There is an inherent risk that early-stage programs will fail during development, no matter how promising the science. Such nascent programs are unlikely to attract interest from industry or investors until they have reached significant milestones, and very little funding is available from the government, foundations, or private enterprise for this critical transition.
Too often people also think that development programs and financiers should focus on picking the winners. In real life it is extremely difficult task. We focus on dedicated project owners that are constantly on a learning curve and have relevant ideas for unmet health related needs. We support them in their path and allocate our resources for it.
SPARK Finland program is designed to increase the maturity of academic and clinical discoveries towards practical solutions in the life science and health tech space.
Program supports also career development by educating scientists, students and clinicians on drug and health tech discovery and development, and building the understanding of business aspects related to the discoveries.
We work in close relationship with innovation and technology transfer offices of universities, research institutions and hospitals.
The Stanford SPARK program was established by Professor Daria Mochly-Rosen in 2006 for advancing new biomedical research discoveries into promising new treatments for patients. It provides top-notch mentoring and education, and a cost-effective model to generate proof of concept by using industry standards.
Institutions participating at SPARK Finland are (in alphabetical order):
Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences
Helsinki University Hospital/The Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa
Laurea University of Applied Sciences
Metropolia University of Applied Sciences
Tampere University Hospital/The Hospital District of Pirkanmaa
Tampere University: coordinator of SPARK Finland in 1.4.2020-31.12.2023
Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Turku University Hospital/The Hospital District of Southwest Finland
University of Helsinki: founding coordinator of SPARK Finland
University of Eastern Finland
University of Turku
Åbo Akademi University
SPARK Finland is a collaborative program. First three years (March 2017 – March 2020) it was financially supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and in the founding and development phase members of Health Capital Helsinki alliance and University of Tampere (as representative of Tampere3 alliance) were other key financiers. Since August 2018 key institutions from Health Campus Turku alliance brought Turku Region to the program and in 2020 University of Eastern Finland brought Kuopio and Joensuu regions to SPARK Finland.
Since April 2020 SPARK Finland is fully funded by the member institutions and supporting cities. In 2020-2023 program is nationally coordinated by Tampere University and regionally by University of Helsinki (Faculty of Medicine), Tampere University, University of Turku (Faculty of Medicine) and University of Eastern Finland (Kuopio campus).
Other regional organizations and programs that are working in collaboration with us:
Universities start program to accelerate growth of research-based companies in the health sector (University of Helsinki, 2017)
Health business with Stanford’s teachings (University of Tampere, 2017)
SPARK partnering with Business Schools – Case Finland Report. By Teemu Heinonen, Waltteri Sorvisto, Pasi Sorvisto and Juho Väisänen – in collaboration with SPARK Global network (SPARK Finland, 2018)
Rescuing the Lost in Translation (2016) by Sinje Gehr and Craig C Garner
A Practical Guide to Drug Development in Academia: The SPARK Approach.
By Daria Mochly-Rosen and Kevin Grimes (2014).