Finland‘s strong health ecosystem and strengths in digital health attract investments and innovation collaboration

4/20/2016
Mr. Olli Rehn, Finnish Minister of Economic Affairs, met business leaders in the healthcare sector on Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 in New York to discuss the Finnish government’s investments to further strengthen Finland´s position as a frontrunner in digital health and personalized healthcare innovation.

Minister Rehn gave a speech at a lunch meeting in the residence of Consul General of Finland, Ambassador Jukka Pietikäinen, underlining the strong legacy of cooperation in scientific research, innovation and business between Finnish and North American parties. In the past years this cooperation has widened and entered into a new level. Health technology is the largest export segment of Finnish high tech and the U.S. one of the main export destinations in this field.

"Today, Finland is the home of key centers of excellence for many globally operating corporations and has globally recognized research and technology spearheads in the health sector. They operate in highly specialized fields such as imaging, patient monitoring, diagnostics and non-invasive measurement technologies as well as digital health solutions and modern hospital technology", says minister Rehn.

"Digital health, personalized medicine and healthcare as well as scientific research in areas such as cancer and brain diseases are among the areas where Finnish knowhow is world-class. Interestingly, these are corresponding to areas where need for new innovations and solutions is in high demand."

"Digitalization will revolutionize also health care. Digital health market is globally estimated to be worth hundreds of billions of euros in 2020. Finland is one of the strongest countries in the world when it comes to digital skills and knowledge", says minister Rehn.

"As pharmaceutical industry and research institutes are looking for more effective ways to do research utilizing big data and advanced analytics, the combination of our world-class biobanks, relatively isolated gene pool, extensive healthcare registries and the innovation friendly regulation such as Biobank Act creates a very competitive innovation ecosystem internationally."

"Government of Finland has invested and continues to invest considerable amounts in health related science, research and education. For instance just last week we announced a package for new investments: National Genome Centre and national Comprehensive Cancer Center Finland will be established in Finland", says Rehn.

Finland provides also an excellent environment for multidisciplinary collaboration – health ecosystem drives innovation. Close collaboration between companies, universities and research institutes together with healthcare system has provided a fruitful development environment for new products and services. In recent years Finland has also seen a spontaneous birth of a vibrant start-up scene.

"Finland provides a dynamic operating environment for start-ups and is a reliable partner for the international growth of companies. Thus it is no wonder that we have seen more and more foreign venture capital and global healthcare companies investing in Finnish companies", says Minister Rehn.

Minister Rehn also encouraged U.S. healthcare leaders to work with Team Finland and come to see and experience what Finland has to offer. Nordic Health Investment day in the beginning of June 2016 and Slush, the largest venturing event in Europe in late Autumn will provide excellent reasons to come.

The lunch meeting was organized together with Finpro, Finland´s trade and investment promotion agency, brought together decision-makers and key opinion leaders from the healthcare, life science, genomic, and digital health sectors, research institutions, and VCs for an information exchange. The event raised awareness of Finland's internationally high standards of medical research and world-class companies and scientists.

The joint growth strategy for research and innovation activities in the health sector by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, the Ministry of Education and Culture, Tekes, and the Academy of Finland. More information here.

Further information

Ms. Tuuli-Maaria Aalto, Adviser to the Minister of Economic Affairs
Ministry of Employment and the Economy
tuuli-maaria.aalto(at)tem.fi
+358 29 504 7077

Mr. Val Kraztman, Director Health & Life Science
Invest in Finland
val.kratzman(at)finpro.fi
+1 205-676-9676

Pia Mörk
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