Welcome everyone, to what promises to be an exciting and productive meeting! For the second time, we had an opportunity to meet in person, join multiple trainings, present and discuss our projects in second SkinTERM annual meeting hosted by CUTISS AG in Zurich, Switzerland. We have an incredible team of individuals, each bringing their own unique perspective and expertise to the table. It is this diversity of thoughts and experiences that enabled us to achieve great things together. The trainings for this year’s meeting were mainly focused on starting a company, GMP and regulatory affairs.
We are Zuzana Oulehlova (ESR 12) and Mahrukh Riaz (ESR 11). We are both PhD students based in Switzerland, Zuzana is at CUTISS and Mahrukh at the University of Zurich.
Our first evening was about team building and problem-solving skills. We met together with other ESRs at the Bouldering Lounge and learnt the basics of bouldering and had a welcome dinner together.
The second day started with a warm welcome by Daniela Marino, CEO CUTISS AG, who led a tour around the GMP facility. The day continued with a lecture about GCP standards by Fabienne Hartmann-Fritsch, who is a co-founder of CUTISS. Later, Louis Palmer, global environmental adventurer, and pioneer of Solartaxi shared his life journey to achieve his childhood goal and came up with three life lessons which are; Never give up, Be creative, and Ask for Help.
Leen Limbourg, atoms & art, led a workshop about entrepreneurship talking about business model, strategies, investments and return on investments.
On the third day we focused on regulatory affairs and strategies of product development, explained by Denis Barritault, the CEO of OTR3. Later on, Franck Chiappini and Agnes Choppin (Head of Scientific projects and Chief Scientific Officer at OTR3, respectively) described the conception and development of a medical device and a drug, General Safety and Performance Requirements (GSPR) and risk management in preclinical data, biocompatibility and clinical data. At the end of the day we had session with Leen Limbourg , during which we talked about business models. Joined by Charlotte Peters and Sofie Paeps (Founder and Managing Director of HR One Group, respectively), who told us about different positions and opportunities in pharma and medial industry post-PhD.
We started the fourth day with a workshop on business planning and entrepreneurship which was conducted by Daniela Marino and Leen Limbourg. They shared their insights into the critical elements of a successful translation of an idea to a start-up. We also focused on how to pitch our idea to different audiences and had the opportunity to get feedback from Daniela and Leen. We ended the day with a social event, going to the top of Zurich, Uetliberg, where we had a traditional Swiss fondue. Afterwards we did a night walk back from Uetliberg through the winter forest with fire torches.
The fifth day of the meeting was focused on GMP and regulatory, which was led by Claudia Doberenz, and Dominique Manikowski (Head of Innovation, Development & Reg. Affairs, Junior Product Development Manager at MedSkin Solutions, respectively). We had a dinner together with the whole consortium at Be Heroes in Schlieren in the evening.
During the final day we presented and discussed our projects with Julien Giordani (EU Project offficer), Ana Leite de Almeida Monteiro de Oliveira (External reviewer of the SkinTERM project), and all PIs and Partners of SkinTERM. Besides the presentations, we also had a poster session.
We all had a great time during the Annual Meeting and learned a lot about the path of translation of an idea to product to clinics. Also the social program was brilliant, we enjoyed the time together in person very much and we also got to know and experience a bit of Swiss culture. There are multiple secondments upcoming this year, so we have more in person collaborations and meetings before we all meet again at the third and final SkinTERM Annual Meeting in 2024.
But let us be clear – this is not just any meeting. This is an opportunity for us to come together as a team, to collaborate, to challenge each other, and to push ourselves to new heights. We are here to achieve great things, to create a vision for the future, and to make our mark on the world.