Persistent work grew diagnostics into a Finnish success story

Over the last 16 years, the Finnish in vitro diagnostics (IVD) industry has delivered consistent year-on-year growth in line with global trends. This growth has proved to be resilient to economic and market changes. In vitro diagnostics sector is part of the health technology industry, which currently is the largest and most important export sector of Finnish high technology. The sector's success is rooted in the creativity of individual researchers and entrepreneurs, not forgetting public investment such as several Tekes programmes that have sped up development.

IllustrationTekes' new report, "In Vitro Diagnostics – a Finnish Success Story", takes a look at the future of the Finnish diagnostics sector, changes in the sector from the 1960s to now, and the the sector's development based on case studies.

The Finnish IVD industry has been recognised for its technology development, the quality of its products and its commitment to the primary healthcare market segment. This reputation has been built on the creativity of individual researchers and entrepreneurs working with established business and developing new enterprises.

Extensive research and education programmes as well as government initiatives enabling national and international collaboration have also provided support to the industry.
International consolidation of the diagnostics business could be seen also in Finland towards the end of 1990s and the beginning of 2000s. As a response to the increased activity of the in vitro diagnostics industry in Finland, Tekes launched the four-year Diagnostics 2000 technology programme that invested comprehensively in diagnostics knowhow and business development. Tekes has supported the development of the diagnostics business also in the following programmes: Drug 2000, Neobio, SymBio, Pharma, FinnWell, Functional materials, FinNano, Liideri and BioIT.

Digitalisation offers new growth opportunities

"The Finnish diagnostics industry is in a good position to prosper even in the future and to grow to new heights. However, the change at hand may require better ability to envi¬sion the future, more courage to seize new ideas and ability to forge strategic partnerships wisely", says Auli Pere, Tekes.

In health care, digitalisation is shifting the focus from the treatment of illnesses to their prevention and to the maintenance of health. Increasingly abundant health data and advanced means of turning data into knowledge-guiding decisions are leading to changes in diagnostics and treatment practices.

Today, Tekes invests a great deal into digitalisation. For example the digital health programme Bits of Health offers funding, networking, partnering and internationalisation services to companies aiming at utilising digitalisation for renewal and international growth. The programme invites the diagnostics industry to join the work towards a strong Finnish digital health hub.

In Vitro Diagnostics – a Finnish Success Story (pdf)

Bits of Health programme


Pia Mörk
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