To uncover unmet needs and question already established truths. That’s what gives me the most fun, says Carl Christian Gilhuus-Moe. After playing a pivotal role in building up Norway Health Tech as a vital technology cluster for health, Gilhuus-Moe is now stepping down as chairman of the board.
(click HERE for the Norwegian version of the article)
Gilhuus-Moe has been passionate in bridging the research community and the industry, and to stimulate what he calls commercially viable ideas, since the late 1960s.
As a young biochemistry student and head of the institute’s academic committee at Blindern, Oslo, he established Industriseminaret – a gathering where students and potential employers could meet and build ties. After a short while, he switched to Nyco, later called Nycomed, now GE Health. Here he advanced rapidly through the ranks. As a 37-year-old, Gilhuus-Moe was a member of the company’s top level management with 180 travel days a year. Here he experienced how markets in Europe, the United States and Japan worked on commercializing results from health research. He saw a great potential that was far from being realized home in Norway.
– Health was such a small and overlooked business sector. That annoyed me, Gilhuus-Moe says.
A creator’s DNA
After his career at Nycomed, Gilhuus-Moe established Dynal, based on Professor John Ugelstad’s research on magnetic particles. Here he stayed for 12 years and led a team of researchers that created a biological separation system to extract DNA – a breakthrough that later played an important role in the development of genetic research. Gilhuus-Moe’s own creator DNA can be traced back to several branches of his family tree, including his grandfather and pastor Ole Theodor Moe, who established Blue Cross in Norway, and held worship meetings about the devastating effect of alcohol on the workers’ payday. A religious service that was considered controversial, fearless and innovative, words that perfectly describes his grandson Gilhuus-Moe’s way of thinking.
– I believe in cross-fertilizing people with good ideas! Early on I saw a great need to create a cluster which could gather people from different medical backgrounds, such as diagnostics, e-health and medical equipment. Norwegian medical research is world-leading in many sectors. I wanted to build a health business with core production in Norway. A business that was strong enough to survive and further develop itself despite being subject for international acquisitions, says Gilhuus-Moe.
When Gilhuus-Moe joined in establishing Norway Health Tech, which has benefited greatly from his wealth of ideas and extensive international contacts, he witnessed a significant shift; now, the politicians finally saw that it’s possible to build a powerful health industry in Norway.
– The health industry differs from other sectors, because It’s countercyclical. Even if the stock markets plummet, the demand for medical solutions will most certain continue to grow, says Gilhuus-Moe, who will continue to take part in the health business through his role as a member of no less than nine boards of health companies, and through his work as an advisor for the venture capital fund NeoMed Management.
Some critics say that Norway lack big dominant actors in the health industry. Gilhuus-Moe sees this in the opposite way:
– On the contrary, I think it’s good that we don’t have these large dominant actors. We have no big players vacuuming the market for good ideas and talent. Norwegians originate from self-sufficient farmers and fishermen. We are individualists who like to do things ourselves. That’s why I have an optimistic view on Norway Health Tech and the future of the health industry in Norway, he says.