Photo: Sini Pennanen

Olli Törmäkangas: A promising medicine for prostatic cancer

Olli Törmäkangas and his team at Orion are developing new medicines for a variety of illnesses, including prostatic cancer.

Medicinal chemist Olli Törmäkangas became interested in his future field of work during chemistry lessons at the lower secondary school.

‘Chemistry opened up worlds that cannot be seen with naked eye. Atoms and molecules have an effect on everything, and they are transformable,’ explains Törmäkangas.

Having studied chemistry at the University of Oulu, he completed his doctoral dissertation on the byproducts of the oil industry in the Helsinki University of Technology in 2002.

‘Eventually, however, I chose medicinal chemistry, which I first found out about during a postgraduate course.’

Törmäkangas never looked back. Now, having worked as a researcher with Orion since 2001, he has already participated in a number of development projects for new pharmaceuticals.

The development of pharmaceuticals takes patience. A typical project goes on for 10 or 12 years before, after persistent development efforts and careful testing, the new product becomes commercially available.

Törmäkangas is particularly proud of his contribution to the development of a new medication for prostatic cancer. The development efforts have now reached their final stage and the effectiveness and safety of the treatment are tested with a large number of patients.

Currently, Törmäkangas is participating in new projects that develop medicines for diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. He is particularly thrilled by the multidisciplinary nature of medicine development and the streamlined team work.

‘Every day, I have the chance to work with top experts of several fields.

One of the definite highlights in this work is the moment when, after long-term work, a new pharmaceutical becomes available and starts making good among patients.’

Text: Matti Remes