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Drug development at the heart of this year’s HealthBIO in Turku

HealthBIO, which will take place in Turku on 14 September, is the largest annual event in the Finnish life sciences industry, offering a comprehensive analysis of the current state and future prospects of the sector. Now in the year of the establishment of the Drug Development Centre, the theme of the event is drug development and financing.

The event will include a presentation by Jyrki Liljeroos, Chairman of the Drug Development Centre, on the Centre’s next steps and timetable.

“The government’s decision to capitalise the Drug Development Centre with €20 million brought a different kind of concreteness to our work. Now we can really plan and move forward. The biggest added value of HealthBIO for us is that we get ideas and possibly even initiatives on what the industry, potential customers and partners, want from the Drug Development Centre,” Liljeroos muses.

Representatives of large companies will also be present to explain what their current needs are and how SMEs can be better involved in the collaboration. Among others, Nina Ekholm-Wenberg, Country Director / General Manager at The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, will speak on how their parent company Johnson & Johnson sees the role of innovation in transforming healthcare. From the point of view of international health companies, the slow and extensive adoption of health innovation is currently a weakness in Finland, which has a small population.

“However, Finland’s strengths are definitely its level of expertise in genomics and real-life impact data, as well as the favourable legislation that encourages this kind of activity. The reforms of the registry legislation and the biobanking law are internationally renowned. Finland also has a high level of clinical expertise, as recognised for example by the Comprehensive Cancer Centre status of the HUS Cancer Centre,” says Ekholm-Wenberg.

Senior Executive of HealthTurku Tero Piispanen at last year’s HealthBIO.

According to Tero Piispanen, Senior Executive of HealthTurku at Turku Science Park Ltd, HealthBIO has very good presentations again this year, but the main takeaway is the discussions between Finnish life science companies, financiers and universities.

“HealthBIO has become a domestic life science partnering event, where everyone in the industry wants to come to talk to other industry players and network. That’s why we have a long get together evening after the event day.”

According to Piispanen, the drug development industry in Finland has undergone a lot of changes in the last few years, which shows that the sector has matured. There have been acquisitions, many major commercial agreements and increased exports. Piispanen considers that centralising the Drug Development Centre in Turku is a better option than splitting the centre into several cities, as the centre will now be able to accumulate Finnish and in-house expertise in the drug development process more efficiently.

HealthBIO is a life science event organised by Turku Science Park Ltd, now in its 16th year. 200 visitors are expected to attend.

Full programme on the Turku Business Region website.

You can access the presentation materials after the event via our website.