Dante Labs, a US-based biotech and genomic testing company has found an outstanding business environment in the Finnish biomedical ecosystem. After Helsinki Business Hub invited Dante Labs to visit Finland, the company decided to set up a research and development unit in Helsinki. It plans to hire at least 20 employees locally in the next two years and intends to use Finland as a springboard for expansion to the surrounding Nordic market.
Sometimes a good match is easy to spot. That was the case when Helsinki Business Hub started scanning international companies that could benefit from the Finnish genetic information data pool and the ecosystem surrounding it. Dante Labs was in an optimal stage of business development and in the process of expanding in Europe. Helsinki Business Hub contacted Dante Labs and invited the company to visit Finland.
“That initial visit and the meetings that Helsinki Business Hub organized for us were crucial for our decision to set up a unit in Finland,” says CEO Andrea Riposati from Dante Labs.
Helsinki Business Hub provided the company with information on the Finnish ecosystem and on setting up a company in Finland. It also introduced Dante Labs to key players, including Finnish biobanks, Business Finland and its funding opportunities, the Helsinki Region Chamber of Commerce, and the Finnish Patent and Registration Office.
“Helsinki Business Hub was extremely helpful with the paperwork involved in opening a new unit as well as with finding trusted local partners,” Riposati says.
A springboard for European expansion
Dante Labs has come a long way in just a couple of years. Founded in 2016, it already has offices in New York and L’Aquila, Italy, and now Helsinki. It currently employs 18 people and is now hiring in Helsinki. The company works with consumers and medical professionals, with a mission to make advanced genetics accessible to everyone. It collaborates with the leading genetic labs in the US, Europe, and Asia.
“What sets us apart from other companies in the field is that we sequence the entire genome to offer patients a personalized report based on their medical history and symptoms. Most companies analyze small panels or groups of genes at a time, which requires a trial and error approach. We analyze the entire DNA at a fraction of the cost of the panels,” Riposati explains.
Although Dante Labs is currently operating on the consumer market, it is holding a door open to the B2B sector as well. The company aims at targeting small hospitals and practices that cannot afford to build their own sequencing labs. Its growth plans include hiring at least 20 employees in its new Finnish unit in the next two years. It is also looking to access the surrounding Nordic market via Helsinki.
“Helsinki is an outstanding location for us because it offers a great biomedical ecosystem and lots of genetic expertise. Finnish companies offer cutting-edge tools and services, and we are looking forward to working with them. We’ve already started collaboration with the Helsinki-based MediSapiens, a company developing a scalable growth platform for biomedical data,” says Riposati.
An ecosystem built on healthcare data, genomics research, and biobanks
Finland is known for its comprehensive, high-quality digital healthcare registers and databases that cover the entire nation. This data is readily available, but to further improve its availability and to ensure its flexible and secure use, the Finnish Government has proposed a new act to allow the secondary use of health and social data. The act aims to facilitate health research and innovation.
Another thing that attracts biotech companies to the Finnish biomedical ecosystem is its genomics research, as well as a strong biobank infrastructure and a Biobank Act facilitating the use of samples. Finland also has a high level of education and a strong scientific ground for building successful companies in the biomedical field.
“We wish to learn from Finland’s vast experience in genetics and population studies. Our future interests include genetic research, artificial intelligence, and precision medicine. But our overall goal is to keep growing,” says Andrea Riposati.