ACD Pharmaceuticals and STIM are now building the world’s first pharmaceutically approved bacteriophage factory at Leknes in the Lofoten islands. Due to be completed during 2021, this facility will produce viruses which can be used in the fight against antibiotic resistance.
“By thinking innovatively, the sector can provide patients with good solutions while also securing new jobs. If companies are to succeed at this, however, provision must be made for closer collaboration between industry and the public health care system.”
Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, minister of trade and industry. From the launch of the White Paper on the health sector.
STIM has developed a technology which means that bacteriophages can be used effectively in the future to combat bacteria when treating people. This will be applied in the Leknes plant.
Bacteriophages can help to resolve a health crisis while simultaneously contributing to new Norwegian jobs and industrial development.
Norway needs growth in new industries which can safeguard revenues as activities on and earnings from its continental shelf gradually decrease. The health sector stands out as particularly interesting.
In its 2021 White Paper on long-term perspectives for the Norwegian economy, the government emphasises that the challenges faced must be met here and now. These have been reinforced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
To overcome the challenges up to 2030 and 2060, the government will pursue policies which create growth in the private sector, increase employment and contribute to good use of resources in the public sector.
The health sector has the potential to become one of Norway’s most vigorous and productive industries, and offers great development opportunities.
In its White Paper on the health sector, entitled Together for value creation and better services, the government emphasised that this industry can contribute to growth and value creation in the Norwegian economy.
Already accounting for about three per cent of Norway’s value creation, health care has grown by more than twice as much as the overall economy (excluding oil and gas) in recent years. The sector employed some 100 000 people in 2016, up by 18 per cent from 2008.
The global market for innovation and commercialisation is substantial. That offers opportunities for future value creation. At the same time, it can provide benefits for both human and animal health and solutions to global environmental challenges.
(White Paper on the health sector, 2018-19.)
The report is a response to the challenge from Norwegian prime minister Erna Solberg. Many opportunities are available. Success can be achieved with commitment and right instruments.
The threat posed by antibiotic resistance cannot be eliminated, but steps can be taken to reduce its progress.
Decades of medical research and progress could be reversed by antibiotic resistance.
The ecosystem in water, soil and organisms is disrupted by the production and use of pharmaceuticals and their subsequent disposal.
Norway is among the countries with the lowest consumption of antibiotics for both humans and animals, and has little problem with antibiotic resistance today.
Bacteriophages have a number of applications in such areas as human and veterinary medicine, aquaculture, agriculture and food processing.