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When years of research pay off: Pharmacies can now print medicines using Finnish-made technology

CurifyLabs, a Finnish start-up company, has introduced a printing-based technology for medicines which allows pharmacies to manufacture individual medicines quickly and accurately. The company’s innovation is based on extensive research and development. Now, Finnvera has granted the company a Digitalisation and Innovation Loan to boost its growth.
CurifyLabsin toimitusjohtaja Charlotta Topelius.

CurifyLabs CEO Charlotta Topelius says that the company’s turnover increased sharply right after the launch of its Pharma Kit service concept.

– We’re very proud of what we have created. CurifyLabs is the only actor that provides pharmacies with a solution for the management of the entire pharmaceutical manufacturing process: the manufacturing software, pharmaceutical inks, quality assurance, and the printer itself. Our technology will revolutionise a sector that is mostly known for conservative approaches and regulatory demands, she explains.

Personalised medicines differ from factory-made ones in the sense that they are manufactured by a pharmacist according to the prescription given by the patient’s doctor. Personalised medicines are vital for many groups, such as children, the elderly, and cancer patients. Factory-made medicines are not always suitable for all, and in such cases the person’s doctor can prescribe an ex-tempore medicine for them.

There is global demand for the service concept developed by CurifyLabs, and this demand is amplified by the world’s ageing population. The global market for personalised medicines is expected to grow to EUR 16.5 billion by 2030. 

– Finland is a fairly small market for personalised medicines, but they are much more prevalent in other parts of Europe. We are already operating in Central Europe and, in the future, we intend to expand to the United States, as 70% of all personalised medicines are manufactured there, Topelius notes.

– Our goals are quite ambitious. We want to become a global actor by 2028, but we're going to have to jump through a lot of hoops before we can get there, she continues.

Finnvera finances growth

CurifyLabs was founded two years before the launch of the service. However, the development and research work behind the concept took 13 years.

The business idea for combining different technologies came from Charlotta Topelius’ husband, Doctor of Pharmacy Niklas Sandler Topelius, who now serves as CurifyLabs’ CTO.

– We have clear-cut roles in the company. My background is in commerce, and Niklas is responsible for the technological and pharmaceutical side of things. We work well together as entrepreneurs. In fact, I’d say that it’s been really motivating, Topelius explains.

Finnvera has granted the company a Digitalisation and Innovation Loan to boost its growth.

Years of development, commercialisation, and scaling the business require a lot of money. CurifyLabs’ investors include Lifeline Ventures, the Pharmacy Pension Fund, and the Outpatient Research Foundation. The Topelius family still owns a majority stake in the company.

Finnvera has also helped accelerated CurifyLabs’ growth by granting it a Digitalisation and Innovation Loan.

– One of our investors hinted at the possibility of a loan. The negotiations took a few months, and we handled everything over a couple of Teams meetings. I felt really good about the process. Finnvera’s specialists are truly entrepreneur-friendly, and they want to help Finnish companies grow internationally, Topelius says.

Loan products for several purposes

Finnvera has granted loans under the InvestEU programme guaranteed by the European Investment Fund (EIF) since June 2023. The Climate and Environmental Loan and the Digitalisation and Innovation Loan were designed to accelerate the green transition and digitalisation in companies. 

– These loan products are part of our financing portfolio, and they are suitable for the targeted needs of different companies. For example, a mechanical workshop can use the Climate and Environmental Loan to reduce its emissions by investing in solar panels or geothermal heat. These investments will also result in further savings as the company's energy efficiency improves, says Jani Tuominen, Team Manager at Finnvera.

Digitalisation and Innovation Loan, on the other hand, help companies develop new products or services and increase the efficiency of their own processes.

– CurifyLabs’ business model and strategy were a great fit for our Digitalisation and Innovation Loan. The company’s work is based on extensive scientific research, which now powers its technology and innovations. CurifyLabs is aiming for rapid growth, and by making use of InvestEU financing, it can seek further growth and beat its competitors to the market, notes Finnvera Finance Manager Esa Kankainen.

Finnvera has around EUR 280 million in loan products to finance the investments made by SMEs. A single investment can receive up to EUR 2 million in loans. In addition, the loans have a 60% guarantee from the EIF, meaning that Finnvera does not require any additional collateral from the companies it loans to.

– We’re pleased with the demand for these loans, but we want to encourage all companies to increase their investments in the green transition and digitalisation. Now’s the best time to invest, since you can reap the most rewards when you’re at the cusp of realising your true growth potential, Tuominen concludes.

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