Tor 7 dec / År 41 / Nr 5 2023

Countries and Companies Combatting Cancer

Petter Hartman, CEO Medicon Valley Alliance
If a single disease were to be identified as” Public enemy number 1”, cancer would be a good candidate.

Practically every citizen in Denmark or Sweden know someone, who have suffered or died from either lung cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer or malignant melanoma, and although the relative survival has improved with time. In Denmark alone, 37.200 citizens are diagnosed with cancer each year and the number are expected to grow substantially, which is in part due to the fact that the population gets older.

With parallel challenges in both Denmark and Sweden, it can be no surprise that individuals, institutions and society as a whole have dedicated themselves and invested energy and resources to improve existing diagnosis and treatment, develop new treatments and combat cancer in practically every conceivable way.

Besides being one of the most common diseases, cancer is also an area in which the region’s universities conducts extensive research. Ongoing research efforts focus both on understanding the basic mechanisms of cancer and on clinical studies which can more rapidly benefit patients. Thanks to a well-functioning innovation system this research often leads to the creation of new start-ups and to commercialization.

Several Medicon Valley based companies are at the very forefront of what is literally a life and death struggle. The willingness to invest in oncology-related companies indicates not only a general acceptance of the relevance of their common mission, but also the credibility and quality of the business case and R&D and general professionalism associated with regional oncology related life science companies in general.
The fact that Swiss pharma and biotech giant, Roche, which is one of the absolute world-leading companies within oncology, has chosen to invest in this region and actively scout for innovative R&D testifies to the quality of our regional oncology R&D ecosystem. The fact that Japans leading oncology company, Daichi-Sankyo, chose to establish their Nordic headquarter in Copenhagen last year, was probably no coincidence either.

In Medicon Valley Alliance, we have embraced this development and in 2017 we established the MVA Oncology Network as a “meeting and market place” for oncology related industry, academia and hospital professionals. This forum, which was the brain child of the successful serial entrepreneurs prof. Carl Borrebaeck, Lund Universitet, and prof. Nils Brünner, University of Copenhagen, has now become the preferred go-to place, if you want to know the who is who, what, when and how of regional oncology-related R&D and commercialisation. We sincerely hope and believe the network will also become a fertile forum for cross-fertilisation of innovative ideas and, consequently, pave the way for even more new Danish, Swedish or Danish-Swedish oncology companies.

Although the MVA Oncology Network meetings are “MVA-members only”, I would like to invite interested companies and individual to contact me, and I will then be happy to extend a free of charge invitation to attend one of our next meetings.