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The UiO's Innovation Prize awarded to Bjarne Bogen

A unanimous prize committee highlights Bogen’s contributions to medical vaccine research as critical to the field of medicine and research-based innovation at the University of Oslo.

Bjarne Bogen
Professor Bjarne Bogen is the winner of this year’s Innovation Prize. Photo: Oslo University Hospital.

Bjarne Bogen is a professor at the Institute of Clinical Medicine and previously headed the K.G. Jebsen Centre for Influenza Vaccine Research, which closed in 2019. The Centre’s goal was to create a “universal influenza vaccine” that protects against all present and future influenza viruses.

“It is a great honour to be given this award. I would like to extend my thanks to the Institute of Clinical Medicine and the Faculty of Medicine, which have supported the basic research that underlies the development of the new vaccine molecules (Vaccibodies) for many years. I must also thank all the many master’s students, PhD students and postdoctoral fellows who have contributed to the work recognised by this prize over the years,” says a delighted Bjarne Bogen.

The Vaccibody vaccine principle

The prize committee highlights Bogen’s development of the vaccine principle Vaccibody, which is a new type of DNA vaccine that triggers a strong immune response.

This principle led to the foundation of the company Vaccibody AS, which was established in 2007. It is currently the largest and most valuable biotechnology company in Norway. The main goal is to develop patient-specific therapeutic cancer vaccines.

They have developed the first effective individualised cancer vaccine in the world, and the preliminary results from a Phase 1 study in Germany are unprecedented. The study shows that Vaccibody cancer vaccines induce high levels of T cells that target and attack the cancer cells. Vaccination has led to the destruction of established cancerous tumours in several types of cancers.  

Numerous patents

Based on the same vaccine principle, Bjarne Bogen has also developed new influenza vaccines and several patent applications that are currently in the national phase. His work has resulted in numerous patents and patent applications. Ideas from the research group are continuously sent to Inven2, Norway’s largest player within the commercialisation of research, which is owned by the University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital.

The prize committee notes that Vaccibody AS has the potential to become a huge biomedical industrial success in Norway.

“It will be very exciting to see the results of studies where this vaccine principle is used on cancer patients. A phase 1 study in which the vaccine principle is used as an influenza vaccine is also about to start at Oslo University Hospital, developed by researchers at the Institute of Clinical Medicine. It may also be possible to use the vaccine principle to develop a vaccine against the COVID-19 virus, and preliminary trials are underway,” says Bogen.

Example of practical application of research

“This was fantastic news for Bjarne and the whole team, in a tough competition with the whole University. The Institute of Clinical Medicine is very proud today on behalf of Bjarne and the research group, who have successfully managed to translate basic research into innovation,” says Head of Department Dag Kvale.

The Faculty of Medicine also congratulates Professor Bjarne Bogen on winning the University of Oslo’s Innovation Prize for 2020:

“It is great news that the prize has gone to Bjarne, who through his outstanding research has not only recognised the possibilities for innovation, but also used and refined the ideas so that they can be used as the basis for new therapies and new research. His work is a prime example of how research results can be applied and used,” says a proud Dean of Research Jens Petter Berg.

About the Innovation Prize

The Innovation Prize recognises and stimulates research-based innovation and entrepreneurship at the University of Oslo. The prize is awarded to ideas hatched at the University of Oslo that have entered into use in society, often through collaboration with external partners.

All the University of Oslo’s awards are a reward for outstanding input and are intended to inspire the academic communities at the University of Oslo. The winners receive a diploma and a monetary award of NOK 250,000, which will be presented at the University of Oslo’s Annual Celebration on 2 September.

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By Julie Nybakk Kvaal
Published July 3, 2020 1:37 PM - Last modified July 3, 2020 2:34 PM