Iceland and Finland – Frontrunners in Bio & Health Technologies Seminar
The seminar Iceland and Finland – Frontrunners in Bio & Health Technologies was organised by the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK in collaboration with Healthtech Finland and Business Finland in Helsinki on 16 May 2018 as part of the visit of H.E. Mr Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, President of the Republic of Iceland, to Finland. The event served as an occasion for the Icelandic and Finnish companies in the bio and health technology field to pitch and showcase their products and knowhow.
In his welcoming speech, Mr Jyri Häkämies, Director General of EK, highlighted the promising and growing business opportunities in the bio and health tech field both in Iceland and Finland. Also, he referred to the challenges of the welfare society that both countries face.
In his opening remarks, Mr Sigurður Hannesson, Managing Director, Federation of Icelandic Industries SI, stated that the trade between Finland and Iceland could and should be increased. As populations worldwide suffer from chronical diseases, health technology companies provide value for the health care sector, increasing prosperity and improving lives. The health technology sector is growing fast particularly in Finland, and there is growth in the Icelandic bio, health and pharmaceutical sector, as well.
H.E. Mr Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, President of the Republic of Iceland, in his keynote address, brought up dementia as one of the serious illnesses of our times. He reminded the audience that a good sleep is the key to long and healthy life. It is vital to work together on the common goal to improve people’s lives. President Jóhannesson briefly presented the Icelandic companies in the delegation: Nox Medical, Mentis Cura and Össur. The President stated that in health care, quick and accurate diagnostics is essential, while prevention is the best. His Excellency therefore called for a healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude for a long and healthy life.
Three Icelandic and three Finnish companies gave a pitching round.
Nox Medical from Iceland specialises in sleep diagnostics and treating sleep apnea. Already five million people in the world have been treated with Nox Medical’s solution.
Mentis Cura is an Icelandic company fighting dementia with affordable and accurate brain diagnostics. There are 10 million new dementia cases in the world each year. Mentis Cura is a business cooperation of Iceland and Norway with a strong global presence.
Össur from Iceland specialises in non-invasive orthopaedics. It develops bionic technology and prostheses with sensors that allow patients to sense the ground and mimic the original functions of body parts.
Mr Veli Mäkelä, Vice President of Planmeca, the largest privately held dental equipment company in Finland, and Chairman of Healthtech Finland, highlighted the assets of the health technology sector in Finland: IBM Watson, 5G by Nokia, the booming wellness sector close to health tech, as well as the vibrant startup ecosystem. In terms of Planmeca, besides its annual commitment of 10 percent to R&D, innovations are developed in close collaboration with health care professionals and leading universities.
Polar Electro is a Finnish company that invented the wearable heart rate monitor. Polar wrist units, monitoring activity and sleep alike, are globally known and currently sold in 83 countries, including Iceland. Polar develops remote and self-monitoring, applying big data and artificial intelligence to health care and wellbeing.
Evondos, a Finland-based company, develops and produces medicine dispensing robots that help patients at home take their medicine in right quantity and at the right time. Evondos’ robot saves the resources of the home care providers, while making living at home safer and more comfortable for the elderly patients.
In his concluding remarks, besides praising the innovations developed by the companies, President Jóhannesson noted, how to ensure that all the people in the society have access to these advanced and helpful technologies. Furthermore, the President asked the company representatives to express gratitude to their staff members, as they are the most important component of the business.