Invetech offers new product development for diagnostics, cell therapy, and consumer industries

March 19, 2015

If you were explaining Invetech to someone who is not familiar with the organization, how would you characterize its primary areas of expertise? Invetech provides new product development and contract manufacturing services for the diagnostics, cell therapy, and consumer industries. 

What are the major categories of solutions that Invetech provides for its customers? Invetech provides the full spectrum of services required to specify, design, engineer, and manufacture a new product—we turn ideas into products. We provide our services to the diagnostics, cell therapy, and consumer markets. In Diagnostics we support development of the whole system. This includes the instrument, the consumable, and the automation to manufacture the consumable. The systems we develop are for use in both a hospital or reference laboratory as well as point-of-care settings. In Cell Therapy, we are designing production trains that form part of an injectable pharmaceutical manufacturing system. The production trains typically involve steps for cell concentration, expansion, selection, purification, and fill/finish.

How have Invetech’s solutions evolved in recent years to address changing customer needs? How is your company looking ahead?  Invetech’s solutions have evolved to better meet the needs of customers. For example, many customers seek new product development and contract manufacturing from a single partner. To meet this need, we have expanded our manufacturing footprint and have associates in China supporting sourcing.

Another step we have taken is in the area of product reliability. Many customers are seeking to lift the bar on instrument reliability. The parts of an instrument that move, such as robots, are particularly vulnerable to failure. To deepen our knowledge of motion systems, and respond to the call for higher reliability, we have recently merged with Dover Motion, a company of 50 years heritage providing high-quality motion solutions to a range of medical and life-science customers.

Invetech has among its clients leading organizations with whom readers of MLO deal directly—for example, Abbott, bioMerieux, Bio-Rad, others. Can you give examples of some solutions you have developed for these companies? For Abbott we developed and manufactured a Slide Maker Stainer (SMS), an automated blood film preparation system. Following processing in the SMS instrument, samples can be microscopically examined as an aid to diagnosing general infections and blood-related disorders such as leukemia and anemia. For bioMerieux, we developed the NucliSENS EasyMAG, a general purpose sample preparation instrument which can extract nucleic acid from a variety of biological samples (blood, CSF, stool, sputum). We also developed the PREVI Isola, an automated microbiological streaking instrument. For Bio-Rad we developed and currently manufacture the BioPlex 2200, a fully automated immunoassay instrument capable of up to 2200 results per hour. And for Leica Biosystems, we developed the Bond-MAX and Bond-III immunohistochemistry instruments that have class-leading usability, turnaround time and staining quality. 

Invetech’s portfolio includes clinical in-vitro diagnostic instruments, immunoassay and clinical chemistry analyzers, and molecular diagnostics. Can you tell our readers about ongoing development you are doing in any or all of these areas? We have ongoing developments in all these areas. At the AACC meeting in Chicago last summer, we showcased the “Evalution,” a rapid and multiplexed analysis platform that supports a broad range of biological assays. The system was developed for MyCartis in Europe. Our ongoing work typically has one of three drivers—new assays, workflow automation, or regulatory changes. Due to the significant societal investment in science through, for example, the genome project, new indicators of disease are continuously being identified, and this gives rise to new diagnostic tests. The continual drive for efficiency has its origin in the squeeze on healthcare costs and the need to do more with fewer resources. We have also seen new regulations come into force such as the Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS), and this drives life-cycle upgrades.

Point-of-care is becoming an increasingly important platform. What are the latest trends in this segment? The latest trend is definitely toward simplicity. Many organizations commercializing point-of-care are seeking CLIA waiver to ensure as wide a potential user base as possible. Securing CLIA waiver demands simplicity. 

The other trend is towards ruggedness, as products are being used in a range of demanding environments such as temporary field hospitals and geographies like Africa—all of which are a far cry from the air-conditioned lab environments typical in United States.

Before becoming President of Invetech, you worked for a number of years as Director of Product Innovation. How did the earlier role prepare you for your present position? The earlier role gave me a strong sense of what customers are expecting from an organization like Invetech. The two big-ticket items customers are seeking are, first, a winning product—we must produce a uniquely differentiated customer experience—and second, they are looking for a strong collaborative spirit. The breakthrough projects we get involved in are complex, and collaboration is required to get the best outcome.