The Nordic Life Sciences sector shares many critical attributes with that Israel; namely their respective and relatively small populations, being amongst the most well-developed ecosystems and presiding over some of the world’s most promising and innovative projects.
So too, their respective markets are an attractive proposition for the Life Sciences sectors in lieu of their high-degree of education, acclaimed researchers, well-developed infrastructure, high innovation rate and established data registries.
As a result of this shared phenomenon, research was conducted over the summer of 2019 in order to investigate the degree to which their relationships could strengthen and how Israel could increase its Life Sciences Nordic investment, comprising Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark.
The report includes an analysis of the current Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) between the countries, and of the respective Nordic islands of excellence. Furthermore, it examines where the greatest potential for further collaboration can be located.
The research determines that there are many investment opportunities to be found and established. Areas of excellence can be found mainly within the sectors of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and medicine technology. A general conclusion reached with regard to the Nordic countries is that due to their high demand on healthcare as a result of, for example, an aging population, the willingness to invest in innovations and solutions that make the healthcare more efficient is high.
Moreover, opportunities for collaboration and investment exist from companies and industries interested in entering the Life Sciences sector, despite having not traditionally operated within the sector. This could concern the automotive industry, where, for instance, research is being conducted on how to predict health conditions and diseases while driving, which could prevent car crashes and provide useful information for the driver. Many of these companies are already present in Israel, in fields other than Life Sciences.
The Nordic countries have demonstrated a relatively low presence in Israel in the Life Science sector, compared to counties such as Germany or the US. However, Sweden and Denmark have relatively more operations and investments in Israel compared to Norway and Finland.
In the case of Denmark, there are substantial opportunities for further collaboration with multinational Life Science companies (Leo Pharma, Novo Nordisk, etc.), spanning several areas. Their operations and presence in Israel are also important for attracting smaller Life Science companies from Denmark to invest in Israel. Further possibilities for collaboration and investment can be found within the areas of medical cannabis, clinical trials and DNA research.
With regard to Norway’s growing Life Science sector, there too are a lot of potential investment and collaboration opportunities, particularly in the cancer research industry, which is highly developed and is also seeking increasing foreign collaborations.
Cross-collaborative digital health projects have been conducted between Israel and Finland, and more potential within this area is found.
Additionally, at present there is more demand from the Nordic countries to put greater emphasis on their investment relationships. Important facilitators in the Nordics are seeking possibilities to work outside of their own borders, including more possibilities to invest in follow-up work after delegations have visited Israel. The research supports this demand, demonstrating the eagerness of many Nordic companies to invest in Israel, since Israel is perceived to be one of the most prominent counties in the world in the Life Sciences sector, and one with whom business is conducted with ease.
This report is mainly based on FDI reports, interviews with Nordic Embassies present in Israel and on industry analysis of the Nordic Life Science sectors.
The research was conducted by research fellow Emma Winroth, who was an intern at Invest in Israel as a part of a diplomatic program held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Israel. Emma is a student at the Stockholm School of Economics, whose great personal interests span international investments and collaborations, especially in the increasingly important sector of Life Sciences.
Special thanks are also noted to Aviad Tamir and Gilad Beery, whom advised Emma in the report, and to Invest in Israel for making the endeavor possible.