Norway Health Tech: RemovAid
Innovation to improve the lives of women most in need
Norway Health Tech has a vision of making Norway the world’s best arena for health innovation. With close to 270 members, they represent the full value chain of health-care and are Norway’s largest health cluster. Their aim is to provide better solutions that can both cut health-care costs and address health needs that have not been covered before.
At this year’s Toronto Innovation Week, they were part of a Nordic project to pave the way for Norwegian health-care companies looking to expand to Canada. The project has so far recruited several hospitals, long-term care homes, home-care organizations, and go-to-market specialists in Toronto. They have also carried out workshops back home to recruit companies. The idea is to export innovative solutions for sustainable health care to Toronto and Ontario, focusing on health for the aging, rehab, and digital health.
Startups account for an impressive 12% of the health-care industry in Norway. The country also has a number of scaleups. This represents an enormous growth potential. Last year, Norway’s best health startup was RemovAid. The price, NOK 1 million, was handed out by Norway’s largest bank, DNB (Den Norske Bank), at a gathering for the whole industry organized by the bank and Norway Health Tech. More than 400 investors, entrepreneurs, and others interested in the health industry were there.
RemovAid is a certified company that develops and manufactures sterile class medical devices for subdermal implant removals. The contraceptive implant is a rod inserted under the skin to prevent pregnancy. The startup has patent protection for the removal of any rod-shaped implant under the skin. The prize money will be used for scaling and faster commercialization of the company.
The company was founded in 2012 by Dr. Marte Bratlie. During her clinical work, she discovered that there is a huge need for a device and standardized method for removal of contraceptive implants as a replacement for the cumbersome manual and costly removal method that is currently used. This was the start of the development of RemovAid.
The founder attended the University of Liverpool, was a doctor at Gravdal Hospital in the Lofoten Islands, and held a combined position as a Ph.D. student in cardiology and lecturing senior year medical students in cardiology at the University of Oslo.
When handed the prize, Bratlie said that her goal was to help the women that needed this type of device the most. They could have sold the product to the United States and Europe, but instead they chose to focus on the countries south of the Sahara. According to DNB, the health-care industry has the potential to become an important area for Norwegian industrial development. The bank follows many companies’ life cycles. They help startups find risk capital and later on more traditional financing. Therefore, it is only natural for them to support startups.
Norway Health Tech was awarded the NCE-status (Norwegian Centre of Expertise) by Innovation Norway’s cluster program in 2015 and received Gold Label-status by the European cluster organization in 2016. Kathrine Myhre established the cluster in 2009 and has since then been the CEO.
VIsit the RemovAid website at www.removaid.com/home.
This article originally appeared in the October 4, 2019, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.