Mobidiag is a rapidly growing Finnish-French molecular diagnostics company. Its solutions can be used to diagnose infectious diseases and fight against “superbacteria” that are resistant to antibiotics. Mobidiag employs more than 130 people. The company is headquartered in Espoo and has subsidiaries in France, the United Kingdom and Sweden. In addition, it has a growing number of distributors in other countries. According to CEO Tuomas Tenkanen, the company has invested resources into the development of coronavirus tests.
How is your company doing at the moment? What are you working on?
We are doing well, although the last few weeks have been intensive. As the coronavirus started to spread and became a pandemic, we wanted to do our share to help curb it. We also considered this our duty as a health sector diagnostics company. We have now focused our resources on making new coronavirus tests rapidly available to health care providers.
We are pleased to say that the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea just approved our application for an exemption that allows us to use the two coronavirus tests that we have developed for diagnostic purposes in Finland. One of the tests is suitable for large hospital laboratories that process large quantities of samples. It is already in use in the largest laboratories in Finland. The other test we have put on the market is suitable for smaller testing on a local scale. We are also applying for exemptions for both tests in France, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Our tests will be available across Europe by the end of May.
In addition, our Chinese partner will provide us with coronavirus antibody tests for distribution. There is currently a major lack of coronavirus diagnostics around the world. We are therefore pleased that, as a Finnish company, we can provide such comprehensive coronavirus diagnostics in our country.
Has your company worked together with any of the operators in the Business Espoo network? How have you benefited from it?
We have worked together with the Uusimaa TE Office in terms of recruitment. We have used the Mol.fi website to publish job ads, and the TE Office has also referred employees to us directly. We are very pleased with this cooperation as it has worked well. Our contact at the Uusimaa TE Office has been very helpful and active, and the service has been excellent.
What is the most important lesson or insight that you have had because of the coronavirus pandemic?
We work in the laboratory diagnostics sector, developing products for the health care sector. Our products benefit society as a whole as they enable the treatment of infections and help us fight against antibiotic resistance. This is particularly evident now during the global coronavirus pandemic. Many staff members have said that they feel proud to be involved in this. To quote one of our employees: “Our company has a great team spirit and everyone is highly motivated. Never before has the significance of my work been this evident.”
What does your company hope to gain from Business Espoo’s services?
Although nothing specific springs to mind right now, we will continue using the services of the Business Espoo network.
How has the situation affected your company’s operations?
The development and market launches of new products have kept us busy across all departments.
Starting from 13 March, our company policy has been to work from home whenever possible and hold meetings remotely. The majority of our employees were already used to this as this is how we communicate between our offices in different countries. The number of remote meetings has of course increased further due to the current situation.
Not all employees in our company can work remotely. On-site tasks include laboratory work, product development, production and logistics. This has been taken into account, and those at the workplace have been instructed to observe extremely good hand hygiene, avoid larger face-to-face gatherings and maintain sufficient distances. Moving between different departments has also been restricted to minimise risks.
In this situation, the importance of communication is emphasised. We have several departments and we work in four different countries. We need to remember to maintain a constant contact between employees and the team/teams. It’s better to be in touch often and communicate too much than too little. Those who are working from home are using video conferencing software very frequently to stay in touch.
Have you developed new practices during the coronavirus situation that you plan to continue using?
We have been able to work even more effectively. We have had to react to the ongoing situation and make decisions quickly. These are positive things that we certainly want to hold on to in the future. Maybe we will commute less in the future and increasingly replace work-related travel with video conferencing.
It has been great to see how well our employees have adapted to the exceptional situation. Our employees have been working long hours under a lot of pressure. I would like to take this opportunity thank all of our employees. Together we will pull through as we always have.
Read more about Mobidiag on its website.
CEO Tuomas Tenkanen.
Photograph: Suvi-Tuuli Kankaanpää.
Working at Mobidiag.
Photograph: Design Reform