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Pharmapack interviews Serkan Oray of UCB Pharma

Gareth Carpenter — 16 Jun 2021

Ahead of Pharmapack Europe 2021 in October, we talk to one of the speakers, Serkan Oray, Vice President, Devices, Packaging & Wearable Technologies at UCB Pharma about the company's new electromechanical injection device and the innovation drive within the connected health market

Can you give us an overview of your presentation topic for Pharmapack 2021?

We will be speaking about the new version of our electromechanical injection device (e-Device), which has been CE marked and launched in Europe. It brings together a number of improvements and new features in comparison to our first-generation device, notably the introduction of new connectivity features and a companion application. Our presentation will cover both technical considerations as well as the internal journey to prepare our company for introducing this product into the market.

Why is this topic important at this time?

Although connected health has now become an old topic, there are still very few examples of how it is used outside of a few niche indications. As the world has accelerated its technical expectations with regards to healthcare, we expect to see more practical and tangible solutions entering into the marketplace in the near future.

Will COVID-19 have any long-term effects on the development of connected health?

Yes, we believe that patient expectations as well as the expectations of the broader healthcare community have shifted dramatically due to COVID-19 and the immediate healthcare needs during this period. It’s hard to predict exactly how this will evolve in the short term as our society re-adjusts post-pandemic, however the convenience and connected nature of understanding one’s own health care is likely to be maintained for the long term.

What typical barriers to successful self-injection does the ava® electromechanical injector overcome?

Even with the first version of ava®, the e-Device was designed with and for patients, principally for those who wished to combine ease of self-injection (hidden needle and an automated delivery system) with increased self-injection control (e.g. speed of injection control, injection pause features). The new version, ava Connect®, now adds connectivity as well as additional supportive information and guidance with a companion application. This connectivity can help guide and facilitate conversations with healthcare professionals to address the needs and challenges of the patient.

What are the biggest challenges facing the connected health market?

One of the biggest challenges facing the connected health market is the internal value discussions that get companies or business units to invest and put sufficient effort and capabilities in marketing these new technologies. These discussions can range from the potentially expensive need to demonstrate specific patient outcomes, to more modest ambitions around delivering patient value through improving patient experience. Understanding the ambition for a new connected device is important to understand the go-to-market preparation and investment.

How will the connected devices and companion apps better serve patients?

By allowing patients to track and follow their own treatment, we believe that patients will have more control of their own health. The data they generate will be their own and their own consent preferences will determine how the data can be further shared.

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