an excellent piece of work, I can go to my American owners and say this is where you should invest – Norway.”

The discussion then opened up to the audience, where attendees such as Roche Managing Director Rajji MehdwanAbbVie Country Lead Kirsti Nyhus, and audience members from other industries discussed with Stensland and Nilsen the importance of remaining competitive in a regional context and building a procurement process that also takes into account treatment efficacy and innovation.

After the questions concluded, our networking event Meet Norway’s Healthcare Leaders One-on-One! kicked into gear. Event attendees had the opportunity to engage healthcare leaders such as Mehdwan, Nyhus, Reksten, Bergfjord, Pfizer Medical Director Erik Hevlin, and Bristol-Myers Squibb General Manager Hilde Bech in personal, one-on-one discussions on a variety of industry issues.

We would like to thank all our panelists and sponsors for a fantastic event this year, and we look forward to working with our healthcare industry members, government officials, and politicians to make Norway’s ambitious vision for the healthcare industry a reality.

Building the Norwegian Healthcare Industry Panel Participants

Sveinung Stensland

Tom-Christer Nilsen

Sveinung Tornås

Member of Parliament

Member of Parliament

Head of Innovation and E-health, Sunnaas Sykehus

Ans Heirman

Aksel Reksten

Atle Bergfjord

Managing Director, MSD Norway

Managing Director, GE Healthcare

VP – Public Sector & Healthcare, Capgemini

Meet Norway's Healthcare Leaders One-on-One Participating Healthcare Leaders

Kirsti Nyhus

Hilde Bech

Atle Bergfjord

Aksel Reksten

Country Lead Norway, AbbVie

General Manager, Bristol-Myers Squibb

Sector Lead – Public & Healthcare, Capgemini

General Manager, GE Healthcare.

Ans Heirman

Erik Hjelvin

Rajji Mehdwan

Managing Director, MSD

Doctor & Medical Director, Pfizer

General Manager, Roche

Arendalsuka Program Sponsors