Investment in healthcare research and innovations bring results

Auria Biobank and Bayer have announced an agreement on research work aimed at the development of more precisely targeted cancer medications and treatments.

Developing new medicines is increasingly difficult and expensive when traditional methods are used. High-quality biobanks, information systems, and healthcare registries are strengths that Finland has, and their utilisation is of interest also to the international pharmaceutical industry. Biobanks have a key role in the development work of health care, which is becoming increasingly personalised.

"In Finland we have worked systematically to promote research in the field of health, in the necessary structures, and in innovation-friendly regulation. A modern Biobank Act and the genome strategy which is under preparation, and the implementation of its measures, combined with the possibilities of digitalisation, create in Finland a very competitive atmosphere for medical research and business activities, says Minister of Social Affairs and Health Laura Räty.

"Finland wants to be in the front line when healthcare is developed with the help of genome information. The collaboration of Auria Biobank and Bayer will significantly speed up the emergence of more precise medicines onto the market. For citizens this means better and more individual treatment", Räty continues.

Healthcare, information technology, and biomedical research combine with the help of biobanks. An especially great future prospect from Finland's point of view is offered by the digitalisation of traditional health technology and pharmaceutical research.

Team Finland Health focuses on attracting investments

The healthcare field has been clearly gaining strength in Finland's export statistics: turnover and exports are growing, and the trade balance is very positive.

"The health sector is one of the fastest-growing markets in the world. Finland has world-class innovations, skills, and research. However, skills in marketing this know-how to the world have been inadequate. As part of the implementation of the growth strategy in the health sector that was made public last year, we have launched a growth programme called Team Finland Health, which focuses on attracting investments and on special questions concerning the internationalisation of the field", says Minister of Economic Affairs Jan Vapaavuori.

The international visibility of the health sector requires a marketing angle that is wider than that of a single product or company. Finpro's Team Finland Health growth programme carries out the building of an image for Finland in the health sector and creates a foundation and functional models for cooperation. The aim is to strengthen the image of Finland as an internationally attractive environment for research both into the field of health and into innovation activities, and in so doing, to attract new investments and business. It also helps Finnish health sector companies to go international.

The aim of the programme is 10 percent annual growth in turnover and a 2.5-fold increase in research investments over the next decade. The overall budget of the growth programme is € 3 million and its duration is about three years.

The collaborative agreement between Auria Biobank and Bayer is already the second significant opening in the field of health in recent times. GE Healthcare, a US company in the healthcare field, announced in January that it would focus the development of its medical data transfer technology on Vallila in Helsinki.

About 500 companies in Finland operate in the health sector, employing 20,000 people. Turnover in the field is nearly € 5 billion, of which exports account for € 2.8 billion.

More information

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 was published in the spring last year.

Pia Mörk
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