Finnish biobank project receives EU funding

Establishment of Kuopio Biobank will boost biomedical research in eastern Finland.

The University of Eastern Finland and Kuopio University Hospital have received funding for the establishment of a joint biobank from the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund. Other funding partners include the private companies Reagena Oy and Ark Therapeutics.

Kuopio Biobank is expected to start operations in two years time and the total cost of establishing facility is EUR 635,980. According to the University of eastern Finland, the biobank will boost biomedical research opportunities and promote the networking of researchers, research institutes and companies. The target group of the project are particularly the research organisations and biomedical companies working in the North Savo region.

A new law concerning biobanks in Finland is currently going through parliament and is expected to come into effect from the beginning of 2013. If the law is passed, new biobanks will be established in all the university hospital districts around the country, the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), and at the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM).

According to the proposed law, both private and public entities could establish biobanks that store human cell and tissue samples. Starting a biobank in Finland would require approval from the National Committee on Medical Research Ethics, and information about the biobank would be stored in a national register established under the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Sources: University of Eastern Finland, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health