That was one of the key questions in the last “Sensing for Smart Anything Everywhere: Materials, Technologies, Applications” workshop, held at Otranto, Italy, last June. It was an event focused on the technological orientation and future challenges offered by the connection between Sensors and Information and Communication Technologies. The congress hosted this year’s Concertation and Consultation Workshop of European Comission on Micro-Nano-Bio Convergence.
Challenges to transfer technology to the market
In this 2016 edition, an specific session to discuss the challenges to transfer a technology success to a market success was included and LiqBiopSens consortium was invited to share its experience on this issue with other european projects in the Micro-Nano-Bio sensing community.
LiqBiopSens road to market
Prof. Antonio Arnau, coordinator of LiqBiopSens project and founder of AWSensors, and Dr. Román Fernández, Innovation Manager at AWSensors, were the LiqBiopSens representatives in this event.
They explained the goal of LiqBiopSens project: to get a liquid biopsy platform for early diagnostic and easy monitoring of colorectal cancer that solves the current drawbacks in the fight against this disease. That is to say, a platform that meets the following needs:
Accordingly, Prof. Arnau explained that LiqBiopSens will go into the market with a unique value to further the effectiveness and efficiency of colorectal treatment. LiqBiopSens will be a cost-effective and accurate diagnostic and monitoring tool that will allow clinical lab staff for early-detection and monitoring of colorectal cancer in real time.
Dr. Fernández emphasized the importance of a constant technology surveillance to implement any innovation that may arise in the field.
Likewise, it is crucial bearing always in mind the key performance indicators that the technology project must meet. The success of LiqBiopSens will be measured periodically according the following KPI’s:
Those KPI's will be measured not only during the first 3 years, to get the validation of the technology, but also during the last 2 years, when the commercial product will be finally manufactured and prepared to be distributed.
Testing, fast manufacturing and purchase requirements
Other prestigious researchers gave their advice as well. Dr. Konstantinos Mitsakakis explained how his disc-shaped point-of-care platform for infectious disease diagnosis (DiscoGnosis) was tested in underdeveloped countries. Dr. Bustack showed the importance of thinking about scaling the complexity of technological platforms for getting a robust and fast manufacturing on a large scale.
On the other hand, Dr. Hans Peter Dauben, from the German Agency for Health Technology Assessment, explained how the purchase process of new medical devices is developed by state agencies and emphasized that technology developments must be discussed with physicians from the very beginning.
Lessons to be learned
At the end, several lessons were learned from the experience of important technology projects in order to get a successful transition from lab to real world. Let’s sum up by listing those pieces of advice.
- Involve users from the start and meet them periodically
- Define needs and user requirements in the first phase of the project
- Define a unique value proposition according to user needs and competition
- Keep constant technological surveillance, planning and implementation
- Define technical, investment and time requirements to manufacture the device on a large scale.
- Define objectives, deadlines and KPI's based on technological progress in the field and market demand
- Involve investors, manufacturers, trade and dealers companies from the start
- Define an IP exploitation plan