LifeTec Group - Q3 Quarterly Report
THIRD QUARTER OF 2018

Autumn has arrived and the third quarter of the year has already come and gone.

From a sun-drenched Netherlands, where it’s a record 25,7 degrees Celsius at the moment, now is a good time to look back on this third quarter of 2018:

Anke Waterschoot
Quality Management, Customer Satisfaction

Anke Waterschoot takes care of our Quality Management and she is also a project manager and engineer. We will introduce Anke to you more extensively in the near future, but we’ll start with her two important achievements in Q3:

ISO re-certification

Under the inspired leadership of Anke, LifeTec Group’s Quality Management System was improved. Our clients and colleagues felt it, and it has not escaped the notice of the ISO auditor either: in the third quarter of this year, LifeTec Group ‘passed’ the ISO audit with flying colours. The new ISO certificate has arrived. (you can download it here)

‘Customer evaluations’… 

Anke Waterschoot: “To get more information on the quality of our services and the general experience, we performed a customer evaluation. Clients were asked to give their feedback in a customer evaluation form. 

The results show us the effects of the effort and positive vibe at LifeTec Group: clients like the atmosphere at LifeTec Group, the expertise and professionalism, as well as the flexibility we provide. With the suggestions made by our clients we can and will continue to improve our services!”

Bart Smeets and Dave Wanders
Globetrotters: Bart Smeets and Dave Wanders

Bart Smeets: “From 8 – 11th September Dave (Wanders –ed-) and I were at London Valves PCR, on behalf of Edwards Lifesciences, specifically the Transcatheter Mitral & Tricuspid Therapies department.

During the conference we were in the training village, where our Cardiac Biosimulator Platform was used to demonstrate the Cardioband system in the tricuspid valve. It was nice to see a lot of enthusiastic reactions to our platform and moreover we talked to a lot of people who saw other possibilities for it. 

Then, one week after London Valves PCR, we hit the road again towards Innsbruck:  

Focus Valve Meeting, Innsbruck

At this event, we were well represented with two Cardiac Biosimulator platforms on the training day on 19 September. We were given a really nice welcome by Dr. Bonaros and Dr. Gollmann-Tepeköylü.

At this event our platforms weren’t just used for demonstration, but for real training of young doctors. On one platform TAVI procedures were performed in a cath lab with fluoroscopy. On the other the Mitraclip procedure was practiced, and also our more familiar Neochord procedure.

Dave and I agreed that we should try to expand the training procedures on our platforms!”

Bettine van Willigen
Decision support 

Bettine van Willigen and Tim van den Boom took some important steps in Q3 in the development of software that enables cardiac surgeons to make a well-founded decision when choosing between placing a stent and going for a bypass.

[You can read about this development in more detail in ‘Introducing: Bettine van Willigen’ and in ‘Promising Rookies: Tim van den Boom’.]

The third quarter of 2018 had a few ‘thrilling moments’ for these young engineers. Bettine lists some of them:

  • We started receiving data from Catharina Hospital
  • We joined a cardiac team to see how they decide between bypass surgery and PCI
  • We got a ‘go’ from the TU/e and Catharina Hospital to continue to develop our support software for coronary interventions
  • Our software is now able to detect stenoses on its own
  • Our software is now able to perform multiple coronary interventions virtually

With Bettine and Tim, LifeTec Group not only has two dedicated young engineers on board, but also two real 'LifeTechies' and therefore fully-fledged colleagues who work passionately on 'things that matter'.

Head of Research Linda Kock appointed

As from September 1, our Head of Research Linda Kock has a part-time appointment as (Adjunct) Assistant Professor ex vivo models at the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e). As such she will be even more involved in the innovative research that is being performed at the TU/e and we will collaborate closer in supervision of Bachelor and Master students during their internships. This is another example of the close and fruitful collaboration between TU/e and LifeTec Group and we are happy to support this joint position.

Marcel Wijlaars
Behind the scenes 

When we talk about scientific breakthroughs, on our website or in our newsletters, or when we explain medical technology that is ‘hard to visualise’, using the example of a heart that beats without a body, then a lot of those developments appeal to people’s imagination. 

