The project partners met in Stuttgart for the kick-off meeting on 29 and 30 January 2018. A great deal was discussed on these two days and key points regarding project progression were clarified. On the second and final day – the official part of the event, which was also attended by several small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) from the region – two excellent keynote speeches really aroused people’s interest.
The Interreg project "Codexs4SMEs"
Although personalised medicine promises healthcare savings by delivering the right dose of the right drug to the right patient at the right time, the use of companion diagnostics is essential if it is to achieve the optimum effect. North-Western Europe is lagging far behind the USA in this field, with a current figure of just 1% for companion diagnostic tests in Germany. The Interreg project Codex4SMEs (Companion Diagnostics expedited for small and medium-sized enterprises) is looking to change this. The network of nine partners and two subpartners from seven different countries is aiming to promote the development of companion diagnostics along the entire SME added-value chain. The partners met for the kick-off event in Stuttgart to get the project off to a successful start.
A first meeting
The first day of the meeting was intended exclusively for project partners and focused on developing a communication strategy for Codex4SMEs.
The unofficial part of the event continued on the morning of the second day, when the participants discussed implementation of the various Codex4SMEs work packages and initial activities such as organising regional roadshows for all project partners. The aim here is to get an idea of the “ecosystem” – that is to say all companies in the region who are playing an active role in companion diagnostics.
Performing a gap analysis, which electronically records companies involved in the value-added chain for developing these diagnostics, is another important initial aspect of Codex4SMEs.
The kick-off event including keynotes
Along with the keynote speakers, several SMEs were also invited to the lunch that kicked off the official part of the event. The presentations by Dr. Dirk Biskup from CeGaT GmbH in Tübingen and Dr. Thomas Theisen from TÜV Süd Product Service GmbH in Munich met with great interest. Biskup explained the role of personalised medicine and the contribution companion diagnostics can make to this. He believes a rethink is called for. With tumour diseases in particular, for example, genetic diagnostics should help select the optimum patient treatment in the context of molecular tumour boards. In this connection, Biskup suggests a broader interpretation of companion diagnostics, which he feels should not be restricted to deciding for or against a particular medicine but should contribute fully to identifying the best possible treatment for the patient concerned.
The take-home message of Theisen’s presentation was to act NOW in addressing the EU’s new In Vitro Diagnostics Regulation (IVDR). “This means analysing your product portfolio and tackling significant changes resulting from the IVDR,” he says.
With just 18 people in attendance, the event was relatively small but benefited from high-profile speakers and committed participants.