Orders, funding and partnerships boost Finnish healthcare solutions
Gubbe’s elderly care service pairs younger carers with older members of the community.Gubbe
Partnerships in Europe, orders from Spain and the US and funding from Japan are indications of a vital health technology industry in Finland.
Euformatics, an Espoo-based specialist in bioinformatics tools for genomic data interpretation, has received funding for a joint development project from Eurostars, a programme promoting collaboration between growth companies in Europe.
Carried out with France’s Institute Curie and Hungary’s Oncompass Medicine, the two-and-a-half-year project seeks to produce a precision oncology platform that cancels genomic noise in low-quality sequencing data. The data is often riddled with artefacts and other noise, making it difficult for clinical geneticists to detect tumour variants – especially ones with low allele frequencies.
The platform therefore promises to improve oncology diagnostics and patient care.
“This funding award was a result of several iterations during the past few years,” Cristophe Roos, chief scientific officer at Euformatics, revealed. “Finding a challenge in this field that is both solvable in a relatively short time window [and advances] state-of-the-art molecular pathology was not easy.”
With a budget of around one million euros, the project is expected to start in the coming months and run until 2026. The partners will then seek certification for the platform to enable its use not only in cancer research but also in clinical diagnostics.
Led by CEO Tommi Kaasalainen (right), Euformatics specialises in bioinformatics tools for genomic data interpretation.Euformatics
Euformatics announced earlier this month it has signed a so-called channel partnership with France’s Appolon Bioteck.
By marketing the market next-generation sequencing tools of Euformatics in France, the partners intend to help medical geneticists and molecular pathologists in the country to diagnose patients effectively and based on high-quality data.
The partnership covers the entire product offering of the software developer: A secondary module that does “the heavy lifting” on read alignment and variant calling, and a tertiary module that automates the process of annotation, classification, interpretation and reporting. The workflow, meanwhile, is overseen by a quality-control module that calculates up to 60 quality-related metrics produced in the process.
Laurent Slusarek, general manager of Appolon Bioteck, believes the tools will be a great fit to the French market.
“Our objective is to deliver [French molecular diagnostics labs] the highest-quality instruments, consumables and software to enable high-quality care,” he summarised.
Finding local partners is a strategic priority for Euformatics. In recent years, it has put pen to paper on 20 channel partnerships covering markets in Asia, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.
Nightingale delivers in the US
Nightingale Health has entered into an agreement to deliver blood-sample analysis services for Mass General Brigham, a healthcare system headquartered in Boston, the US.
The agreement will make critical data on 250 biomarkers available to researchers across the healthcare system who are working to bring scientific findings to the healthcare setting and, as a result, transform care for the benefit of patients.
“The addition of these biomarker data will further support many teams that are investigating critical disease areas,” stated Elizabeth Karlson, principal investigator at Mass General Brigham Biobank.
Nightingale Health measures biomarkers from blood samples, facilitating the early detection and proactive management of health risks.Nightingale Health
Jeffrey Barrett, chief scientific officer at Nightingale Health, pointed out that the health technology startup’s biomarker data have been utilised in several publications through the UK Biobank. Scientists at Mass General Brigham, he asserted, have a similar opportunity to utilise the data to make “significant discoveries” linked to various aspects of health, such as cardiometabolic disease, kidney and liver function, and immunity.
The Finnish startup measures biomarkers from blood samples using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and proprietary algorithms to connect the dots to various health conditions, facilitating the early detection and proactive management of health risks.
It also operates a total of seven subsidiaries in countries such as Japan, Singapore, the UK and the US.
Japanese investment and Spanish order
Gubbe has secured a strategic investment of an undisclosed amount from Mynavi Corporation, a Japanese human resources and information company.
“It is an honour to form a strategic alliance with an experienced, reputable company who holds an astonishing amount of intel on the [human resources] domain which is one of our key operations,” Sandra Lounamaa, CEO of Gubbe, commented in a press release.
Gubbe is currently operating in Finland, Sweden and the UK.Gubbe
The Espoo-headquartered startup has developed a service to not only keep the elderly active and foster a sense of security among them and their families, but also creates meaningful jobs for young people. The service is currently available to private homes and nursing homes in Finland, Sweden and the UK.
Mynavi has embarked on a mission to forge strategic partnerships worldwide and has made a few select investments in technology, sustainability and innovation especially in Europe.
As population ageing progresses rapidly and creates challenges both in Japan and the Nordics, Gubbe’s vision, technology and brand were of particular interest to Mynavi. Gubbe, it believes, has the potential to discover scalable and efficient models of recruiting young people and, thereby, gain a distinct competitive advantage in the healthcare sector, according to CEO Yoshiaki Tsuchiya.
Optomed has won an 800 000-euro contract in Spain.Optomed
Optomed in August reported that it will supply a diabetic retinopathy screening solution to an unidentified public-sector client in Spain. Consisting of fundus cameras and related software, the solution will be used to screen the local diabetic population for the potentially sight-threatening disease of diabetic retinopathy.
The total value of the contract is 800 000 euros.
Seppo Kopsala, CEO of Optomed, viewed that winning such a large tender is an indication that the approach taken by the company – to offer both the cameras and necessary software – is resonating and the products are competitive.
“We get to deliver our best technology to Spain,” he rejoiced.
One of Finland’s fastest-growing high-tech exports
Health technology is one of the fastest-growing high-tech export segments in Finland.
Healthtech Finland has reported that the value of health technology products exported from the country rose by six per cent year-on-year to over 2.7 billion euros in 2022, trumping imports by about 1.5 billion euros. The over 13 000-employee industry has thereby generated a trade surplus of 16 billion euros over the past two decades.
The companies making up the industry tend to conduct both their research and development, and manufacturing operations in Finland. They produce not only medical devices, such as imaging and measuring tools, but also digital services that support their product offering.