In the contemporary times of the 21 century, success and excellence are marked by effective communication and networking. For any business, this means creating avenues for healthy, transparent, continuous, and instant communication to enable ease of access for its customers. The sequences of this strong bond result in trust and happy customers that maximize brand reliability and unique positioning in the competitive market.
This rightly targets the demands of the consumer and ensures that the customer is the king.
One such company curating this experience for its clients is Future Diagnostics. It has been gifting reliable diagnostics tests in the IVD industry and immunoassay performances for the past twenty-five years. It also contributes to cost-effective healthcare that works worldwide, providing its clients with IVD tests that make state-of-the-art medical diagnostics possible, performed with dedication, integrity, transparency, and flexibility.
The system is balanced and supervised under the leadership of its Scientific Business Executive – Mike Martens, who is also one of the founders of the company and is responsible for doing business development with established customers and potential new customers. Transitioning in the early stages of his career, he grew to be a scientist and later as an R&D manager and guided the development of several assay development projects, both manual as well as automated assays.
Mike and the team, together, are reforming diagnostic experience for their clients, devising a futuristic experience the industry is about to offer.
Let us dive in to read more about how it has been building this for the last twenty-five years!
Marking the Beginning
Future Diagnostics was founded in 1997 and is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The six people that started Future Diagnostics all came from the R&D team of a US-based diagnostics company, which had a European HQ in the Netherlands.
In early 1997, the US-based company decided to transfer all its manufacturing and R&D activities to the US. Two People from the R&D team decided to start a new company and focus on what they had expertise in, which was performing immunoassay development and offering this as a service to the In Vitro Diagnostics (IVD) industry.
This was the start of Future Diagnostics. Twenty-five years later, this is still the company’s core business, directing quality through its process to supply the sector with good and lasting products.
Providing Accurate and Research-based Services
The Future Diagnostics team are laboratory professionals that invent, create and validate in-vitro diagnostic tests and products. A service provider and a development partner to biotech companies in the global IVD medical device market.
Mike and his team understand that in the medical world, having the ability to accurately measure biomarkers is essential for diagnosing diseases. These measurements are done manually but also on automated platforms/analyzers. As per Mike’s observations, when an analyzer for IVD testing is developed, it will not automatically measure the desired biomarkers, and that’s where he says that Future Diagnostics appears.
Building on this information, he says, “Our development professionals investigate how to detect specific biomarkers, choose the right reagents and provide the necessary protocols and process documentation to make the best possible IVD products.”
Besides full assay development services for manual assays, automated assays, Point of Care assays, and Companion Diagnostics assays, they also provide services in the following areas:
- Conjugation Services
- Lyophilization Services (accusphere technology)
- Analytical Performance Studies (Verification and Validation)
- Multiplex Array Services
- Small Scale Manufacturing Services
Ensuring Transparent Client Communication
Mike shares, “Every single one of our customers will agree: by working with our proven step-by-step action plan, we control every single part of the product development process.”
They have developed four stages to reach the set goals:
- Contract and Definition
- Proof of Concept and Feasibility
- Design and verification
- Production and validation
These steps are the pillars that guide the Future Diagnostics team and keep them focused to adequately and efficiently run their processes without losing precious time and focus.
Mike mentions that a project that is brought to them is always supervised by two of their experts. He further says, “The expert responsible for the technical part of the IVD product development process is constantly observing and controlling the terms of the agreement. Our second expert controls the set time frame, deliverables and overviews the costs.”
To enhance the benefits for their clients, during the development process, they regularly report the progress of the project to them. Also, their SharePoint environment enables their clients to have a real-time view of the progress. He believes, “It is vital to have transparent communication between us and our client to keep the development process efficient thereby saving time and costs.”
Assuring Quality and Perfection
For Future Diagnostics, Mike says that, the vast experience has provided them with an elaborate knowledge of numerous analyzers and technologies. He proudly shares, “After all, we have been in business for 25 years and have seen a variety of analyzers and technologies during that time.” Their familiarity with various instruments and technologies ensures they can start quickly and efficiently without losing precious and valuable time learning.
