Research to Business Projects at the University of Turku

The Research to Business funding of Business Finland promotes the development of an idea while also preparing its commercialisation in order to form a new business activity.

Ongoing projects


Cancer drug development is a complex process in which medications that specifically target a chosen target protein are designed and further developed to enable cancer treatment. Although cancer treatment has advanced significantly in recent years, no treatments are still available for many types of cancer, and the prognosis is very short. In the LEADS4CIP project, a new, targeted drug therapy is being developed for these types of cancers that are still beyond the reach of current treatments. The research is conducted at the University of Turku, Institute of Biomedicine, where both research resources and a local drug development hub enable the efficient progress of the project.

More information: Marjo Pihlavisto


The SuperTROPO project aims to promote commercialization of the SuperTROPO test. The SuperTROPO test detects special long forms of cardiac troponin T molecule in blood samples. Cardiac troponin tests are widely used in diagnosing heart attack in patients arriving at the hospital with symptoms of heart attack such as chest pain. The current troponin tests are positive for 50% of such patients, although only 10% of them actually have a heart attack. Repeated troponin testing is required to better identify the heart attack patients but still is not helping much. The current tests detect both long and short forms of cardiac troponins. Based on preliminary results the SuperTROPO test, which detects solely the long troponin forms, identifies the patients who have heart attack clearly better than the tests currently at use in hospitals. However, it is essential to confirm these results in a larger study in the intended clinical setting in the SuperTROPO project to be able to commercialize the SuperTROPO test. In addition, the possibilities for commercialization of SuperTROPO test are explored by detailed market and business environment analyses, immaterial property right investigations, evaluation of various commercialization strategies in the SuperTROPO project. There are no tests similar to SuperTROPO available elsewhere. The other methods for detecting the special long forms of cardiac troponin T are very complicated and cannot be implemented in hospital laboratories. When SuperTROPO test is commercialized and becomes available at the hospitals, it can improve patient care by securing efficient treatment and decreasing the numbers of unnecessary expensive and risky treatment procedures. SuperTROPO can also produce significant savings in healthcare, ease the burden of healthcare professionals especially at the crowded emergency departments and benefit the environment by decreasing waste as there is less need for repeated tests.

More information: Marjo Pihlavisto


The fats and oils in our diet are an important part of maintaining overall health and well-being. The different dietary fats are known to have many effects, but it is very challenging to determine the properties and influence of specific fats, as the current analytical methods are unable to determine the exact molecular structures of fat. In addition to the composition of fatty acids (FA), the properties of fat are influenced by the locations of FAs in individual triacylglycerol molecules (TAGs), consisting of three FAs and a glycerol backbone. Up to 98% of dietary fat consists of TAGs, so it is a very significant part of our daily diet. The same fatty acid composition in different structural configurations (regioisomers) may affect fat absorption and physical properties such as melting point or stability. The effects of regioisomers on absorption have been demonstrated, for example, in breast milk and infant formulas, which often have very different TAG-regioisomer compositions. This may lead to poor absorption of fat from infant formula, posing challenges and deficiencies in current infant nutrition.

The FATanalyser provide powerful methods for in-depth structural analysis of regioisomers in fats and oils, which will enable precision product design in the development of healthier foods, nutraceuticals, and food supplements. The purpose of this project is to optimize our novel methods to be suitable for routine analytics and to provide after the project an analysis service to companies, helping them to in developing novel products. Since no other analysis service in the world provides similar structural analysis of fat and oils at this level, we will also cooperate with the commercial analytical service providers to allow our methods to be used as widely as possible around the world.

More information: Erik Niemelä

Flavoria Flex

Consumers want to know what is in the food they eat, how it affects their health. The content of the food is essential if you have food allergies. In nursing homes it is very important to know that elderly people do get enough nutrition.

The size of food service market is globally about 4000 milj.€. There are over 16 000 professional kitchens in Finland. Food service companies want to develop their services to respond to the customer needs and for that they need data on the customer behavior. Collection and exploitation of data will be in an essential role in business development of food service companies.

Intelligent Flavoria Flex solution will be developed to solve these needs. It is an easy-to-install system collecting detailed information on the amount and quality of consumers’ food selection choices. Data is compiled and provided to the food service company for improving the food selection and to the consumers for following the food choices.

There are currently available separate technological solutions for food service companies, but there is not any whole concept solution available. Flavoria Flex multisensory solution enables the monitoring of individuals’ food choices and it scales to the needs of different size food service companies. The project investigates the information production capabilities of imaging technologies in a restaurant, retail and care services and preparations to commercialize the whole concept.

