Photo: Jannicke Kristoffersen, Inven2
Inven2 is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. On the occasion of the anniversary, we have interviewed successful researchers and clinicians who have all worked on groundbreaking innovations with significant benefits for society.
You can read more about Researcher Fridtjof Heyerdahl in this interview. His idea for and development of an adult incubator that transports patients infected with severe infectious diseases has turned out to be extremely important during the coronavirus pandemic.
What area of research are you in?
Clinical toxicology, i.e. the prevention and treatment of poisoning in humans.
What is your most significant innovation?
My most significant innovation is EpiShuttle. This is a single-patient isolation and transport system for people infected with severe infectious diseases, which protects healthcare professionals at the same time. I came up with the idea while working on acquiring equipment for transporting infectious patients during the Ebola epidemic in 2014. Development started in 2014, but it takes time. When the next outbreak of Ebola occurred in the Congo in 2018, Epishuttle was on the market and could transport seriously ill patients who were highly infectious.
There was a lot of interest in the product then, and we positioned ourselves accordingly and had frequent contact with healthcare services involved in transporting infectious patients throughout the world. Many healthcare services wanted to purchase the EpiShuttle at that time but did not have the means to do so. When the coronavirus pandemic was confirmed in March of this year, sales rocketed due to increased demand and the increased budgets of customers with whom we had built up a network over the years.
What has cooperation with Inven2 meant for you?
Inven2 is the established route for employee inventions at Oslo University Hospital, and it is the one that I and other employees take when establishing a company and developing a product.
Inven2 played a significant role in the project during the start-up phase, but they are less involved now that the company, EpiGuard, which has developed and sells Epishuttle, has expanded.
Inven2 was a very active participant in the board when Epiguard was created, and their contribution was very important. Inven2 also helped us to apply for soft funding, and brought us through the process of dealing with the public funding agencies until we had sufficient private capital to become self-reliant.
Our association with Oslo University Hospital has been important for the company, and the fact that Oslo University Hospital is a part owner through Inven2 helps to strengthen the company’s position. For me personally, it is important that I can work as a clinician at the hospital and also be involved in EpiGuard. Balancing these two roles is demanding but the Inven2 model works.
What would you like to say to Inven2 on the occasion of its tenth anniversary?
I would like to offer them my warmest congratulations on their tenth anniversary, and thank them for such great teamwork. You have always wanted the best for me and the project. I hope that you show the same enthusiasm that I have experienced to other researchers and clinicians.