Presenting Kuopio Health members: Finnadvance’s organ-on-chips accelerate drug testing
“The local operators are not in competition with one another. We should rather work locally in genuine and transparent cooperation, and join our forces as the real competition takes place in the international market.”
Finnadvance’s organ-on-chips accelerate drug testing
Finnadvance is a biotechnology start-up from Oulu, Finland. The company has already achieved a lot during its couple of years in operation. The company manufactures 3D organ-on-chips which utilise technologies such as microfluidics. The used cell culture media simulate tissue and organ function, mechanics and physiological response.
“The media mimic human organs and diseases more realistically than animal testing, saving both costs and time. Using an organ-on-chip significantly reduces the need for animal testing. This is particularly useful for researchers and the pharmaceutical industry”, explains Prateek Singh, the CEO of Finnadvance.
The organ-on-chip solution is expected to provide cost-effective help particularly in the development of drugs for rare diseases as well as in personal drug therapy. Making use of this technology, which is currently less than ten years old, is still rare at the global level.
Aiming at rapid growth
The company has attracted the interest of financiers, and it has succeeded in attracting significant investments from players such as Voima Ventures, a private equity fund focused on deep tech, and angel investors in biotechnology.
Finnadvance is currently negotiating possible collaboration with potential foreign partners. The company will first head to Japan, where there is major interest in developing drugs for problems related to ageing. There is also interest in the US market, where many major pharmaceutical companies operate and where technology that has been found to work well can be rapidly introduced to the market.
The aim is to grow quickly: according to Singh, the company is currently expecting to employ between 30 and 50 persons in less than two years. The company also aims to collaborate with the world’s largest drug manufacturers.
Even though some challenges may emerge related to attracting funding and personnel in Finland, the company is not looking to transfer its operations abroad.
“What keeps us here in Finland is the quality of life, which is something you cannot really put a price tag on”, Singh says with a smile.
Expanding from Oulu to Kuopio
Prateek Singh established Finnadvance Oy in December 2018, while he was in the process of completing his doctoral studies in biotechnology. The company currently employs 16 people and has a serious wish to recruit more employees. However, a challenge emerges as the company needs highly specialised employees.
“This is one of the reasons why we joined Kuopio Health. We hope to get help for our recruitment processes”, Singh explains.
The goal is to expand the company’s operations from Oulu to the Kuopio region, and the company has been actively working to find suitable premises. The company has already immersed itself to collaboration with the local operators. Joining the open Kuopio Health innovation ecosystem aims to improve the company’s opportunities for collaboration in biotechnology.
Singh believes that the competence found in Finnadvance can benefit the development of biosciences in the whole region. There is a wish for collaboration in preclinical and clinical research. Local companies can make use of organ-on-chips as testing platforms.
Singh feels that he has been very warmly welcomed in the Kuopio region. He emphasises that the local operators are not in competition with one another. Rather than this, there is a need to work locally in a genuine and transparent cooperation, and to join forces as the real competition takes place in the international market.