More information: Anssi Kähkönen

SWS - Smart Wear Sensor

The objective of the Smart Wear Sensor (SWS) R2B project is to develop and commercialize SWS-technology, which enables real-time quality monitoring of problematic or relevant wear of surfaces in R&D-sector and in mass production. SWS-technology can be utilized e.g. in precision machining of different materials, and to automatic control of production phases or processes.

More information: Anssi Kähkönen


In our everyday life, we are using many electronic devices. These devices are made of semiconductor materials. Different semiconductor materials are used in devices depending on the application area. In RONASEC project, we apply our technology on devices made of compound semiconductors. We can improve devices made of III-V semiconductors (solar cells, detectors, LEDs, and lasers) by our technology. We offer increased energy efficiency for such devices with an environmentally friendly and scalable technology with lower production/investment cost. Our technology is simple and does not require specific equipment nor critical raw materials.

More information: Anssi Kähkönen

NAVIGATOR - A Novel Tool for Early Diagnostics and Treatment of Brain Metastases

Brain metastasis are fatal complications of several different cancers. Currently used tools (including PET, CT, or MRI scans) do NOT allow early diagnosis of brain metastases, which are today diagnosed based on persisting symptoms like headache, memory loss, personality changes, or seizures. This late diagnosis, in most cases, leads to poor prognosis with average of 6 months life expectancy. Thus, there is a significant unmet medical need for prolonging survival of these patients.

We have designed and developed the NAVIGATOR, a targeting molecule that can be conjugated via a linker to a radioisotope to specifically label and visualize brain tumour cells via a routine PET imaging. The NAVIGATOR offers unique features that allow specific recognition of tumour cells and will be used for unprecedented early diagnostics, thus, disrupting the current status quo. Due to the uniqueness of the NAVIGATOR no other agent with similar properties exists in the market.

The NAVIGATOR has the potential to revolutionize the way patients are diagnosed and treated today. The NAVIGATOR enables early diagnostics of brain metastases even when tumours are small allowing earlier treatment and thus prolonging the lifespan of patients. Importantly, NAVIGATOR will improve patients’ ability to return to work and actively participate in life, thus, lowering the burden in the health care systems with significant positive economic and societal impact.

More information: Marjo Pihlavisto

Metabolic Engineering by Single Cell Mutant Selection

Our innovation takes advantage of single cell technologies to revolutionize traditional industrial strain development. Industrial enzymes and microbial natural products are produced in a closed environment in a bioreactor. Therefore, product yields determine the commercial viability of the product and a microbial strain with high product yields provides a significant competitive advantage.Optimized industrial strains that produce high quantity of desired products are of great interest for pharmaceutical and enzyme companies. Industrial enzyme market alone is extensive, valued at $10 billion. There has been a drastic change in the lifestyle of human beings and the expected lifespan has increased since the industrial revolution. New types of diseases are discovered, and microbe derived products continue to provide solutions to such diseases. Global Microbial Product Market is expected to grow $250 billion by 2023. Many international companies in enzyme production market rely on bacterial strains in manufacturing and our solution would cut production cost and reduce production time in an eco-friendly manner. We will demonstrate the superiority of our strain development tool and generate a set of verified industrial strains, which can be launched commercially after completion of the project and sold to the manufacturing industry. At the end of the project, our technology will become the de facto leader in the field of industrial strain development.

More information: Mikko Metsä-Ketelä and Erik Niemelä

On-Chip Edge AI Commercialization

Computers have become essential to all aspects of modern society and are omnipresent. With the increasing utilization of deep neural networks, applications are becoming more data centric and traditional computers are struggling to catch up. This is why a new computing paradigm is necessary. A physical construction of a deep neural network as hardware is known as neuromorphic computing. It is characterized by mimicking the parallel processing of biological systems. Just like brains in mammals, neuromorphic systems are based on combinations of a large number of simple processing units (artificial neurons), each of them connected by artificial synapses potentially reducing the power-consumption by a thousand times. This is completely different to traditional “von Neumann” architecture, where the processor and memory units are physically separated which give rise to the data transfer bottleneck.
To implement this next generation of computers, we also need new devices that behave more like biological neurons and synapses. Memristor devices are the lead candidate for this task and are envisioned to have very low power consumption as well as high scalability properties, which are drawbacks of current neuromorphic computing. Therefore, the implementation of memristor devices could pave the way for next generation hardware-oriented applications using artificial intelligence with significantly lower power-consumption and reduced carbon footprint.
Taking advantage of our knowledge and expertise in the fabrication and characterization of complex oxides, we will carry an ambitious project of implementing memristive devices composed of low bandwidth manganites as the building block of neuromorphic circuits. For this aim, we have gathered a group of specific expertise combined with the vast experience of our collaboration network to develop the next generation computers required to bridge the gap between isolated devices and their implementation in neural networks circuits.