What you probably don’t know is that our brainy scientific researchers could never get their work to appeal to the imagination without an awful lot of things being organised for them. But we know it all too well. 

Marcel Wijlaars is typically one of those colleagues at LifeTec Group who prefer to work behind the scenes, but without whom the company would grind to a halt.

Here are a few of the things he organised in our third quarter:

ICT 

“We finished upgrading our storage capacity. This should enable us to continue to store data we generate for clients, for the next few years.”

(LifeTec Group stores many terabytes of research data for its clients. It may not be a ‘sexy’ activity, but it’s certainly a comforting thought)

Platform development

“Our aging Sarns centrifugal pump controls were failing and needed to be replaced. Hardware and software was developed for it so we can continue using the pump heads in the Cardiac Biosimulator Platform and the PhysioHeart Platform. Potentially the developed hardware will enable us to automate and miniaturize some of the features of these platforms.”

LifeTec Group's founders at the Grand Canyon
Head of Medtech Innovation Marco Stijnen:

LifeTec Group’s Head of Medtech Innovation Marco Stijnen (here in the white t-shirt) has more to share than we have room for in this Q3 report:

TCT and business trip in Arizona and California.

"At TCT there was a great deal of interest on the trade floor from companies that develop cardiac devices. Some of these leads look like they might yield interesting collaborations for LifeTec Group. 

In addition we visited a number of interesting medtech businesses and we went to a hospital in Arizona that offers a lot of training opportunities for surgeons.

 

There was a great deal of interest in LifeTec Group’s approach there, and they were also impressed with the Cardiac Biosimulator platform. It would be extremely suitable for the next-level trainings the institute has to offer. We’re actively looking into the possibilities of working together in that respect."

Marco about Medtech R&D in Q3:

 

Flushing the chest cavity 

Haermonics, a spin-off of AMC, has obtained funding and is now an independent company. They want to put a device in the market for flushing the chest cavity of patients after surgery, in order to improve recovery and prevent complications. LifeTec Group devised a prototype sensor for them in earlier granted-research projects. With the new financial backing in order, we’re discussing further developing the sensor so we can test it in a clinical trial soon. 

Robot surgery

We wrote and submitted an MIT application together with Eindhoven Medical Robotics. They want to market a robotic remote control catheter system, and we help them with the validation of that system by imitating as realistically as possible the navigation inside our heart platforms.

Children with congenital heart conditions

Together with LUMC, we submitted an application for a better understanding of a surgical procedure. It concerns children with congenital heart defects who, in their early years, have to undergo various operations in order to reconnect their blood vessel system, in a number of phases. LifeTec Group is developing a setup that can imitate the various connections, and they can then be examined in an MRI.

Heart valve prosthesis; aortic expansion 

In another collaboration with LUMC, we’re starting an experiment with the Cardiac Biosimulator platform. There is a procedure in which the aorta is surgically expanded for a valve replacement, in order to allow for a bigger valve prosthesis to be placed in the expanded aorta.  The effectiveness of this procedure is not certain, so the experiment will focus on discovering under which circumstances the procedure will be useful. 

Skills training for surgeons and cardiologists

A possible collaboration with AMC’s ‘Skills lab’ is explored: the focus is on research and development of new technology, and on training the skills of surgeons and cardiologists. 

We look forward to what Q4 will bring!

CEO

Jurgen de Hart

Head of MedTech Innovation

Marco Stijnen

Head of Research

Linda Kock

Medical Director

Bas de Mol

R&D Engineer

Marcel Wijlaars

R&D Engineer

Benjamin Kappler

Senior Research Engineer

Sjoerd van Tuijl

Biochemical Engineer

Melanie Krüger

R&D Engineer

Noemi Vanerio

Marketing & Communications

Toine Nagel

Office Manager

Janneke Cuijpers

R&D technician

Elke van Soest

R&D engineer

Dave Wanders

R&D Engineer

Bart Smeets

R&D Engineer

Mattia D'Alessi

Financial Administrator

Naudia Singh

Project Manager and Engineer

Anke Waterschoot

R&D Engineer

Martina Puricelli

Junior R&D Engineer

Tim van den Boom

Junior R&D Engineer

Bettine van Willigen

©2018 LifeTec Group.  Legal  Credits