NorTrials - an Important Door Has Been Opened

For the pharmaceutical industry in Norway, NorTrials is a dream that has finally come true.

Portrait of Hege Edvardsen

​LMI on NorTrials​​​

- NorTrials represents a door for us into the clinical research environments within Norwegian hospitals. Although we have worked for 10-15 years to get this door, this is not an end point. This is when the work begins, says Hege Edvardsen, senior advisor at The association of the Norwegian pharmaceutical industry (LMI), with clinical trials as her field of expertise.

Most new medicines and vaccines are developed and tested by the pharmaceutical industry - in collaboration with the health care services - in clinical trials. Clinical trials are all about documenting the effect, safety and quality of these new medicines. But there is an international competition to attract these trials, and there are still a number of bottlenecks that need to be resolved in order to be able to participate at a high level in that competition. Worldwide, as of February 2022, there are around 11,000 industry-funded clinical trials with ongoing recruitment. Norway only attracts a tiny fraction of these; in 2021, 86 trials were applied for to the Competent Authorities. Around 60% of this were pharma (commercial) trials, while 40% were hospital-initiated (non-commercial) trials.

The potential is so much, much greater. Norway is far ahead when it comes to research, development and treatment in the cancer field, with a professional world-class setting. 44% of pharma trials in 2021 were cancer trials. In collaboration with industry, six therapy areas have been selected where NorTrials centers have been established. These will be in front in the effort to get more clinical trials to Norway. One of the six areas is cancer, the other five are brain health, gastrointestinal diseases, cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases and inflammation, and medical devices.

Now it is all about building cooperation, culture and knowledge about each other's priorities and focus areas, highlighting where we have our strengths and showcasing the sites that are best in class when it comes to performing clinical trials in Norway. This also applies to therapy areas and hospital departments outside the six NorTrials centres.

- The pharma industry is represented on the NorTrials board, and we will continue to work hard and purposefully in the hope of getting more clinical trials to Norway. We are very happy about the clear political signals that this is a public-private collaboration that is being focused on, and that clear signals are being given from the university hospital management, so that the answer when asked to participate in clinical trials must be YES. Working together to promote Norway is the key to success, says Edvardsen.

About LMI​​

The association of the Norwegian pharmaceutical industry (LMI) has around 60 member companies with around 4,000 employees. There are 15 employees in LMI’s administration. The member companies range from small Norwegian biotech companies to large global pharmaceutical companies. In these companies, people from several professions are employed: researchers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, midwives, physiotherapists, biologists, health economists, engineers and operators. Our members contribute as of today with the majority of the industry-funded trials in Norway, and we will continue to work to ensure that Norway is competitive in terms of attracting more trials.

Article written by LMI