The timing was perfect – the EMA would complete its move to Amsterdam in March and LSP would host its increasingly popular healthcare conference, BioCapital Europe, in the same month. Having a representative from EMA speak at the conference therefore seemed an obvious choice. But this is the European Medicine Agency, the gate keepers of health and safety – would they have the interest, let alone the time to attend such an event?
From the moment we reached out to them – the EMA could not have been more enthusiastic and gracious. They quickly confirmed that none other than Prof. Guido Rasi, Executive Director of EMA would speak at the conference. Prof. Rasi would be joined by two very senior members of staff; Dr. Michael Berntgen, Head of the Product Development Scientific Support Department and Constantinos Ziogas, Head of the SME office.
Their message was crystal clear – the EMA has completed the move to Amsterdam, it is up and running and open for business. Our conference panelists signaled perhaps a new era at EMA – they want to assist in drug development. Yes, they are the gatekeepers but they are also enablers – they want to get novel, effective new treatments to patients in a timely manner. Prof. Rasi outlined the vision at EMA. They want to work more closely with companies to ensure that the research and clinical studies are designed and run to a standard which will improve the chance of success. They also want to improve the efficiency of drug development by killing ineffective programs early, allowing greater focus on the high potential programs.
When should a company approach the EMA? “Come early and come often” was the message. How early and how often, we asked? Dr. Berntgen outlined the various ways and initiative already existing at EMA through which companies can get in contact. The slides from both presentations are available on the conference website; www.biocapitaleurope.com/speakers/
Constantinos Ziogas kindly made himself available throughout the conference to meet with biotech executives and anyone else who was interested to learn more. He went home with a long list of new contacts. It seems that while the biotech execs present at the conference we happy to chat to Dr. Ziogas one-on-one, the lack of questions during the panel session suggests that they are still somewhat hesitant to interact with the EMA. From our recent interactions with EMA in setting up this panel – there is a very real and determined commitment to collaborate more closely and to let companies know that EMA is here to help.
LSP and everyone at BioCapital Europe would like to welcome EMA to Amsterdam!« back to overview