The healthcare sector spans a wide range of technologies and expertise, from drug discovery, diagnostics to medical devices and health related ICT. The Norwegian R&D-based industry supplying new healthcare solutions comprise about 500 companies with about 15.000 employees. The total turnover is about 57 BNOK, approximately 41 BNOK biomedicine and 12 BNOK medtech / health ICT. (Menon, Report “Helsenæringens Verdi/The Value of the health industry”, 2018).
Leading expertise in oncology and CNS
Norway has a long-standing tradition in scientific discovery and treatment of cancer. The Norwegian Radium Hospital, now part of Oslo University Hospital, is renowned for excellence in clinical practice as well as innovation.
Over the years, close to 40 SME’s have emerged from ground breaking science at this international research center. The intimate integration of explorative, clinical and commercial research forms the core of Oslo Cancer Cluster, a Norwegian Center of Expertise.
Neuroscience is becoming increasingly important with neurodegenerative diseases being one of the big challenges of modern society. The Norwegian scientific traditions in this area dates back to Fridtjof Nansen’s pivotal work around 1880 on the cellular nature of neurons.
This has subsequently led to very strong scientific communities particularly in Oslo and Trondheim, with CMBN, The Kavli Centre of Systems Neuroscience and The Centre of Biology of Memory being the most prominent examples.
Medical imaging pioneers
With relevance for both cancer and CNS related pathology, Norway as an internationally leading tradition within in vivo imaging, both for diagnosis and image-guided intervention. Nycomed pioneered modern contrast agents in the 1980s and Vingmed Ultrasound is an international leader on high resolution cardiovascular imaging, both now being part of GE Healthcare.
Front-line research within ultrasound and MRI are also carried out at the industry-sponsoredacademic center in Trondheim and the integration of image technologies in clinical practice is being explored at The Intervention Centre at Oslo University Hospital as well as by the “Operating Rooms of the Future” project at St.Olav’s University Hospital in Trondheim, both open to international collaboration.
Resources for personalized medicine
The whole Norwegian population of close to 5 mill people benefits from publicly funded high quality healthcare. Supported by a system of compulsory personal identification numbers, medical information from various health registries can be integrated for research purposes, based on informed consent. Moreover, the Norwegian health authorities have made extensive investments in large population-based surveys, creating an outstanding resource of medical samples and life-style data.
Peoples trust and confidence in data management is very high, which is illustrated by the HUNT Study where ~ 75% of the 120.000 inhabitants of a particular county in Mid-Norway have taken part in a longitudinal study over the last 3 decades. This and other medical resources are made available for international research collaboration through HUNT at NTNU.
Health technology to grow efficiency
The need for innovation in health technology has never been so important, neither has it ever been given so much attention from governments, organizations providing health care and media. It is evident that in order to provide health care service of world class, the need for technology that helps efficiency and accuracy is increasing. The health technology cluster, Oslo Medtech, has about 190 members, all providing innovative solutions and services for growth in this industry. Oslo Medtech is a Norwegian Center of Expertise.
Solutions for ambient assisted living
With an aging population, the demand and cost for healthcare are soaring. The demographic changes will shift the balance between receivers of care and trained care personnel; hence there is a strong international drive to develop new technologies which allow elderly people to continue to live independently in their own homes.
A growing number of Norwegian companies are already engaged in R&D programs related to Ambient Assisted Living and a Government white paper is underway, expected to further boost innovation in this area. For a more extensive overview of companies and activities related to AAL, please visit the business clusters on medical technologies, Oslo Medtech.
An attractive country for clinical trials
Norway has both established and renowned R&D facilities and expertise that are attractive for industry. Clinical trial units at hospitals and clinics are designed to perform complex and early phase trials. Highly educated and skilled doctors and nurses are trained to take part in clinical research, resulting in a reputation of delivering on time and with high quality.
Norway is especially known for groundbreaking research within the oncology field, and the clinical trial unit at the Radium hospital and Haukeland University Hospital has extensive experience with conducting advanced clinical trials. An experienced network specializing in pediatric clinical trials offer facilities and services that improve pediatric clinical trial opportunities in Norway. Unique health registries and biobanks coupled with the personal identification number is a country specific advantage for biomedical research and real world evidence collection.
Areas of unique Norwegian expertise