The process of drug development is generally a complex and highly regulated area of the healthcare industry. Therefore, it is important to work with someone who has a thorough understanding of the process, combined with a depth of therapeutic expertise to get your new products and treatments out into the market.
Xcene Research is one such contract research organization (CRO), with a focus on providing high-quality services, with a special focus on emerging markets across Sub-Saharan Africa. The company offers comprehensive support to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies, as well as academic research institutions, across the region.
Xcene Research understands the unique challenges associated with clinical research in Africa, and thus, it is dedicated to overcoming them. By leveraging its deep knowledge of the local regulatory landscape and cultural sensitivities, the company helps its clients navigate the clinical development process smoothly and efficiently.
The company aligns its operations with the core value of trust. This is reflected through its standards of on-time performance, delivery of uncompromising quality, complete visibility into project status and optimal communication to manage client goals. As a result, it has become a trusted partner for clinical research in Africa and is making a significant impact in the industry.
In an interview with Insights Care, Adebukunola Telufusi, the Executive Director explains how through its work, the company is helping to advance medical knowledge, improve access to high-quality medical care, and enhance the healthcare landscape in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.
Following are the excerpts from the interview:
Please brief our audience about the company. What led to its inception?
Xcene Research is an indigenous African Contract Research Organization (CRO) bringing clinical trials to a more diverse population in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a leading CRO, we provide full-service support to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device companies, as well as academic research institutions across Sub- Saharan Africa.
With a diverse population and bearing the greatest disease burden in the world, the African continent can provide many of the conditions optimal for carrying out clinical trials. Xcene Research sees the opportunity to breach the gap in healthcare and is bringing more clinical trials to an expansive genetically diverse population and in turn, improving interventions for Africans.
Can you elaborate upon the core values on which the company is built and what is its mission?
Xcene’s core values revolve around five distinct principles guiding all our processes, systems, and culture. These are Ethics, Innovation, Quality, Progress, and Partnership. We are dedicated to building strategic partnerships across the globe as we look to improve the health system across sub-Saharan Africa and when it comes to global health, we believe that innovation and collaboration are the keys to progress.
Our mission is to be a catalyst for accelerated access to life-saving treatments which speaks to our dedication to building strategic partnerships across the globe with the highest standards of delivery as we look to improve global health issues across Sub-Sahara Africa.
Tell us more about the services that make your company stand out from the competition.
Xcene Research has extensive relationships with leading pharmaceutical and biotechnological companies, regulators, and medical centers as well as experienced investigators across Sub-Sahara Africa, Europe and the USA. This gives us unparalleled access to patients, patient data, and the expertise and perspective of physicians who are leaders in their field. Our clinical research professionals identify, translate, and answer complex questions while working with sponsors to advance the practice and the future of medicine. All studies conducted by Xcene Research are in-line with global regulations and ICH-GCP standards.
Key areas of our services cut across:
Site Startup, Clinical Trial Monitoring, Site Intelligence & Activation, Site Training, Data Management, Project Management, IRB Submission, Patient Recruitment, Regulatory Development, Central Laboratory, Clinical Supplies, Quality & Compliance, Medical & Safety Management.
What is your opinion on healthcare providers’ aligning their offerings with newer technological developments, especially when it comes to catering to the dynamic needs of the healthcare space?
We consider technological developments and capabilities a path to fundamentally transform healthcare systems and these priorities will continue to evolve. It is pertinent to align with new developments because the impact of technological transformation will be felt across all aspects of health care, enabling easier access to care, improving quality, and decreasing the cost of care.
Consumers can connect quickly and conveniently with their preferred provider. In addition to stronger patient relationships, such innovations can also help improve operational and financial efficiencies and bring health systems’ long-term strategies into reality.
What advice would you like to give to budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts aspiring to venture into the healthcare niche?
Zeal, focus, be informed and be impact driven. It is essential that aspiring budding entrepreneurs gain a good understanding of what medical entrepreneurship implies and equip themselves with the know-how and skills they need to thrive in this environment.
Networking and meeting the right people can help expand their network while reconciling social purpose and profit should be considered in their business operations.
There is always room for improvement, so staying in the know and bringing innovation to the table will propel them on the path to success.
How do you envision scaling the company’s services and operations in 2023 and beyond?
We do foresee Xcene being the number one healthcare provider in Africa. In the pipeline of services to extend our offerings, is the Xcene Laboratory Diagnostics (XLD) which would be launched in Q4 of 2023. It is one of its kind to complement clinical trials sample analysis conducted by Xcene research across sub-Sahara Africa and will serve as a central Laboratory for clinical trials for other CROs and healthcare institutions across Africa for analysis.
The Xcene Research Academy (XRA) to be launched in Q3 of 2023 will further add capacity to bridge the gap in clinical research and provide technical and industry knowledge to Africa’s next generation of researchers.
The Impact Africa Summit (IAS), which is a brainchild of Xcene Research, was inaugurated in 2020 to build sustainable capacity for clinical research through partnerships in Africa. The summit has brought together 1500+ attendees, 7 Sub-Saharan Regulators, 50+ speakers and 14 workshops, forums, and scientific symposiums.
We aim to continue to work on our processes and finetune them to stand as the go-to CRO across Africa.
Adebukunola Telufusi in Brief
Adebukunola Telufusi started as the Founder of Xcene Research and has 15 years of experience in enabling community development and social development goals in Africa. Her career spans working with top-ten global pharmaceutical companies and CROs as a consultant and project manager with experience in regulatory requirements regarding the conduct of clinical trials in Sub-Sahara Africa and the US. Her therapeutic experience spans from Phase I through Phase IV trials in Hematology, pediatrics, cardiovascular disease, CNS, diabetes, oncology, neurology, medical devices, vaccines, and women’s health.
Adebukunola put together a team that is the core foundation of Xcene Research. Currently, in its 8th year, the company has grown exponentially, and studies have been brought to Africa with a diversity-first mindset. “Xcene focuses on the following 21 therapeutic areas including – Hematology, Cardiovascular, Nephrology, Pediatrics, Oncology, Infectious disease and Sickle cell disease which is our biggest portfolio. Our Sub-Sahara footprints across 6 active sites including Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya,” says Adebukunola.
Buki, as she is fondly called and Xcene are intertwined, and both have had a fulfilling journey to bring in medications and grant patients access to healthcare. Innovation and collaboration are the company’s watchwords with the aim of becoming an impactful healthcare solution provider to Africa.