Biogen, an American developer and manufacturer of therapies for neurological, autoimmune and rare diseases, has expressed its interest in stepping up research co-operation in Finland.
“We've applied for permissions to conduct clinical trials with patients in both Turku and Kuopio,” Michel Vounatsos, the deputy chief executive of Biogen, revealed during his visit to Helsinki in October, 2016.
“The quality of clinical trials is very high in Finland. And, Finns are willing to participate in trials”.
Finns' willingness to participate in medical research is to some extent attributable to their high degree of confidence in the quality of research in general, estimates Nora Kaarela, the head of health industry at Finpro.
“That's one very significant factor contributing to Finland's reputation as an excellent testing platform for medical research,” she says.
Easy co-operation with hospitals
Biogen is planning on launching clinical trials to, for example, test the efficacy of an innovative drug that its researchers have shown to inhibit the accumulation of insoluble amyloid plaques in brain cells – one of the hallmarks associated with Alzheimer's disease.
It remains premature to tell whether or not the drug will be a breakthrough and be commercialised, reminded Vounatsos.
He also revealed that the biotechnology company is eager to create long-term partnerships with health care providers in Finland to develop new early diagnostic tools for Alzheimer's disease and, as a result, improve the efficacy of therapies.
“We're committed to someday finding a drug for Alzheimer's disease,” he stated. “We're looking also into other disease mechanisms besides amyloids.”
Finland offers a great environment for such innovation not only because of the willingness of Finns to participate in trials but also because of the ease of co-operation with local health care providers, according to Kaarela.
“Co-operation with health care providers and co-operation with hospitals, in particular, is another key factor in Finland,” she says.