More information: Petriina Paturi and Anssi Kähkönen


The global general lighting market is 30 B$ (2020) and reaching 43B$ by 2027 with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of over 5%. However, current lighting solutions have negative environmental impacts because they contain rare earth and toxic heavy metal traces. Governments globally apply stricter regulation and pressure for reducing CO2 emission, resulting in a CAGR of 34% for lighting products that are ecological and have a smaller carbon footprint.
We have currently developed and already successfully patented in Finland a fully functional white organic light-emitting diode (WOLED) prototype in our laboratory using a single purely organic light-emitting material and a novel photonic design that we call "Bragg converter”. Our goal in the R2B is to introduce to the market our new white organic light-emitting diode (WOLED) device architecture. During the R2B project, we will focus on increasing the luminous efficacy (efficiency) and luminance (brightness) of our WOLEDs in order to reach the general illumination standards (lighting applications). We anticipate that further funding will come from future industrial partners.

More information: Konstantinos Daskalakis and Anssi Kähkönen

New anti-counterfeiting switchable invisible ink

The project investigates the commercialization of a new type of multifunctional pigment for security inks. According to an estimation from 2016 done by OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) the value of ceased counterfeit products around the globe is around 500 billion euros, which is around 3.3% of the total global market of goods. Counterfeit products cause economical losses for the manufacturers of genuine products. They also may cause adverse health effects and pose a safety risk for their users. OECD is concerned that these fake products and their market increases criminality and diminishes the trust of the general public towards authorities, as well as hinders economic growth. University of Turku has developed a multifunctional security pigment that can be used in several authentication application and logistics. Security inks are used in the authenticity marking of several product types as well as in tags used in tracking items. By changing the pigments currently used in these inks with this new technology, it is possible to decrease costs significantly. This is because the new pigment gives four functionalities in one pigment. One of these is not available in any other pigment or ink: an on/off switchable property in a range that is invisible to the naked eye. These functionalities make a tunable fingerprint for the ink that is very difficult to forge. The new pigments are non-toxic and recyclable. Thus, the project strongly supports sustainability. Because this new pigment will replace the current ones in the security inks, the customer making the labelling will not need to make any new instrumental acquisitions and thus these technologies can be put to use without new investments. Similarly, the reading of the label needs no new expensive equipment and thus the commercialization potential of this innovation is huge, especially as the global market of security inks is currently 2.5 billion euros and rising 5 % annually.

More information: Mika Lastusaari and Anssi Kähkönen

NWoW - Digital Platform for Professional Growth and Change Management

The project focuses on pre-commercialization activities of a collaborative talent development and change management tool.

More information: Eeli Saarinen and Mikko Pohjola (IP: Anssi Kähkönen)


Analysis of tissue structure - histology - is widely used method in medicine and biology. Histology is being used in safety studies of chemicals, drug development and scientific research. Histology, however, is largely based in decades-old methods. New developments for these methods can enhance quality of analyses and reduce costs. This could have significant impact in all parties utilizing histology, such as pharmaceutical and chemical industry. Global market of histology and toxicology is growing strongly, which creates new business opportunities. The aim of this project is to prepare commercialization of a new method suitable for analysis of tissue structure.

More information: Ilkka Paatero and Marjo Pihlavisto

Click-on-Chip Radiochemistry for Diagnostic PET Imaging in Personalized Medicine

In this project, commercialization of microfluidic radiosynthesis kits is prepared. Applicability of the microfluidic kits in production of radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic imaging is investigated with special focus on cancer diagnostics.

More information: Anu Airaksinen and Marjo Pihlavisto

EPLIN-based Method for Identifying Aggressive Cancer and for Designing Personalized Cancer Treatment

The goal of the EPAST-project is to validate a novel biomarker-based method for cancer patients to identify cancer aggressiveness and for personalized medicine usage.

