The government is proposing the corporatization of the commercial vaccine research services of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). The plan is to merge the Vaccine Research Centre of Tampere University with the new vaccine research company. "The aim is to strengthen clinical vaccine research expertise in Finland," the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health said in a press release.
According to the legislative proposal, the funding, operations and personnel involved in THL’s vaccine studies that are carried out in cooperation with vaccine manufacturers would be transferred to a separate limited liability company as existing resources. Government expects this arrangement would strengthen THL’s independence in decisions regarding vaccine procurement.
THL’s vaccine research services are currently part of the Public Health Solutions department. The transferred services would not include THL’s statutory duties. The national vaccination programme, the procurement of vaccines and the monitoring of vaccine-preventable diseases will still be carried on by THL’s Health Security department. A maximum of 10 person-years of permanent staff are planned to be transferred to the new company.
The government plenary session, acting on behalf of the state, and the Board of Tampere University Foundation, operating as Tampere University, will jointly decide on the matters related to the establishment of the company.
The Board of Tampere University Foundation will discuss the matter when all necessary information has been compiled. Approximately 65 people carry our clinical vaccine studies and perform related administrative duties at Tampere University.
Company to be launched in early 2021
According to goverment information, the purpose of establishing the company is "to safeguard and strengthen the level of clinical vaccine research expertise in Finland and thereby ensure the availability of well-researched, effective and safe vaccines in Finland and beyond."
In addition, the new company is hoped to attract more research investments to Finland.
The vaccine research company to be established would be a special task company of the state. The company’s shareholders would include the state of Finland and Tampere University Foundation. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health would be responsible for the ownership steering of the company.
If approved, the proposed act will enter into force on 1 January 2021. The aim is for the limited liability company to start operating in early 2021.