Pharma

Ines Perea, Strategic Advisor at QUIBIM

Quibim’s Strategic Advisor Inés Perea discusses the radical disruptions that quantitative imaging analysis can provide to cancer research

Quibim’s Strategic Advisor Inés Perea discusses the radical disruptions that quantitative imaging analysis can provide to cancer research amongst other areas

Inés Perea is a Doctor that graduated with honors in the Pharmacy and Executive Business Program by Instituto de Empresa of Madrid. Mrs. Perea has extensive and versatile experience spanning more than 20 years in the Pharmaceutical industry working within different roles within the Medical, Access and Commercial (Marketing, Sales, Strategic Planning) areas and international experience in Global and regional teams. Her main area of expertise is oncology and biologics where she has been involved in the strategic planning and commercialization of more than 10 drugs/indications, most of them linked to some form of biomarker diagnosis.

How did you come to know QUIBIM before becoming their strategic advisor?

I was in contact with founder and CEO, Angel Bayarri months prior to my start with Quibim. A mutual friend of ours, a director of a large genetics biomarker laboratory in Spain was working specifically on oncology genetic biomarker testing and I would get involved with his organization in the arenas of strategic value and development, as those are two of my core competencies. I was involved in the development and strategic value of genetic/biologic biomarkers in clinical trials in oncology. It was back in the 90’s when biomarkers were a thing of science fiction. Well, he introduced me to Angel and I really thought he had a fantastic idea when it came to implementation of 3-d imaging biomarkers and using algorithms to quantitatively analyze tumors. Once I learned about Quibim’s technology, I knew that the growth could be exponential if he partnered with strategic partners.

Your field of expertise is Oncology. The Quantitative Medical Imaging field has evolved significantly but we still use RECIST criteria for evaluation of treatment responses, what do you think is the main reason for this? Standardization?

This is the foundation for therapeutic trials. It is a standard when examining patients, however, it has some practical limitations. For example, with the latest breakthrough area in oncology research, immunotherapy, many immuno-oncology drugs are known to cause fluctuations in tumor size, which when analyzed simply with RECIST criteria, would appear as an increase to the tumor size, but it is now understood that tumor fluctuations occur regularly during immunotherapy treatments, often causing the tumor to grow prior to cell DE progression, which is in fact a good sign that would be captured with RECIST criteria well after the fact. In those cases, RECIST does not allow for factoring in the context of the holistic viewpoint that quantitative digital image analysis would facilitate.

What therapeutic indications are best served by incorporating quantitative imaging analysis into clinical research trials?

There is a very simple answer to this question: any therapeutic indication where standardized radiological assessments are a primary or secondary safety or efficacy endpoint of a study. This includes solid tumors, liver diseases, brain diseases, lung diseases, and many others.

Let’s discuss costs. Quantitative imaging analysis sounds expensive. However, automation and extraction of biomarkers as soon as a hospital acquires and uploads images related to a clinical trial can and do have a macroeconomic effect of lowering costs, therefore long-term costs decrease. What do you respond with when someone brings up this objection?

You are right, it is a tremendous cost saver from a macroeconomic point of view. What will continue to help this cause are national health systems, private funding, insurers, and other payers to see the long-term cost savings and efficiencies that quantitative imaging analysis facilitates. Essentially, we need to get quantitative image analysis included in the health system reimbursement system much like traditional biomarkers of a decade ago. As a matter of fact, it took health systems quite a bit of time to include standard biomarkers that we have all grown accustomed to, included on their reimbursement schedules. While it essentially all boils down to payers and health authorities, us researchers and technology pioneers need to continue to prove medium and long-term efficiencies and validate it with radiologists, clinicians and imaging researchers. Once we are able to do that effectively, the market will adjust accordingly, it always does.

The value seems to be in real-time results that can help in both safety and efficacy outcomes. Please expand further on this thought.

Real time results are everything if you really think about it. The main benefit is obviously how this technology facilitates the real time patient care capabilities of healthcare practitioners. Safety and efficacy instant results from treatments are critical when analyzing real time clinical research data. Imaging biomarkers can and will play a tremendous role in improving patient standard of care, and ultimately can make a real impact on disease outcomes.

by: Dan Sfera, also available at: https://medium.com/quibim/quibims-strategic-advisor-in%C3%A9s-perea-discusses-the-radical-disruptions-that-quantitative-imaging-54cef3a3e082

QUIBIM_MIUC

MIUC
the new toolkit of QUIBIM Precision® platform to beat traditional workstations

Quibim has implemented a new toolkit named MIUC (Medical Imaging Universal Connector) to close the gap between hospital IT systems and the Cloud. Whereas the Cloud satisfies the processing requirements, Quibim Precision® handle the functionalities related to communications and management of DICOM objects among the hospitals and radiological centers.

