Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru signed an agreement on the establishment of the national Drug Development Centre (Kansallinen lääkekehityskeskus Oy) on Friday, 4 February 2022. The establishment of the national Drug Development Centre in Turku will promote competitive drug development, and it will serve the researchers in the whole country, for example in universities, research centres, and hospitals.
A majority of the novel drugs developed in Finland have been developed in the Turku region, which has a broad and diverse network of drug development and other health sector companies. The collaboration between the business sector, institutions of higher education, and the public sector representatives is solid.
– The demand for the Drug Development Centre and the benefits it will bring are clear, and we are very pleased about the Minister’s decision. Turku is a natural location to establish the centre, and I am sure that the co-operation between the universities and the sector will be excellent, says Rector of the University of Turku Jukka Kola.
One of the people who have been advancing the founding of the Drug Development Centre at the University of Turku is Research Director of Turku Bioscience Centre, Professor Jukka Westermarck. According to Westermarck, the new centre will help offer a solution to one of the major bottlenecks of the drug development process.
– Without an actor like the Drug Development Centre, even the best research results cannot be developed into products – medicine that is commercially interesting and helpful for patients. Primarily, it is important for society and the tax-payers that investments in science and research also reflect on the national economy. Establishing the centre is also a good demonstration on how these kinds of bottlenecks can be solved as co-operation between different actors of society, says Westermarck.
In other countries, the experiences with founding drug development centres have proved positive. They have enabled the advancing of drug development projects based on academic research to the clinical stage of the drug development process and also given birth to new growth companies.
Finnish Cancer Center FICAN Receives State Grant of 2.85M€
The national Finnish Cancer Center FICAN was established in 2019 and consists of a national, coordinating unit and five regional cancer centres. Each regional centre will be granted 0.5 million euros, and the coordinating unit 0.35 million euros.
The Finnish Cancer Center coordinates the purposeful use of the service system’s resources in cancer treatment as well as national cancer research. National steering ensures equal treatment for all cancer patients regardless of their place of residence, promotes the research in the field, quality of treatments, and cost-effectiveness.
– We are very happy that the Cancer Center has now been granted state grant which allows the development of the operations of FICAN and the regional centres also in future. The Western Cancer Center will also support the operations of the national Drug Development Centre by developing cancer treatment and clinical research, says Professor Panu Jaakkola.
The Finnish Cancer Centre is coordinated by Helsinki University Hospital, and the University of Turku participates in the operations of Western Cancer Center, which was founded in 2017. The Western Cancer Center coordinates oncological treatment, research and training in Western Finland (Turku University Hospital, Satasairaala, Vaasa Central Hospital, and the University of Turku).