The year 2020 was the year of COVID-19. It was also Inven2’s tenth anniversary. However, it was also a year in which much value was created from the research carried out at the University of Oslo, Oslo University Hospital and the other health trusts in the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority.

Ole Kristian Hjelstuen fra Inven2

Photo: Inven2 / Moment Studio

The coronavirus pandemic dominated life in 2020, but, somewhat incredibly, it did not affect the progress of most innovation projects and clinical trials. Despite closed laboratories, people working from home and reallocated hospital staff, researchers, clinicians and our own staff managed to adapt. I’m impressed and proud of how quickly people adapted and how hard everyone worked on continuing the progress of projects and conducting new clinical trials. Towards the end of 2020, we noted the following: More new clinical trials had been submitted than during the previous year, many of the ideas had been commercialised and that there is now an increasing influx of good ideas.

Our main task as one of Norway’s largest technology transfer offices (TTO) is to assess the potential in research ideas, protect the intellectual properties rights behind the ideas so they hold up in a global setting and ensure that the innovations are likely to succeed in making their way onto the market. We achieve this by working closely with inventors, entrepreneurs, investors, the public support system and the rest of the innovation ecosystem. Inven2 was established in June 2010. During our first decade, we have assessed 2,072 ideas and commercialised 443 of them. This is a fantastic result, and I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the work.

The road from research to value creation to market share is long, and it can take years before we find out whether we have been successful. When value is created, this can result in enormous value. Vaccibody is an example of this. At the end of 2020, the company was valued at more than NOK 20 billion. Vaccibody was established in 2007 by Medinnova (now Inven2), Biomedisinsk Innovasjon and others, and the company has done a superb job in creating future value.

As well as Vaccibody, we have been involved in establishing many other companies that are showing good growth: Ultimovacs, Elliptic Laboratories and CSAM Health are all companies that have developed over time and are now listed on the stock exchange. There are many other companies in addition to these that are also doing well. A number of strong companies are emerging based on research at the University of Oslo and the health trusts in the South-Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority. We are glad to report that the healthcare industry in Norway is thriving.

In 2020, we have realised value for inventors and new research and innovation with returns of NOK 600 million so far.

Through handling contracts and following up finances during clinical trials, Inven2 works hard to enable Norwegian patients to access new treatments. We have worked on over 1,500 clinical trials since 2010. That equates to about 85% of all industry-initiated trials in Norway. We continue to work enthusiastically to get more clinical trials for Norway for the benefit of even more Norwegian patients and in line with the Norwegian authorities’ aims in their new clinical trials’ action plan.

We’re entering 2021 with greater possibilities than ever before. The number of experienced inventors in our owner institutions has increased, and many of them are considering entrepreneurship as a possible career path. The research institutions are increasing their efforts to assist with idea stimulation and innovation. We have gained lots of experience within our first decade and have a large capital base for investing in start-up companies in the early phase. The authorities are focused on getting more clinical trials for Norwegian patients and developing a new business sector. We work closely with other TTOs and with the innovation ecosystem at the local and national level. We will use everything at our disposal to ensure that more competitive products, services and companies emerge from publicly funded research.

We have great expectations of 2021. We look forward to using all the expertise, methods and networks we have developed in playing an important role in the innovation chain from research to business.