He conveys that the company’s clients can always count on high-quality service and, consequently sophisticated validated tests for their market. Mike believes that this can only be guaranteed through the professionalism and know-how of the people and through using only the best available products.
For this, all of their procedures are monitored and recorded by the advanced quality management systems, which comply with existing legislation. He asserts, “Our quality professionals leave nothing to chance. In our opinion, perfection is our greatest asset.” This enables them to use their time as efficiently as possible while avoiding wasting valuable time correcting errors.
Despite the unpredictability of biomaterials at times, they strive for minimal waste and maximum results. He says, “IVD development by Future Diagnostics is one crucial step of many to introduce your product to the market. Our commitment is key!”
This is driven by their constant upgradation and partnership with emerging innovations.
Fostering Stronger Ties with Technological Aid
As per Mike, the company and its team have always communicated that they perform their services in an open and transparent way.
Expressing the transparent workflow, Mike explains, “In the last years we have been able to proof this even more by setting up a SharePoint environment in which our customers are able to “look over our shoulder” in respect to the activities that we perform.”
Furthermore, the Teams meetings they have set up are a reasonable alternative to face-to-face meetings and are much better compared to telephone conferences for them and their clients. Over the years, this professional commitment has also enabled them to navigate through troubled waters.
Creating Opportunities Amidst Challenges
Sharing insights on the current challenges, Mike discusses, “From a regulatory point of view IVD, companies have to show high standards for all their on-market products. This includes not only a vast variety of technical performance data but also clinical performance data based on several clinical studies.”
But, as Future Diagnostics, he informs that the organization is focused on the development of an assay that fulfills the technical requirements of its customers. He points out, “This is our focus.”
By making alliances with companies that focus on regulatory and clinical requirements, it can support its customers with a one-stop shop approach by means that Future Diagnostics is also taking the regie of the other activities, creating opportunities for themselves and their clients.
He finds it essential to spread this “happy customer” attitude to future generations of entrepreneurs.
Channeling the Journey of Young Minds
Being an expert in the field and an experienced leader in the industry, Mikes suggests that with respect to the activities that an aspiring entrepreneur performs for customers, the individual has to stay focused on that activity. He thinks that in such a way, one can improve their services every time and strive for product leadership.
To help them carve a focused path, Mike advises, “Take the comments from your customers seriously and improve your services towards them every time. Make sure that they feel themselves as a valued customer. This way, you create happy customers, and happy customers come back for your services.”
Planning for Future Growth
In Mike’s opinion, since Future Diagnostics is a company that performs its services based on its experience/knowledge, the team is very careful that they do not grow too quickly.
For him, it is very important that new staff is trained in a proper way and does get experience in the line of services as, without it, he fears that they would end up with a large staff that has a diluted knowledge of assay development, which is crucial to them since they want to achieve product leadership. He says, “This is very important to us and we monitor this carefully.”
Mike further elaborates, “Since we are also involved in Proof of Concepts of new technologies, i.e., photonic sensor platforms, we are able to expand our services and capabilities in new innovative areas that have the potency to become next-generation detection technologies in the IVD industry.”
The Founder’s Story
Mike Martens is one of the two founders of Future Diagnostics. He started his career in the IVD industry in 1991, as a scientist, developing immunoassays for the earlier mentioned US-based diagnostic company.
His initial activities were really hands-on, performing assay development work on the lab bench. The first immunoassay that he developed was an assay to measure erythropoietin (EPO). From a scientist, he became an R&D manager and guided the development of several assay development projects, both manual as well as automated assays.
When the founders started Future Diagnostics in 1997, he became the CTO of the company. After the retirement of his colleague in 2012, he became the Managing Director. Now, he is the Scientific Business Executive responsible for business development with established and potential new customers.