“The idea is to nanonise large-scale drug particles,” says Hæggström. “Smaller particles dissolve more quickly and fit into targeted areas more easily. In other words, nanonisation could make drugs more effective.”
Science as capital
Work on nanonisation began a decade ago, when professor Jouko Yliruusi proposed the original idea to Haeggström. That marked the beginning of a long development process.
“This is a great example of what the University community can achieve at its best,” Haeggström declares. “We had a vision, excellent participants and the opportunity to test different approaches.”
The project received funding from Tekes.
Now the idea will be commercialised. Once the patents have been obtained, Hæggström and his partners plan to establish a company that will offer nanonisation services to drug manufacturers.
The business world compels researchers to adopt a new philosophy.
“Someone once neatly encapsulated the difference between science and business, saying that in the lab, it is enough for a device to function once, but in a company it must function every single time,” Hæggström says.
Publications and patents side by side
In early 2015, while planning the commercialisation process, Hæggström turned to the University’s innovation services.
According to Jari Strandman, CEO of Helsinki Innovation Services, Hæggström’s idea is a textbook example of an innovation worth commercialising.
This spring, the University of Helsinki updated its commercialisation policy and invention guidelines. The goal is to encourage and pave the way for researchers to convert their inventions into business opportunities.
Strandman sees no conflict between commercialisation and open science.
“You have to consider how an invention can benefit society the most. It is not enough to publish the invention; it must also be productised.”