Juha Laine and Timo Veromaa Appointed as Professors of Practice at the University of Turku

Docent Juha Laine has been appointed as Professor of Practice in Pharmacoeconomics and Dr. Timo Veromaa Professor of Practice in Drug Development. The appointments strengthen the operations of the InFLAMES Flagship, joint effort of the University of Turku and Åbo Akademi University, funded by the Academy of Finland. Both professors of practice have been offered part-time positions for the duration of the InFLAMES Flagship funding period.

The central objectives of the InFLAMES Flagship (Innovation Ecosystem based on the Immune System) are breakthroughs in the fields of drug development, diagnostics, and personalised medicine. Innovations, internationally recognised scientists, an extensive state-of-the-art research infrastructure, and intensive academy–industry interactions form the foundation of the InFLAMES Flagship research. The appointments of Juha Laine and Timo Veromaa as professors of practice support the Flagship in achieving these goals.

The purpose behind the professorship of practice in pharmacoeconomics is to increase the societal impact of research and collaboration between the University and pharmaceutical companies. The purpose of the professorship of practice in drug development, on the other hand, is to introduce more life science business and innovation expertise to the University of Turku, increase collaboration between the University and pharmaceutical companies, and help enable commercialisation of innovations.

– It was clear to us already when building InFLAMES that appointing professors of practice would be a central tool for us in recognising the commercial potential of the discoveries made at the University and finding suitable partners in the industry sector to further develop them. We are very happy to have Juha Laine and Timo Veromaa in our team, says Director of the InFLAMES Flagship Academician Sirpa Jalkanen.

– By appointing professors of practice, the University of Turku has been able to introduce people with the kind of expertise society needs at the moment as teachers and research supervisors. The professors of practice help develop the interaction between the University and industries. These recruitments can help us strengthen our strategically important areas of research and education and add to our societal impact, says the Rector of the University of Turku Jukka Kola

Juha Laine Strengthens the University’s Expertise in Pharmacoeconomics

The newly-appointed Professor of Practice in Pharmacoeconomics Juha Laine has a PhD in Health Economics and is Docent of Pharmacoeconomics and Health Economics. Laine works in the pharmaceutical company Roche. In his job, he is responsible for coordinating research that uses real world data such as register-based research while also working as a health economics advisor. The University of Turku has had a collaboration agreement with Roche since 2018. Laine’s recruitment as a professor of practise is an additional step in the co-operation of Roche and the University of Turku.

Laine has previously worked e.g. as Researcher and Senior Researcher at Stakes (now known as the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, THL), as Health Economist for AstraZeneca, and as Senior Health Economics Manager for Pfizer. Laine has also published a fair amount, on a wide range of subjects. Moreover, he has extensive expertise in value-based healthcare. 

– I’m grateful to the University of Turku and the InFLAMES initiative for making this professorship of practice possible. The University of Turku is well-known for its top-notch research and education of medicine and economics. Research on the immune system has over the years brought us new treatments that can dramatically change the burden of serious diseases. With the help of the new treatments, we have been able to decrease the economic and humanistic burden of diseases and reform treatment practices. However, there is still much to be done, and there is great demand for high-quality research. I’m excited to participate in increasing the societal impact of the InFLAMES Flagship and developing the collaboration between the research and education of medicine and health economics, says Laine.

Laine’s professorship will be at the Faculty of Medicine and the Turku School of Economics. With his strong background in health economics research, Laine contributes to the research and education with expertise that strengthens the shared interests of the Faculty of Medicine and the School of Business. Among others, his position as professor of practice involves teaching an annual course in pharmacoeconomics and cost-effectiveness assessment of pharmaceuticals.

– Juha Laine’s knowledge of health economics and background in pharmaceutical companies brings a valuable perspective to e.g. evaluating cost development in healthcare. This supports the objective of the University of Turku to offer scientific knowledge to support the social welfare and health care reform, says the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Pekka Hänninen

– Juha Laine’s broad expertise is a great addition to the multidisciplinary research and education of health economics. We have little expertise linking economics and medicine here in Finland even though there is great demand for that from whole of society, says the Dean of the Turku School of Economics Markus Granlund

Timo Veromaa’s Broad Experience in Life Science and Health Technology Advances the Flagship Goals

Timo Veromaa

Appointed as Professor of Practice in Drug Development, Timo Veromaa is an MD, PhD with a research background and an eMBA from the University of Turku. He has worked in executive and board level positions in life science and health technology companies in Finland, United States, Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland for over 25 years. As the CEO of the drug development company Biotie Therapies Plc., listed on the stock exchange in Finland and the U.S., Veromaa was responsible for shareholder and investor relations and for national and international public and private funding agencies.

Veromaa is currently Chairman of the Board of Herantis Pharma Plc, drug development company working on gene therapy and biologics listed on the First North Growth Market stock exchange both in Helsinki and Stockholm, as well as first Chairman of Finnish Biobanks FINBB. Veromaa has had an active role in various public sector projects of the field, developing the prerequisites for business activities in Finland and has worked in various positions of trust.

– I am very excited about this appointment. The basic research of immunology has brought us important new medicine innovations and other treatments for cancer and autoimmune diseases, and I feel privileged to be able to help the renowned scientists of the InFLAMES Flagship evaluate commercial opportunities, says Veromaa.

Veromaa’s professorship is at the Faculty of Medicine. 

– Veromaa brings broad commercial expertise from the field of life sciences to the University of Turku as well as his expertise as a team builder and inspiring leader and strong perception as an experienced mentor. He has extensive networks both in Finland and internationally. Moreover, Veromaa is familiar with the innovation and funding pathways in life science and health technology from the start-up phase to gaining a foothold in the markets, Pekka Hänninen sums.

The professors of practice will introduce themselves in open webinars organised on 3 and 17 May 2021:

The webinars are held in English.

More information:

Juha Laine, Real World Data Lead & Health Economics Advisor, Roche Oy, +358 40 0534923, juha.laine@roche.com 
Timo Veromaa, Pharma & Biotech Executive and Board Professional, +358 40 573 9933, timo.veromaa@utu.fi 
Sirpa Jalkanen, Director of the InFLAMES Flagship, Academician, University of Turku, +358 40 566 9611, sirjal@utu.fi 
Pekka Hänninen, Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Turku,  +358 40 765 1547, pekka.e.hanninen@utu.fi 
Markus Granlund, Dean, Turku School of Economics, +358 50 411 8588, markus.granlund@utu.fi