Pharmaceutical Company MSD and Health Campus Turku Signed a Framework Agreement

Collaboration Strengthens Turku’s Position as International Cluster of Expertise in Life Sciences

The City of Turku, Hospital District of Southwest Finland, the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University have made a framework agreement with MSD, one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the world. The aim is to create new operational models and modes of treatment especially for optimising the care chain, and this way participate in the social and health services reform. The agreement is very extensive, as it covers the whole health care from primary health care to special health care, academic top research and education.

In the Turku region, top research in healthcare creates top expertise, and a strategic agreement with an international actor in the pharmaceutical field benefits the actors, economy and residents of the region.

The established collaboration with MSD develops the existing collaboration networks with actors from Health Campus Turku on research, development, education, public health and societal effectiveness. This agreement speeds up the progress of the collaboration, for example, in the research projects on pre-clinical and clinical trials, and in sharing knowledge on science and technology. The purpose is to launch joint projects that aim e.g. to the development of new pharmaceuticals, diagnostic tools, softwares, equipment and other medical solutions and applications, and to the assessment of the effectiveness of treatments.

– This agreement opens up new horizons both from the point of view of city development and services produced by the City.  This collaboration significantly strengthens Turku’s position as an interesting international cluster of expertise in the field of life sciences, and at the same time we are able to develop the treatment of patients, says Pekka Sundman, Director of the City Development Group of the City of Turku.

In the collaboration, the involved parties focus on the patient and develop the care chain as a whole. The extensive collaboration provides new possibilities for future health care, for example, with the help of digital tools and data from public health registers.

– The framework agreement between MSD and the actors from Health Campus Turku provides a possibility to deepen the mutual collaboration significantly. All central health care actors in the region are involved, which provides an exceptionally good basis for improving patients’ health with joint efforts ranging from research to developing the care chains for patients, notes Michael Casia, Managing Director of MSD Finland.

Collaboration with the City’s primary health care offers new possibilities for controlling major diseases, especially from the point of view of public health. The possibilities include early diagnostics and prevention of diseases, monitoring and treatment of diagnosed diseases, as well as personal medical treatment when necessary.

– The Hospital District of Southwest Finland has prepared for the upcoming collaboration with MSD by developing better research infrastructure, such as services of the clinical information service unit and a separate research hospital ward for pharmaceutical research requiring intensive care. Together with our biobank expertise, this agreement on research collaboration will develop effective treatment that answers to patients’ needs more efficiently, says Leena Setälä, the Chief Executive Director of the Hospital District of Southwest Finland.

By combining health data from different actors, it is possible, for example, to determine the predictive symptoms of different diseases and develop individual medical treatment. A great example of this is type two diabetes, which many people are unaware of having even though the disease is already harming their system. 

Optimising the care chain creates new operational models that benefit the social and health services reform, e.g. regarding the shared use of health registers and distribution of resources and responsibilities.

– We hope that we are able to create and realise interesting joint projects that are aimed at creating new drugs and diagnostic instruments, and testing new applications related to medical treatments. The collaboration creates interesting opportunities for our research groups, says Vice Rector Niklas Sandler from Åbo Akademi University.

– The Strategy of the University of Turku emphasises the collaboration with business life. As for MSD, they are interested in the high-quality expertise Turku has in health care. The framework agreement gives great possibilities for seeking collaboration in different areas. The aim of the collaboration is to bring additional value to both the care processes and scientific research. This global drug developer has unique information and expertise with which we can improve the care of Finnish patients, notes Pentti Huovinen, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Turku.

Group photo: The framework agreement was signed by Vice Rector Niklas Sandler (on the left) from Åbo Akademi University, Director Pekka Sundman from the City Development Group of the City of Turku, Dean Pentti Huovinen from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Turku, MSD Finland Managing Director Michael Casia, Chief Executive Director Leena Setälä from the Hospital District of Southwest Finland, Rector Kalervo Väänänen from the University of Turku and Chief Physician of Research Päivi Rautava from Turku University Hospital.

Text: Taru Suhonen
Translation: Saara Yli-Kauhaluoma
Photo: Hanna Oksanen