Interview in focus
"The setting makes us one of the leading units in Europe"
No medicine or vaccine enters the market without first being extensively tested. This is where global player SGS CPU has a crucial role to play.
A year ago, it opened a new research unit at the University Hospital Antwerp site. In recent years, finding new study volunteers has become more difficult.
"Nevertheless, participants serve a great social interest."
Read the full interview of Voka magazine in conversation with Dr. Annick van Riel (Director Clinical Pharmacology Unit) & Johan Pype (Managing Director Benelux).
Blood sample transportation
On 25 September 2022, successful drone flights took place between the Helix hospital network campus UZA and the GZA Hospitals - ZNA - Ziekenhuis Netwerk Antwerpen - campus Middelheim. The drone transported for the first time in Europe over populated area and Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) blood samples that are part of a clinical study at SGS Clinical Pharmacology Unit (SGS CPU).
The SGS CPU supports medicine development by conducting clinical studies in healthy subjects and patients. From its facility located at the UZA campus in Edegem, clinical laboratory safety samples are transported by courier multiple times daily to hospital-based laboratories of Clinical Biology. Analysis of these samples should be done shortly after sample taking, to allow quick decision making by the clinical study physician to ensure the medical safety of the study participants. For this reason, drone logistics, which is faster and more sustainable, is being tested.
The flights were performed by drone airline (operator) Helicus. They are the first in Europe to obtain permission to fly above a city and out of the pilot's field of view (i.e. fully computer-controlled) under current EU legislation. This flight will further contribute learnings towards full integrated and automated drone based medical transport.