Quibim Precision® allows users in hospitals and radiology departments to have a seamless integration of imaging biomarkers analysis within the radiological workflow, due to the MIUC capabilities combined by the Quibim Precision® Cloud computing environment and the interoperability features implemented in our system. Both image upload and data retrieval are fully automated and users only need to access the PACS when they are notified that a new biomarker report is available.

MIUC is placed inside the hospitals and clinics and it is responsible to establish all the required communications between the PACS and Quibim Precision®. During the analysis of imaging biomarkers, the study is anonymized, sent to the Cloud and analyzed. The final result is a one-page report which is sent back to the MIUC or can be directly visualized in the Quibim Precision® web interface. Furthermore, in clinical environments, the report is converted into DICOM objects and stored in the PACS as a new series within the original study. To identify the original study, the MIUC implements backward traceability in the client side to reidentify the anonymized studies.

Our platform is intended to be used by radiologists, either from a clinical environment, thanks to the MIUC, or as a final user using the web interface. In the clinical environment scenario, radiologists using Quibim Precision® do not have to worry about where the study or the report is. Instead, these issues are transparent to the user, who do not have to perform any action to launch a biomarker process, given that the MIUC rule engine does such work for them. The user will be notified by email when a new biomarker report is ready (and available in both the PACS and the Quibim Precision® web interface).

Nowadays, our Quibim Precision® platform is compliant with the DICOM standard at both communication level and data management and formatting level. Specifically, our platform receives imaging studies from hospitals, radiological centers or pharma companies. Then, the system analyzes the study and obtains quantitative measures, which are stored in a quantitative database and structured in a one-page report on a per-patient basis. Finally, this report is returned back as a result.  Quibim Precision® allows annotating biomarker reports using terms from RadLex and MeSH, enhancing the interoperability of its biomarker reports with other health information systems. In fact, the imaging platform is seamlessly integrated with the hospital PACS, being able to query and retrieve medical studies, processing them and storing the resulting biomarker reports as DICOM objects in the hospital PACS. On the other hand, the processing stage is performed on the Cloud, taking advantage of its benefits: high-performance computing and real-time hardware scalability on demand.

But, what has changed?

In previous updates of our platform, we improved the performance, capabilities and user settings view. With this new suite software QUIBIM Precision®- MIUC does query/retrieve the PACS, anonymizes the PACS responses and forwards them to Quibim Precision® in the Cloud. Furthermore, the MIUC leads our solution to a higher level of automation, given that it monitors the PACS querying for incoming studies. Once a new study reaches the PACS, the MIUC analyzes its header and determines whether a new biomarker analysis must be launched or not, depending on some DICOM elements in the study like imaging modalities, study description, series description or body part among others. For each biomarker analysis available in Quibim Precision®, there is a predefined set of rules that establishes which studies are susceptible to be processed by each analysis method. An incoming study matches a given analysis method whenever it fulfils the predefined set of rules for such analysis method. When this happens, the MIUC automatically sends the study to the Quibim Precision® Cloud processing platform, where it will be processed by the matching biomarker analysis pipeline. Once processed, a biomarker report is generated with the results and sent back to the MIUC. Finally, the MIUC stores the report in the PACS as a DICOM object, making the report available for the specialist who requested it. This way, the Cloud platform remains centralized and, at the same time, fully integrated with the hospital IT systems.

With the arrival of MIUC toolkit the need for conventional workstations with expensive licenses in radiology departments completely disappears. As in other business areas that are evolving from product to service, the Quibim image analysis technology was designed to be offered as the service that puts disruptive image analysis solutions at your fingertips.

QUIBIM at BIO 2017

QUIBIM in BIO 2017

Our company was present again this year in the incredibly huge BIO International Convention in San Diego, California, from June 19th to 22nd. Our registration included both a booth at the Spanish pavilion and the access to the One-to-One partnering meetings.

We had 15 planned meetings and many other new contacts thanks to the interaction at our exhibitor space with agents interested in QUIBIM business model. We made several demonstrations of QUIBIM Precision platform and image analysis capabilities in clinical trials. From all the contacts and meetings performed at BIO, I wanted to point out the classification we found according to their profile:

  • Scientific parks and incubators (30%)
  • Investors in Life Sciences (20%)
  • CRO’s and Pharma companies (50%)

From our experience last year in San Francisco, in this edition there has been a higher interest from scientific parks and incubators beyond Boston and Silicon Valley to attract companies to their facilities, showing the benefits of establishing the companies in specific locations, specially in the different states of US. The number of investors stayed similar, but we have been an increasing interest in the field of Medical Devices. Regarding CRO’s and Pharma companies, most of them are progressively considering medical imaging in their clinical trials, and the best, considering us for their solutions. We are so proud to cover those unmet needs on advanced image analysis services for Clinical Trials, allowing pharma companies, CRO’s and Principal Investigators to follow-up in real time their study. In fact, one of the main trends at BIO this year was how data processing will change the way new drugs are developed and launched into market.

