Finland’s BC Platforms raises €9m for new genomic data solutions

The volume and nature of clinical data available in the country encourage the development of novel health care services and applications.

BC Platforms, a Helsinki-based developer of genetic data management solutions, has raised €9 million in second-round financing as it gears up to launch new solutions for combining clinical and human genomic data.


Such solutions can be utilised to promote the development of precision medicine, for example.


The software developer says the funding will allow it not only to double its customer service and product development staff in Finland but also to develop its sales and customer service organisations in Europe and the United States.


BC Platforms’ operations revolve around big data. It gathers data from biobanks, combines them with other clinical data and analyses the resultant datasets in light of the needs of medical practitioners and pharmaceutical companies.


“The health care industry and [health care] providers have only recently realised how big data can be utilised in the field of genetics. A major shift has been within our reach only for some time. We’ve identified a path and strategy for growing in the field,” Tero Silvola, the chief executive of BC Platforms, says to the financial magazine.


He believes the ability to produce and analyse massive datasets by means of new technologies will have a profound impact on medical practices in the near future. Finland, he adds, has an excellent opportunity to take advantage of the development.


A treasure trove of clinical data

Finland has already established itself as a frontrunner in genetic research due to, in part, the abundance of genetic data, medical records and disease-specific information stored in its readily accessible national registers.


The volume of data – while impressive – is not outright exceptional, reminds Nora Kaarela, the head of health and well-being industry at Finpro’s Invest in Finland. What is, however, is the possibility to freely combine genetic data with other clinical data, such as patient medical records.


“There’s a good deal of data also in other countries, but here the data have been digitised. In other countries, patient data are more fragmented: as patients move from one place to another, their medical records may not move with them. Our patient health data are centralised thanks to our public health care system,” she tells.


“The data here are also unusually rich. The monitoring of people’s health begins immediately after birth in Finland.”


Finland has already established itself as a frontrunner in genetic research

National repository for patient data

Finland is one of only a few countries in the world to establish a national digital repository that encompasses patient data from both the public and private health care sector. All Finnish citizens are able to use the repository to, for example, review their e-prescription history, upload personal health information and grant physicians and other health care professionals access to their own data.

The Kanta repository has been designed to serve as a common platform for integrating data from future digital and mobile health care services, as well as personalised health care applications.

The Finnish government is committed to developing the country in an even more research and innovation-friendly direction, as evidenced by the high number of recent legislative projects, adds Kaarela.

“The permit procedures and regulatory environment as a whole facilitate conducting research in Finland,” she says.

BC Platforms gets funding and expertise

BC Platforms received the second-round financing from Finnish Industry Investment (Tesi) and Debiopharm Innovation Fund, a venture capital arm focusing on smart data, therapeutics and diagnostics. Debiopharm Innovation Fund is part of Debiopharm, a Switzerland-based bio-pharmaceutical conglomerate specialising in oncology and infectious diseases.

Both of the investors will provide invaluable expertise to BC Platforms – Tesi in the field of internationalisation and Debiopharm in the fields of medicine and life sciences.

“This is a combination of three factors from an investor viewpoint: [having] a clear competitive advantage in rapidly growing markets, a qualified team, management and advisory group, and impressive partners and customers,” Joni Karsikas, an investment manager at Tesi, lists in an interview with Talouselämä.