Medicon Valley Alliance: Q&A Interview with Erik Falvey from IDDI
Recently, Erik Falvey, our Senior Director of Business Development, shared his insights during a Q&A session with Medicon Valley Alliance, on key challenges and potentials for oncology related R&D and how operations been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Q1) Why is the Medicon Valley region particularly interesting for a company such as IDDI?
Scandinavia is very innovative in the Life Sciences space, with several biopharmaceutical companies in early stages of their clinical development. This is a great match for IDDI, as we assist our customers on their clinical trial journey, beginning with support in protocol development (clinical trial designs, sample size calculations, statistical support feedback…) and then helping them with data management and statistical analysis as they move forward with their clinical development during the study conduct phase(s).
We’re also working with a growing number of biotech companies with the identification and validation of their biomarkers, and those that can potentially be used as surrogate endpoints in clinical trials.
We have a small but growing number of important customers in Scandinavia and are well-positioned to be a strong partner, especially for trials in the Oncology space.
IDDI is pleased to be a member of the Medicon Valley Alliance, as this will help strengthen the collaboration, networking and knowledge-sharing in the Nordics life science community. I personally find that this is more crucial than ever, with the current limited networking events taking place due to COVID. So joining the MVA is especially welcome from a business development point of view!
Q2) What do you consider the key challenges and potentials for oncology related R&D in the Nordics?
The need for developing innovative drugs for cancer remains a focus area of research, due to aging populations combined with the rising incidence and prevalence of cancer. To this day, clinical trials in Oncology represent the lion’s share of research activities, with a growing emphasis on immunotherapies and precision medicine.
With extensive bio banks and health registries, along with homogenous populations, the Nordic countries bring some unique factors to aid in oncology R&D, helping to potentially serve as a predictor for novel biomarkers and diagnostic tests, and later as a real life verification for the effect of new treatments.
Cancer research is complex: trials require specific trial design expertise, often include biomarker and companion diagnostics, and attrition rates tend to be high.
This area is where we can play a major role in partnering with biotechs in the Nordic region. The vast majority of clinical trials we support are in Oncology (representing approx. 66% of all our studies) and over the past 29 years we’ve built a deep knowledge of the regulatory requirements and can help our customers mitigate risks associated with these complex studies.
Q3) How have your operations been affected by the COVID-19 crisis?
We were well-prepared for the COVID-19, and in fact, this hasn’t disrupted our business at all. In fact, we saw an uptick in client requests, primarily to assist with increased statistical analyses due to missing patient visits, etc., as a result of disruption to their ongoing clinical trials.
Following the outbreak, we implemented strict measures to preserve the health and safety of our employees and their families. In consistency with our Business Continuity Plan, the majority of IDDI employees have been working primarily from home since March.
The real challenge has been in how to manage our internal and client meetings most effectively, now that the overwhelming majority of all meetings are conducted remotely via Teams web meetings!