Cyclomics: Winner of the Venture Challenge Fall 2017

At the Dutch Life Sciences Conference 2017, Chrétien Herben, director of the LifeSciences@Work Accelerator, announced Cyclomics as winning team of the 18th edition of the Venture Challenge. The start-up Cyclomics has developed a technology to measure cancer recurrence in liquid biopsies, by detection of cancer mutations in blood at single-molecule sensitivity. This way the start-up aims to improve the survival rate for many different types of cancer.

New Call open: join the Venture Challenge Spring 2018!

Our specialised coaching focuses on developing your initial idea into a solid business case during an entrepreneurial approach with boot camps, 1-on-1 coaching and mentoring. Startup teams learn to identify key risks, analyse customer value propositions, develop a validation strategy, learn to build a venture plan and learn how to get connected. Read more at the LifeSciences@Work website. Application deadline: 5 March 2018.

Since the 12th of October the Nijmegen region is enriched with Briskr, Health and High Tech Generator. This strong collaboration of Triple Helix parties improves the Life Sciences, Health & High Tech ecosystem. Briskr streamlines the variety of support programmes for startups and SMEs. Even more, Briskr puts the Nijmegen region and its unique climate on the map. Briskr picks up on the strong developments and natural strengths of the regional Health & High Tech sectors.

“The direct reason for this collaboration is the diverse landscape of innovation-stimulating initiatives. By bundling these activities, we offer the ecosystem better support activities and we can strengthen the Health & High Tech industry,” says Rikus Wolbers, programme manager of Briskr.

Briskr Academy

John Schalken is manager Business Support. He is, among other things, responsible for the Briskr Academy. “The Briskr Academy offers a coherent package of workshops, coaching and consultations hours and other business development related activities. Entrepreneurs can enroll and improve their skills in fields like financial management, subsidies, intellectual property or product creation. It’s possible to sign up once, or to follow a complete series of activities.”

Shared use of facilities

One of the big advantages of the Briskr consortium is the possibility to use the available know-how and facilities. All the network partners grant access to their specific knowledge, equipment and other facilities. According to Rikus Wolbers this is very important because businesses often are not aware of the possibilities the knowledge institutions and research facilities can offer.

“Bridging the gap between science and business is one of our main fields of attention and stimulation. There are beautiful opportunities to enroll research project on the campuses of Radboud University, Radboud University Medical Centre and HAN University of Applied Sciences. We are going to highlight these possibilities and connect the parties proactively.”

About the Briskr consortium

Parties active in the so-called triple helix founded Briskr. The main partners are the Municipality of Nijmegen, Health Valley Netherlands, Kadans Science Partner, Novio Tech Campus, East Netherlands Development Agency (OostNL), the Province of Gelderland, Radboud University, Radboud University Medical Centre (Radboudumc) and SMB Life Sciences. Associate partners like Business Cluster Semiconductors, Rabobank Rijk van Nijmegen and The Economic Board enrich these parties. On October 12th Briskr has been launched during an event revolving around ‘Impact on Health & High Tech’ with the former mayor of Eindhoven, Rob van Gijzel.

Source: Novio Tech Campus

Orkambi included in the basic healthcare package

Former Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport, Edith Schippers, has decided to include the medicine Orkambi for the treatment of cystic fibrosis (CF) in the basic healthcare package. This is great news for the CF patients in need of Orkambi.  After a period of uncertainty, Schippers finally made this decision because she was able to reach an agreement on the price with Vertex. Part of this price agreement with the manufacturer is that the details of the agreement remain confidential.

Former Minister Schippers:  “I am incredibly happy for the patients that the negotiations eventually succeeded. After all, their patience has been seriously tested. The agreement is first and foremost in the interest of the people with the disease and their families.”

In May 2017 both the Netherlands and Belgium decided to end the then ongoing negotiations with Vertex. At the beginning of July Schippers started follow-up negotiations regarding the price of the medicine. Subsequently, the negotiations were stalled when Vertex and Schippers failed to reach an agreement.

Orkambi is a medicine that can be used by some patients with CF. In the Netherlands it concerns approximately 750 CF patients. At the end of 2016 Zorginstituut Nederland noted that the requested price was too high. Due to the recent successful outcome of the negotiations, inclusion in the basic healthcare package is now at last possible. Orkambi is included in the package with effect from 1 November 2017.

Source: Government

Industry invests € 510 million in public-private research

In 2016, Dutch industry invested € 510 million in public-private research projects. The total investments in these projects amounted to € 1,060 million, of which 48% in the form of private contributions. Consequently, an important objective of Dutch business policy, namely € 800 million in public-private investments, has been more than achieved. This is reflected in the Progress Report 2017 – Navigeren met wind in de zeilen. The progress report looks back on the results of the business policy in the past year. Besides the total public-private investments other important milestones have been achieved as well.

