Juan F. Roman, Ph.D., MBA
VP Business Development
Juan is a medical technology business developer with an international world-class technical and commercial background. A career of over twenty years in Diagnostics and MedTech, always working in forefront technologies, with the most recent ten years successfully involved in the organization of research and development joint ventures with blue-chip healthcare, diagnostics and life sciences companies.
Only a few weeks until AACC 2022 in Chicago, the largest clinical diagnostics conference in the world. Ahead of the conference, I share some thoughts about developments in the world of IVD since the last AACC.
What’s New Since the Last AACC ?
AACC in Atlanta 2021 was well-run considering the difficulty of organizing an event when the world was still at the tail end of COVID. Since then, I have attended MEDICA, MedlabME, TriCon, AMR Conference, ECCMID and POC DX Europe among other conferences. Often, I saw similar products that aimed to grab a slice of the existing market without bringing any innovation – yet another small molecular DX system that yet again requires painfully manual sample preparation. Many were beautifully designed (good industrial design is not the same as a good design) and all needed manual preparation by a specialist user. These companies try to get a slice of an existing market instead of creating a new market in ‘sample to result’ devices that the world so urgently needs.
Interesting newcomers since AACC 2021 include Lexagene with a compact and easy to use desktop system for molecular diagnostic, launched for the veterinary market and able to adapt in the future to human IVD. What makes it so good? Its ease of use combined with the convenience of well-designed semi-durable consumables. We are used to well-designed electronic gadgets and domestic appliances, so there is no excuse for laboratory IVD instruments that need a PhD on call and the user manual nearby. Lexagene have managed to strike that balance of good IVD chemistry and very usable design.
LumiraDX is still looking very relevant in the market, with a growing portfolio of clinical chemistry tests. Will they bring a molecular diagnostics test for the same platform? Perhaps at AACC 2022? Watch this space!
One instrument that caught my eye at the recent ECCMID in Lisbon was the QuickMIC by Gradientech. One of the most pressing challenges of the current century is Antibiotic Microbial Resistance (AMR). After 80 plus years using and abusing antibiotics, dangerous bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. The world needs fast, dependable technology to quickly decide what antibiotic is the right one for each case, preventing the current need to ‘bomb’ patients with broad spectrum antibiotics that are becoming less effective. For that reason, Gradientech is a very welcome newcomer in the world of AMR testing.
What Do I Hope to See at AACC 2022 in Chicago?
In one word, I want to see Innovation!
I want to see portable CRISPR diagnostics instrumentation, with the much-promised advantage of excellent specificity and ‘all in one pot’ sample to reaction.
I also want to see new applications of Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS), a technique that seems to be coming up in all fields, including Liquid Biopsy detection of circulating tumor cells.
I look forward to seeing decentralized #AMR testing instruments, designed after careful market analysis, voice of customer studies and smart consultation of the needs of Low and Middle Income Countries #LMIC. If I can do my banking on a mobile phone, get a free MP3 player with a Happy Meal or buy an optical wireless computer mouse for $10, why do clinicians still have so few technological options to choose the right antibiotic for a patient? Centralized Antibiotic Susceptibility Testing (#AST) still relies on technologies invented almost 200 years ago. Time to innovate!
Looking forward to a successful and innovative AACC 2022, Juan Roman