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Oslo and Toulouse Cancer Clusters Join Forces to Drive European Cancer Research Forward

OSLO, TOULOUSE, France and PARIS, November 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Oslo Cancer Cluster today signed a groundbreaking strategic agreement with the Toulouse Canceropole and Cancer-Bio-Sante Cluster which will lead to an integrated effort to become the leading cancer centers in Europe for developing new cancer therapies. The signatories were Philippe Douste-Blazy, President of Canceropole Toulouse Association, former mayor of Toulouse and former French foreign minister, Jean-Pierre Saintouil, CEO of Toulouse Cancer-Bio-Sante Cluster and Bjarte Reve, CEO of Oslo Cancer Cluster NCE. It also contained an initial series of key initiatives to be implemented over the next two years, including a joint response to the next cancer calls of the EU -Innovative Medicines Initiative.

According to Bjarte Reve, the agreement stems from growing recognition that combined research and industry-based clusters focusing on a particular therapeutic area are the way forward: "Oslo and Toulouse are pioneers in this area. Through partnership between the life science industry, research institutions, university hospitals, government and the Norwegian Cancer Society, we have been able to rapidly develop the Oslo Cancer Cluster. Having developed links with like-minded centres in the US, such as MD Anderson, when we turned to Europe, Toulouse stood out as a potential partner. We are therefore delighted to have signed this agreement and to share our vision of ensuring that patients have access to the latest cancer diagnostics and therapeutics as quickly and cost-effectively as possible."

Philippe Douste-Blazy , initiator of the Toulouse project, congratulated the creators of this collaboration and stressed the similarities between Oslo and Toulouse: "This is especially evident in their ethical approach that cannot be categorized as a purely economic approach but instead places the patient at the heart of the concept."

Jean-Pierre Saintouil, also welcomed the agreement: "Our experience in Toulouse has paralleled that of Oslo. The Canceropole and the Cancer-Bio-Sante Cluster have drawn strength by bringing together a hospital, universities, research institutes and companies and integrating the academic fields and technologies necessary to fight cancer such as biology, chemistry, nanotechnologies, information technologies, mathematics etc., Similar to Oslo, the primary objective is to improve prevention, treatment and diagnostics and thereby the lives of cancer patients."


Under the terms of the agreement, Oslo Cancer Cluster NCE with Cancer-Bio-Sante Cluster and Toulouse Canceropole commit to cooperate in the fight against cancer, to create new business and industries and to stimulate exchanges and investments, through good practice and effective joint research activities. This will be achieved with the cooperation of industry, academia, training, finance & venture capital and government in the respective regions. Both parties are also committed to putting physical resources in place - Oslo recently announced a Euro 150 million investment in a Cancer Innovation Park to be completed by august 2012, while Toulouse is building the Canceropole and numerous other dedicated facilities at a cost of Euros I billion.

New thinking is a major feature of both projects, the Cancer Innovation Park in Oslo will include a high school and dedicated phase 1 clinical trials unit, while Canceropole has a multidisciplinary life sciences institute and business centre, a hospital dedicated to innovation close to important research centers (Pierre Fabre and Sanofi Aventis.)

Moving forward, a series of potential initiatives have already been identified:

- Exchanging knowledge, scientific, technological and market


- Exchanging qualified staff (post docs),

- Sharing access to research and testing facilities,

- Developing new and better services to clustered firms

- Exchanging best practices in all fields from project management

for site development (Toulouse Cancer Campus and Oslo Cancer Cluster

Innovation Park ) to best practices in all the fields around cancer care

and research

- Organizing an annual oncology partnering meeting alternating

between Toulouse and Oslo.

In addition, the new agreement contains an intent to answer the next cancer calls of the EU's Innovative Medicine Initiative: "We believe that by combing our resources and synergizing the SMEs and research labs of both clusters, we will be able to put forward powerful practical proposals to the IMI," concludes Reve.

Interested parties will be able to hear about more about the collaboration at both the upcoming Genesis Conference in London, December 9-10 and at the BIO2009 Convention in Atlanta.

More information:

Bjarte Reve, CEO, Oslo Cancer Cluster NCE - cellphone: +47-971-09-585.

Jean-Pierre Saintouil, CEO, Toulouse Cancer-Bio-Sante Cluster - tel: +33(0)5-34-25-50-43

Cecile Chicoye, Director, Toulouse Canceropole Association - tel +33(0)5-34-25-50-44
For pictures and more information: please visit our websiteS

SOURCE Oslo Cancer Cluster
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