RegMed XB starring in a popular documentary series Doctors of Tomorrow

The institute for regenerative medicine crossing borders (RegMed XB) has been featured in a documentary series on NPO 1 (net 1, public broadcasting). The progamme is the final installation of a popular series with more than one million viewers about major innovations in healthcare titled Doctors of Tomorrow.

The programme focuses on the solutions for renal failure with researchers Prof. Ton Rabelink and Dr. Marije Koning along with a few patients. Furthermore, type 1 diabetes is also discussed with Prof. Eelco de Koning and a patient. Maarten de Gruyter, Chairman of the DON Foundation and himself a patient with type 1 diabetes, was also interviewed. RegMed XB founder Prof. Clemens van Blitterswijk tells the story about the importance and added value of RegMed XB.

The episode Doctors of Tomorrow starring RegMed XB can now be watch online via this NPO link.

Photographer: Marc Sourbron

Minister opens innovative new hospital in Maaseik

Hospital Maas and Kempen, previously a hospital with two locations, now has a single new location to the west of Maaseik. A key objective for the design was to make the green environment visible in the hospital. The hospital is not a world in itself. Wherever patients, visitors and staff are they can see the natural surroundings. This enhances the orientation and the tranquility of the users. A second important key objective for the design was the division of the programme into five individual buildings, interconnected with corridors and walkways. This concept strengthens the small scale of the building.

“The limited number of building levels and the division of the programme in five individual buildings provides a pleasant environment for both patients and staff,” says Maurits Algra, architect/director of de Jong Gortemaker Algra architects and engineers

Healing environment

The optimal orientation of the individual buildings with respect to the green environment and sunlight creates a ‘healing environment’. According to Maurits Algra, architect/director of de Jong Gortemaker Algra architects and engineers the limited building height contributes to a pleasant climate: “Even though the project covers an area of 33,250 m², the building never has more than three storeys. The limited number of building levels and the division of the programme in five individual buildings provides a pleasant environment for both patients and staff.”

The five building sections of hospital Maas and Kempen

The hospital functions are divided among the five building sections, as follows:

  • Entrance, visitors’ restaurant, and registrations in the ‘Entrance building’
  • Nursing wards in the ‘Hotel building’
  • Outpatients clinics, administration and management in the ‘Office building’
  • A&E, IC, First Aid and Radiology in the ‘Hot floor’
  • Facilities from cleaning to laboratory in the ‘Fabric’

FME calls for a National Healthcare Technology Agenda

FME chair Ineke Dezentjé Hamming-Bluemink: “Technological innovation makes treatments more reliable and precise, and gives the healthcare professional space for what actually matters in healthcare: attention for the people. That is why it is time for a National Healthcare Technology Agenda.”

Until now there was no clear picture of the position healthcare technology holds in our hospitals. That is why the healthcare branch in the FME (the Dutch employers' organisation in the technology industry which brings together 350 technology companies that want to improve healthcare) commissioned research bureau Ecorys to map the value of healthcare technology in the Netherlands and give recommendations for the future.

The research shows: of the €83 billion we spent on medical and long-term care in the Netherlands, €3.2 billion was spent in hospitals in 2016 on healthcare technology (€2.9 billion for consumables and €0.3 billion for medical equipment). This is 13% of all expenses in Dutch hospitals.

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FME views this study as a start to improve healthcare in the Netherlands and to create a National Healthcare Technology Agenda. FME chair Ineke Dezentjé Hamming: “Our offer is to take on this challenge with the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, patient organisations, healthcare providers and insurers. The new coalition agreement is based on: good healthcare for everyone in the right place at the right moment. I wholeheartedly agree with this! Wouldn’t it be fantastic to work together on a National Healthcare Technology Agenda?  Together we can speed up the movement towards value-based healthcare.”

Rapport | The value of healthcare technology

Building on Cures Act, FDA lays out cell therapy fast track in regenerative medicine framework

Given two of the documents are finalized versions of existing texts and a third seeks to simplify the regulation of devices that enable regenerative treatments, the RMAT guidance (PDF) is the novel part of the framework for drug developers. In the guidance, the FDA takes the RMAT status created by the 21st Century Cures Act, contextualizes it against other regulatory designations and explains how and why companies may want to apply.

“With the policy framework the FDA is adopting a risk-based and science-based approach that builds upon existing regulations to support innovative product development while clarifying the FDA’s authorities and enforcement priorities.,” says FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D.

RMAT is open to investigational regenerative medicine therapies that treat, modify, reverse or cure serious conditions and have generated promising preliminary clinical evidence of efficacy. The FDA cites a single-arm, open-label study of a skin burn cell therapy and a phase 2, dose-finding trial of a heart failure regenerative medicine as examples of the types of experiments that could provide preliminary evidence of efficacy.

Candidates that receive RMAT status will receive all the benefits of the FDA’s fast track and breakthrough designation. The law that created RMAT also covers accelerated approvals and how to satisfy the subsequent post-approval requirements.

The FDA is accepting comments on the RMAT text and draft device guidance for 90 days.