Innovation Norway supports Arctic Nutrition’s pharmaceutical development with 14MNOK grant. The mission is to build a new health industry in Ørsta.

Innovation Norway has granted 14MNOK to support the development of pharmaceutical products in accordance with the international standard for drug production. The process development will cost approximately 35-40 MNOK and is developed in collaboration with the French company, Corden Pharma. The plan for process development was presented to a panel of experts in Innovation Norway in the lead up to the final decision. 

– We are very pleased with the support and the positive dialogue we have had with Innovation Norway, says Ole Arne Eiksund, CEO of Arctic Nutrition AS.

– It has been very interesting to follow Arctic Nutrition. They dare to go big with their expertise, finances and have the ability to attract both private investors and to trigger public research and development funds. This is made possible with a highly competent team that has seen the potential of creating a new industry based on local sustainable raw materials. This is an important and exciting project at the forefront of marine residue projects with the potential to develop pharmaceutical products. Large research funds have been given in the health industry from both the private and public sectors. It is an explicit goal stated in the health industry report that more of this research should be commercialized. The health industry is global in scope in a growing market. Companies like Arctic Nutrition can contribute to the development of a new industry with the creation of new, skilled jobs and generate export earnings for Møre and Romsdal county, explained Helge Gjerde, Director of Innovation Norway.  

Arctic Nutrition AS is a biotechnology firm based in Ørsta developing a unique extract based on herring roe. The herring roe extract, Romega, is currently sold as a supplement. Simultaneously, a new version of the extract is being developed as a potential treatment for psoriasis patients. By taking residual raw material from the production of herring filets and utilizing this for pharmaceutical application, we can create great value from natural raw materials in a sustainable way and at the same time create jobs locally, states Eiksund. 

Herring roe extract of a pharmaceutical standard will be used in further clinical studies with psoriasis patients to document the effect on a large scale. Arctic Nutrition AS has engaged Smerud Medical Research AS to ensure that the planning and execution of the clinical studies are of the highest possible standards. 

– The total cost for the development will probably be around 200-300 MNOK, says Eiksund. – We are very pleased with the support from Innovation Norway. We are also happy that local investors in the region through PIR Invest AS raised about 40MNOK earlier this year, he states. – This means that pharmaceutical development can continue at full pace and that we can work on the sale of our supplement at the same time. 

CEO Anja Solevågseide from PIR Invest has the following comment on the investment:
– We believe in the Arctic Nutrition team. From our first meeting, we understood that these are highly competent people who are working with a solution that can improve the quality of life for many people. It is exciting that the company is utilizing resources from the ocean in a new and sustainable way, and we are impressed with how far the founders have come by combining research and development with the commercialization of the product. Additionally, we share the ambition of creating new jobs and increased values in our region. Pir Invest is a group of founders experienced in scaling businesses globally and we believe our competency and network will greatly benefit Arctic Nutrition throughout the next phase of their journey. 

– Our goal is to apply for marketing authorization for the pharmaceutical candidate within 4 years, says Eiksund.

Norway needs new export revenues and the health industry is one of those with a large potential for growth. The export in the health industry today is approximately 23 BNOK annually and the growth is substantially higher than other mainland industries.