Brain diseases – how to turn a burden into an opportunity

Brain Diseases Symposium at the University of Helsinki brainstormed how to turn an 800 billion euro burden into an opportunity.

Brain diseases such as stroke and Alzheimer’s disease cause Europe an annual financial burden of €800 billion. On 12 November 2015, the University of Helsinki arranged a Brain Diseases Symposium with Biogen, Herantis Pharma, and Pharma Industry Finland, inviting experts and stakeholders to identify concrete ways of turning this huge burden into an opportunity: How to help both Finnish national economy and patients benefit from the excellent scientific research in Finland?

Guest speakers included Finland's Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn, EC Vice President Jyrki Katainen, and Biogen's Vice President for European and Canadian medical groups, Maha Radhakrishnan.

 The symposium identified several key ways to support investments and entrepreneurship in Finland:


  • Improve the marketing of Finland as an exceptionally appealing country for clinical studies in several brain diseases
  • Increase general awareness of brain diseases, their unmet clinical needs, and the importance of clinical studies to improve treatments
  • Simplify bureaucracy, create a  one-stop-shop for study applications
  • Secure the availability of research funding in key areas

During the symposium minister Rehn also suggested that the country’s advances in biobanks could provide a “gold mine to boost clinical research in Finland.”

EC Vice President Jyrki Katainen encouraged the participants to apply actively for EU funding and added that his personal passion is maximizing research funding.

“I was really pleased about the very positive attitude among the audience, and the willingness to collaborate across the academia, industry, and different regions”, appreciates professor Risto Renkonen, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Helsinki. “This is a tremendous opportunity for Finland. And as an experienced voice from the audience said: We need to act now.”


Further information:

Professor Risto Renkonen, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, tel +358 2941 25111
Marco Hautalahti, General Manager, Biogen Finland, tel. +358 400 493613
Pekka Simula, CEO, Herantis Pharma Plc, tel. +358 40 7300 445