In the Proof-of-Principle studies, biomarker function has already been validated in head and neck cancers. They are the sixth most common cancer in the world. Approximately 800 000 new patients are diagnosed with head and neck cancers globally each year, and they are causing the death of about 400 000 patients annually worldwide. In addition, in our Proof-of-Principle studies we have been able to demonstrate that the indication of the biomarker-based method could be extended to other than head and neck cancers as well and that the biomarker recognition can also be used in selection of treatment modalities in cancer patients. In summary, the EPAST-project has a very high potential to produce a novel biomarker-based method for the personalized cancer medicine and for international cancer markets.

In the future, the EPAST project aims are:
1) to expand and ensure the functionality of the biomarker as widely as possible in identifying the aggressiveness of different cancers
2) to ensure the functionality of the biomarker in personalized medicine and in the individual selection of anticancer drugs
3) to determine and ensure the widest possible use of the biomarker in hospitals and as a part of the cancer treatment guidance among cancer patients
4) to identify and create a platform and a business model to ensure the widest possible commercial use of the biomarker in the international cancer diagnostic and treatment guidance market.

More information: Sami Ventelä and Marjo Pihlavisto


The commercialization of a solution related to a heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is investigated in this project. The targeted solution is for home use of heart failure patients. The patients and their physicians can monitor the progression of their disease and detect when the disease gets worse in time, thereby avoiding the acute hospital readmissions.

More information: Mikko Pänkäälä and Anssi Kähkönen


Learning LED

Project investigates the impact of different lights on plants in greenhouse and vertical farm conditions. The aim of the project is to minimize the energy consumption of LED lighting. Project is based on fundamental photosynthesis research and aims to commercialize photosynthesis knowledge by combining it to artificial intelligence, LED technology and embedded systems.

More information: Mikko Tikkanen

Ended projects

Silicon Surface Processing Commercialization (SISUPROCO)

Lisätietoja: Anssi Kähkönen

Verenpaineen seuranta paineanturi-matriisilla

Lisätietoja: Anssi Kähkönen

Novel immuno-oncological approaches for cancer treatment

Lisätietoja: Marjo Pihlavisto

Commercialization of the UV Sensing and Glow Properties of Synthetic Optimizable Hakcmanite (SENSOGLOW)

Lisätietoja: Anssi Kähkönen

Novel AML diagnostic tools

Lisätietoja: Marjo Pihlavisto

PROSMART - Smart determination of aggressive prostate cancer using genetic biomarkers

Lisätietoja: Marjo Pihlavisto

Development of Blood Borne Biomarkers for Early Prediction of Type 1 Diabetes

Lisätietoja: Marjo Pihlavisto

Laadukkaampaa ja eettisempää lihaa: karjunhajun seulonta

Lisätietoja: Marjo Pihlavisto

A next generation approach to drug development for Alzheimer’s Disease

Lisätietoja: Marjo Pihlavisto

Aivokudosvaurion metaboliset merkkiaineet

Lisätietoja: Marjo Pihlavisto

Your Kind of Games
Diabetes ja luusto- uusi näkökulma diabetesdiagnostiikkaan

Lisätietoja: Marjo Pihlavisto

A screening platform for oncology & drug discovery
Commercialization of Novel Interfaces (COMNINT)
Synteettinen glykoklusteriadjuvantti syövän immunoterapiaan (TY/ÅA)

Lisätietoja: Marjo Pihlavisto

Ultra-Low Energy Microcontroller (TY/Aalto/VTT)

Lisätietoja: Anssi Kähkönen

Number Navigation Edusystem

Lisätietoja: Anssi Kähkönen

Prediktiivinen testi munasarjasyövän diagnostiikkaan (TY/HY )

Lisätietoja: Marjo Pihlavisto

Sydämen uusi mittausmenetelmä

Lisätietoja: Anssi Kähkönen

Smart Pollen (TY/Ilmatieteen laitos)

Lisätietoja: Anssi Kähkönen

Pikamääritys sinilevätoksiineille (TY/VTT)

Lisätietoja: Anssi Kähkönen


Lisätietoja: Anssi Kähkönen

Oligoadjuvantti allergian siedätyshoidossa (TY/ÅA)

Lisätietoja: Marjo Pihlavisto

Endometrioosin biomarkkerit (TY/VTT)

Lisätietoja: Marjo Pihlavisto

Sähköiset palvelut mielenterveystyöhön (@EduMental)

Lisätietoja: Anssi Kähkönen

Sydämen eteisvärinän tunnistaminen (Whispers-af-detect)

Lisätietoja: Anssi Kähkönen

KiVa koulu

Lisätietoja: Anne Marjamäki