Crisis averted for Norway’s OCC
Oslo – At the end of January, the Norwegian government put forward a biotech crisis package with a total volume of up to a150m. Key measures include an increased funding of innovation loans from the industrial development agency Innovation Norway, tax breaks for individual small and medium-sized enterprises, funding for R&D collaborations within the industry sector, and increased equity capital for the government-owned investment company Argentum. The first phase of the initiative is expected to begin in May.
“This is an active political move to support the biotech industry. At this point, these seem to be the measures necessary to bring Norwegian biotech companies through the financial crisis,” commented Bjarte Reve, the CEO of the Oslo Cancer Cluster.
The organisation first called for help in the form of a crisis package in early December, urging the Norwegian Government to adopt crucial measures to help the Norwegian life science sector through the financial downturn. It is now hoped that the additional funding will ensure that the OCC’s 50 member companies can accelerate the development of new cancer therapies and diagnostics. Reve says that over half of them are in danger of running out of cash in the next 12 to 18 months. Taken as a whole, the companies that make up the Oslo Cancer Cluster have more than 50 oncology products in the pipeline that would be vulnerable to takeovers or dying out due to lack of funding.