New opportunities unfold as Oulu sets up a partnership with Roche

Roche, Oulu University Hospital, the University of Oulu and the City of Oulu have signed a major framework agreement on cooperation. All the parties gathered on 23 May 2019 in Oulu to confirm a partnership that enables working together on clinical trials, educational activities, research and innovation. The partnership is also expected to advance personalized healthcare and result in new project opportunities.

Roche is a Swiss multinational healthcare company that operates worldwide under two divisions: pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. The company focuses on research and developing medical treatments of, for example, cancer as well as neurological and rare diseases. Anssi Linnankivi, Medical Director at Roche, highlights that many clinical trials are already run in hospitals in Finland to test new treatments and the aim is to strengthen clinical trial collaboration with Oulu.

‘I believe the document we have signed today strengthens our position among other university hospitals in Finland and opens new doors for cooperation,’ said Ilkka Luoma, Chief Executive Director at Oulu University Hospital.

‘We are aiming to identify the topics that will be of interest to Roche, the University of Oulu, the city and Oulu University Hospital. Our university has a great tradition of putting its best research results into practice and collaborating with ICT companies, which supports development of innovations. We are more than happy to expand collaboration in the medical field. I believe there are several fields of mutual interest and one of them could be digital health,’ added Taina Pihlajaniemi, Vice Rector at the University of Oulu.

All the parties involved are going to combine forces to generate better results in the fields of medical research, personalized and value-based healthcare as well as education of healthcare professionals. The agreement is perfectly compatible with the multi-stakeholder model of the OuluHealth ecosystem and strengthens its collaboration with health companies. Hospital, university, city and Roche representatives will now form a steering group to define common strategy and identify the initiatives that will have the most potential.  The first meeting of the group is scheduled for 20 June.

‘This agreement is unique for Roche because it brings together four important entities. We will be able to work with all the stakeholders in the healthcare sector, which brings us a great spectrum of new opportunities to innovate,’ concluded Anne Raami, Healthcare District Leader at Roche.

The framework agreement will be valid for the following three years and was signed by Ilkka Luoma on behalf of the hospital, Taina Pihlajaniemi and Anne Remes on behalf of the university, Sirkka-Liisa Olli on behalf of the city and Anssi Linnankivi on behalf of Roche.

Joanna Seppänen, Health & Life Science, BusinessOulu