Opportunities in life sciences and health tech
Have you heard about the robot that prevents loneliness? Or what about the pioneering vaccine that could treat cancer? If the Oslo-based companies No Isolation or Nykode Therapeutics and their innovations are not in your vocabulary just yet, they might well be soon. From being a relatively small yet significant industry until the 2010s, the life sciences and health tech environment in Oslo is now growing at breakneck speed. Over the last ten years, the value creation in the field has seen a whopping 85 percent increase, culminating in an impressive total of EUR 108 million in 2021 - and an export figure of EUR 27.2 million in the same year.
Natural entrepreneurial center
There are several reasons for that, such as Oslo being a natural entrepreneurial center housing over 50 startup hubs - some of which, like Aleap and ShareLab, specialize on health tech and life sciences - offering unique environments for prototyping, market testing and networking. Furthermore, the R&D institutions in the Oslo region, such as The University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital, have a strong presence in life sciences and health tech, being at the forefront of many new innovations in the field. The University of Oslo is also developing a new Life Science Center at the time of writing, set for completion in 2026. With its 97 000 m2, this center will be Norway’s largest university and hospital building, and vital in the continuing development of life sciences and health tech in Oslo and beyond.
The cancer code
The Oslo region is especially recognized internationally for its ability to develop companies within cancer medicine, and the aforementioned Nykode Therapeutics, a biotechnology company who develops immunological therapies and vaccines for cancer treatment, is listed on Oslo stock exchange and currently valued at NOK 8,2 billion. Oncoinvent, who develops treatment for cancer patients, is another example of successful entrepreneurship within the health industry in Oslo, being the third oncology company started by Roy Larsen to later be listed on public markets.
Life sciences and health tech companies in Oslo experience strong interest amongst investors. In 2021, Oslo companies in the industry raised EUR 108 million, and investments in the Oslo region within life sciences and health tech from 2016-2022, including start-ups and scaleups, were a total of EUR 400 million. With Oslo also being strong on welfare technology and developers of technology for application in health care, the Norwegian capital is looking at an exciting few years ahead in the life sciences and health tech field.
Promising companies from Oslo:
No Isolation develops robotic tools for helping people out of loneliness. They started up in 2015, and is now a company of 40 employees. In 2022 they had a firm valuation of EUR 40-59 million, and raised NOK 90 million to finance further growth.
Nykode Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel immunotherapies. From their startup in 2007, Nykode Therapeutics have become an important player in the life sciences and health tech field, with a firm valuation of EUR 802 million in 2022.
Sources: Oslo State of the City report 2022, Startups and scaleups in the Oslo region 2022, The Life Science Cluster: Stort potensial for eksport av helseindustri, The Life Science Cluster: Helsenæringens verdi and Oslo Business Region.
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Tonje ØrnholtHead of Investment