QUIBIM CEO (Angel Alberich-Bayarri) & Booth at BIO 2017

QUIBIM CEO (Angel Alberich-Bayarri) & Booth at BIO 2017

 

We were so glad to have this exhibitor space at the Spanish pavilion, and compared to previous editions, it was also the first time that the Valencia region had a dedicated area inside it (similar to Biocat from Catalonia and Biobasque from Basque Country). The Valencia area was organised by IVACE (Instituto Valenciano para la Competitividad Empresarial), and the organism was represented by Mrs. Mónica Payá (representative for foreign investment of IVACE). The Principe Felipe Research Centre (CIPF), was also represented by Oscar David Sánchez (Projects and Technology Transfer Manager).

Valencia region representatives at BIO 2017 in San Diego, Angel Alberich (QUIBIM), Mónica Payá (IVACE), Daniel Calvo (BIOPOLIS), Marisol Quintero (Biooncotech)

Valencia region representatives at BIO 2017 in San Diego, Angel Alberich (QUIBIM), Mónica Payá (IVACE), Daniel Calvo (BIOPOLIS), Marisol Quintero (Biooncotech)

 

Valencia region representatives at BIO 2017 in San Diego, Óscar David Sánchez (CIPF), Mónica Payá (IVACE), Daniel Calvo (BIOPOLIS), Angel Alberich-Bayarri (QUIBIM)

Valencia region representatives at BIO 2017 in San Diego, Óscar David Sánchez (CIPF), Mónica Payá (IVACE), Daniel Calvo (BIOPOLIS), Angel Alberich-Bayarri (QUIBIM)

 

All the days at BIO were so productive that there is a significant work to be done at home, contacting back with the people we met and following up these new relationships.

Obviously not everything is work and there is also some spare time for entertainment at BIO, in the following picture, a rock band playing at the middle of Gaslamp quarter in San Diego. The streets were closed to welcome BIO 2017 participants in a nice evening with food, drink and music, a nice experience!

Band performing at BIO 2017 in middle of Gaslamp quarter

Band performing at BIO 2017 in middle of Gaslamp quarter

Our experience at BIO 2016 and USA tour

We were delighted to be present at past BIO conference in San Francisco (Moscone Center), from 6th to 9th of June, with a booth in the Spanish pavillion. Our presence was due to the incorporation of QUIBIM in the ICEX next program, the Spanish program that assists SME’s in their internationalization.

I can now confirm that the meeting covered my expectations and I agree with the definition in their website: The BIO International Convention (BIO) attracts over 15,000 biotechnology and pharma leaders who come together for one week of intensive networking to discover new opportunities and promising partnerships. This event covers a wide spectrum of life science and application areas including drug discovery, biomanufacturing, genomics, biofuels, nanotechnology and cell therapy.

QUIBIM stand at BIO convention in Spain Pavillion and its CEO, Angel Alberich-BayarriQUIBIM stand at BIO convention in Spain Pavillion and its CEO, Angel Alberich-Bayarri

The attendees were also variate:

  • One-third of BIO attendees come from outside the U.S.
  • 2,500+ CEO’s from leading biotech companies
  • More than 70% of attendees are either Managers, Directors, C-Level or Executive Management.
  • All company sizes: 33% of attendees are from companies with more than 500 employees and 40% are from companies with fewer than 50 employees.

Our first event in the congress was the session “Spain Kicks off 2016 BIO International Convention” in a charming venue: The Ferry Building. A session were we were able to learn from leading experts on how to select the appropriate path, develop and execute our strategy successfully, as well as best practices and what we need to understand in any approach. High level executives from TTS Global Initiative, Breakout Labs, CytomX, GeronIRB Barcelona, pH PharmaRoche, Stanford University and the Thiel Foundation participated in the panel.

In the BIO convention, we had a total of 23 one-to-one partnering meetings organised. The meetings were very well organised and distributed and having the possibility of discussing 30 minutes with potential customers, providers or investors to explore further ways of collaboration justifies our presence in the congress. New business opportunities that are now being executed arose.

After BIO convention, we decided to spend a pair of days at Case Western Reserve Medical Center in Cleveland, visiting Dr. Pablo Ros, member of our advisory board and Chairman at the Department of Radiology in UH Case Medical Center. The purpose of the visit was to discover the biomedical engineering department and the projects that are being performed. Among the short meetings I shared with senior reserchers, I must highlight the meeting with Dr. Mark Griswold, the promoter of the MRI fingerprinting technique.

In summary, we will probably repeat our attendance at BIO conference due to the success of networking.