Norway world leader in cancer cure research / News / The Foreigner

Norway world leader in cancer cure research. Biotechnology investments by Norwegian companies have put the country amongst the leading world forces in the search for a cancer cure. Most investments in Norway come from companies involved in the oil and fish industry. “That’s the way things start in Norway, with fish,” the director of the Norwegian School of Management’s Centre for Business History in Oslo Kurt Sogner tells Bloomberg.com.

radiumhospitalet, oslo, kristian, berg, cancer, research, pci, biotech, holdings, erik, must, engebretsen, gezina, bayer, algeta, calvis, clavis, eli, lilly, gezmar, clovis, oncology,



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Norway world leader in cancer cure research

Published on Sunday, 8th August, 2010 at 12:06 under the news category, by Ramona Tancau.
Last Updated on 8th August 2010 at 12:18.

Biotechnology investments by Norwegian companies have put the country amongst the leading world forces in the search for a cancer cure.

Research and parking house, Radiumhospitalet
Research and parking house, Radiumhospitalet
Photo: Arnkristen/Wikimedia Commons


Fish, oil, and the state

Most investments in Norway come from companies involved in the oil and fish industry.

“That’s the way things start in Norway, with fish,” the director of the Norwegian School of Management’s Centre for Business History in Oslo Kurt Sogner tells Bloomberg.com.

The government has pumped money in too. Since 1999 its policy towards research has changed, with Norway being more focused on biotechnology advancements.

State funding from North Sea oil revenue has meant the number of biotechnology companies has doubled during the past decade, according to the Research Council of Norway (Forskningsrådet).

Another 125.8 million kroner of governmental money has gone to 19 companies in funding and loans through Innovation Norway. Oslo’s Radium Hospital (Radiumhospitalet) and The Oslo Cancer Cluster have also received governmental research grants.

Light destroys cancer

Kristian Berg, senior scientist at the Radium Hospital’s Institute for Cancer Research, has discovered light makes living cells explode.

Berg worked on a drug called Amphinex which contains a compound that reacts to light, after it was found cancer cells use bubbles to block the effects of medicines.

He used a combination of one dose of Amphinex and chemotherapy. Amphinex destroyed the bubbles, which meant the chemotherapy could have the best results.

Human trials were performed on 11 patients at London’s University College Hospital, and the results were astonishing: none of the patients had any traces of cancer.

“We didn’t expect any response at all because of the low dose,” Berg says.

Financial incentives

With such results, it isn’t hard to persuade business people to invest in biotechnology companies.

Norwegian billionaire Erik Must and financier Erik Engebretsen bought stocks in PCI Biotech Holding ASA, the manufacturers of Amphinex, in June.

“I believe in the technology and I believe in the people,” said Must in an interview.

“We subscribed to the new shares at 40 kroner, and we wouldn’t do that unless we expected to triple our investment in three years,” says Engebretsen, head of Oslo’s investment fund Gezina AS.

Alternatives

Experimental drugs produced by companies such as PCI, Norwegian Algeta ASA and Calvis Pharma ASA enjoy international attention and interest.

Algeta has focused on developing Alpharadin, a drug that targets cancer that’s already spread to the bones without affecting the adjacent tissues.

Last September Germany’s Bayer AG acquired the rights to Algeta’s experimental cancer treatment Alpharadin for $800 million.

The value of Algeta’s shares has doubled, having a projected annual revenue of about $1.9 billion a year in the U.S. and Europe alone.

Oslo-based Calvis is working on a cancer treatment that improves Eli Lilly & Co’s Gezmar chemotherapy medicine, made especially for pancreatic tumors.

It targets the cancerous cells by ensuring the drug reaches them by “attaching” a so-called lipid tail to the medicine 

In November, American Clovis Oncology Inc. agreed to pay Calvis $380 million for their experimental cancer treatment.



Published on Sunday, 8th August, 2010 at 12:06 under the news category, by Ramona Tancau.
Last updated on 8th August 2010 at 12:18.

This post has the following tags: radiumhospitalet, oslo, kristian, berg, cancer, research, pci, biotech, holdings, erik, must, engebretsen, gezina, bayer, algeta, calvis, clavis, eli, lilly, gezmar, clovis, oncology, .





  
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