Meeting report 2016

Plenary session

In the Lygature Partnerships MeetUp plenary session, four invited speakers shared their views on the need for public-private partnerships in the quest to find solutions for societal challenges in the area of life-science and health. They highlighted the role of their organizations in these partnerships and specified requirements to take those partnerships to the next level.

Paul Korte, Managing Director of Janssen in the Netherlands and Chair of the Dutch Association for Innovative Medicines (formerly known as Nefarma), argued that the issues surrounding development of modern medicines cannot be solved by any single organization, but instead need to involve a complex network of actors. Where previously it was about bridging academia and industry, other actors such as patient organizations, payers, regulators and many more are now essential players.

Making the connection between medical technology and precision medicine, Hans Hofstraat, Vice-President Philips Research, continued by presenting the results of several successful partnerships in which Philips is active, including a nice example in the area of oncology involving the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

The role of health foundations, or to be more precise, the changing role of health foundations in partnerships, was nicely and openly illustrated by Marina Senten, Director Research & Healthcare at the Dutch Heart Foundation and Board Member of the Dutch Collaborating Health Foundations (SGF). Health foundations are moving away from simply subsidizing projects. They are becoming active partners in research consortia to steer them towards results that benefit patients, thereby demonstrating to donors that their money is being spent wisely.

Professor Frank Miedema, Dean & Vice President of the Executive Board of the University Medical Center Utrecht, used the inspiring example of Health-RI to illustrate the need for more collaboration. The development of this unique nation-wide research infrastructure for personalized medicine and health is an excellent example of the power of partnerships: a next step in sharing data, medical images, biobanks and other resources to facilitate research and development.

In between these four plenary talks, Lygature’s Rita Azevedo, Remco de Vrueh and Tale Sliedrecht informed the audience about the results of the three parallel sessions that took place during the morning program.


Parallel sessions

Rita Azevedo - Parallel Session 1

Hands-on workshop: data management tools for translational research

Together with TraIT, BBMRI-NL and DTL

During this workshop, participants gained hands-on experience of biomedical translational data management, data sharing and associated infrastructures.

BBMRI-NL, DTL and TraIT co-organized five busy and lively mini-workshops with the collaboration of experts from some of their public and private partners, notably Erasmus University Medical Center (Erasmus MC), Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Netherlands Cancer Institute (NKI), The Hyve and University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG).

The aim was to give a flavour of what is already possible in the Netherlands in end-to-end biomedical translational data management via the following short hands-on sessions:

  • Clinical data (OpenClinica) by Marinel Cavelaars, Jolanda Strubel and Jacob Rousseau
  • Biomedical imaging (XNAT) by Marcel Koek and Adriaan Versteeg
  • Biobanking (Molgenis Catalogue) by David van Enckevort
  • Making data FAIR - or FAIRify! - FAIR DataPoint by Rajaram Kaliyaperumal and Luiz Olavo Bonino, and myFAIR Analysis by Andrew Stubbs
  • Data integration (tranSMART) by Mariska Bierkens and Jochem Bijlard

Although short, the workshops led to very fruitful discussions between participants and the experts, including how to make use of the tools and the network of experts for their own studies and data.

All the above workshops will be available online for participants until November 25, but anyone interested in them can always contact Lygature for follow-up. Alternatively, you can come to the Health-RI conference in Amersfoort on December 1st, where many of the above experts will be present. In 2017, more in-depth follow-up training sessions will be organized.


Remco de Vrueh - Parallel Session 2

London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases – Quo vadis?

Together with representatives from the Pediatric Praziquantel Consortium, PDE4NPD, and MMV-PDP

During this session, chaired by Cees de Joncheere (formerly with WHO), different perspectives were provided by Wieneke Vullings (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Ed Zijlstra (Erasmus MC/DNDi), Maria Yazdanbakhsh (LUMC) and Jutta Reinhard-Rupp (Merck KGaA).

Overall, what became clear is that the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) community should continue to raise awareness on its needs, maintain existing public-private partnerships and initiate new ones. It also became clear that although current drug donation programs suffice, they are not considered sustainable in the long run. Future advances in R&D should therefore go hand-in-hand with the development of novel models that ensure sustained accessibility to a new generation of affordable and effective therapies.


Tale Sliedrecht - Parallel Session 3

Sharing resources: It’s time to partner up!

Together with the European Lead Factory and the Parelsnoer Institute

Within the Lygature portfolio there are several projects in which partners from both the public and private sector not only work together but actually go one step further by sharing resources. These collaborations yield results that surpass what individual partners could achieve on their own. In the parallel session ‘Sharing resources´, speakers were invited who either already share resources or who have a vision to collaborate and share in the future.

Biobanking professor Hein Verspaget from LUMC presented the achievements and vision of the Parelsnoer Institute, which has become a standard for biobanking. The Parelsnoer Institute enables the Dutch University Medical Centers to combine and share clinical data, medical images and biomaterials to answer scientific questions.

Personalized healthcare professor Alain van Gool highlighted the importance of high quality biomarkers. He shared his vision of collaborations within the biomarker research area, including collaborations with the developers of new technologies, and the importance of equipping researchers and clinicians with a broad range of new diagnostic tools.

The session was concluded by Hans van Eenennaam, Chief Operational Officer at Aduro Biotech Europe, who envisioned an open innovation model in which academics, SMEs and pharma companies collaborate to share infrastructure and knowledge in order to create novel therapeutic antibodies.


The Lygature Partnerships MeetUp day concluded with the opening of the new ‘Jaarbeurs Innovation Mile’ innovation hub, in which Lygature has established its new office.