Interview MedtecLIVE 2024

Interview with Manfred Augstein

An interview of our managing director Manfred Augstein which he gave to microTEC Südwest e.V.. velixX GmbH has been a member of the microTEC Südwest Cluster since its foundation.

microTEC Südwest: Hello, Mr. Augstein, please introduce yourself briefly to our readers.

 

Manfred Augstein: My name is Manfred Augstein, I am the Managing Director of velixX GmbH. We have been a member of microTEC Südwest since 2005, initially as a representative of Roche Diagnostics GmbH and since 2010 with velixX GmbH.

After studying mechanical engineering in Karlsruhe and gaining my first experience in industrial automation in 1990, I joined Boehringer Mannheim in the IvD development department.

I have many years of experience in the development of in-vitro diagnostic systems with specialization in the field of microfluidics and the system interface to the evaluation device.

With the founding of velixX GmbH, I switched to independent consulting and development support. Since then, as a small but powerful team, we have been offering high-quality and independent services for the optimal development and manufacture of IVD products.

 

microTEC Südwest: How did you first come into contact with microTEC Südwest?

 

Manfred Augstein: In 2005, as head of the technology development department at Roche Diagnostics, I was entrusted with the development of a micro-fluidic disk for a new point of care system. At that time, Roche Diagnostic was already a member and supporter of the microTec Südwest Cluster. As part of my responsibilities and as a representative of Roche, contacts with the cluster have increased significantly and various collaborations have been established with the associated institutes and companies.

 

microTEC Südwest: Could you please introduce your company? What do you do, who are your customers?

 

Manfred Augstein: velixX is a development service provider in medical technology with a focus on in-vitro diagnostics and point-of-care devices.

Our customers are medical technology manufacturers, from small start-ups to large corporations, whom we help to turn their new ideas into a marketable project. We are first and foremost consultants, but we can also implement our own recommendations ourselves if desired. In this respect, in addition to consulting assignments, we also carry out feasibility studies and take on the development of product parts through to complete development, which we then realize with the help of our extensive network of partners.

 

microTEC Südwest: Which activities in the microTEC Südwest network are particularly valuable to you and why?

Manfred Augstein: The whole company is characterized by the idea of networking. For larger projects, we always select the experts from our network who can best carry out the project. This saves us overhead costs and increases the quality of development. The microTec Cluster as a network is very important for us in terms of finding development partners and making contacts. A research project that we are currently working on is the result of our collaboration with other partners in the microTEC Cluster and illustrates the concrete benefits that the microTEC network brings us.

 

microTEC Südwest: What importance do you attach to our specialist groups?

 

Manfred Augstein: Our specialist group is an excellent platform for exchanging ideas and discussing solutions and ideas across disciplines and companies. This exchange and getting to know each other personally is incredibly valuable.

Finding out what expertise there is in our cluster and what innovations are currently emerging is the basis for fruitful collaboration.

For me personally, the specialist group is an important basis for technical and human exchange.

 

microTEC Südwest: What else would you like to see from microTEC Südwest?

 

Manfred Augstein: I can hardly think of anything - the cluster is already doing a great job.

microTEC Südwest: Now a few more questions about you as a person. What fascinates you about your area of expertise/your range of tasks at VelixX GmbH?

 

Manfred Augstein: The area of in-vitro diagnostics and medical technology is an incredibly exciting field in which many different areas and disciplines come together. I am therefore interested in the interfaces between these systems. It is always exciting to see the example of the disposable, i.e. the plastic part that is used once for the analysis. This is where most of the functions come together: The sample, the plastic material itself, the interfaces to the device, the requirements of the process, the production in high quantities. That's where it often gets really tricky and solving these challenges for customers with velixX GmbH is what makes it so exciting for me.

microTEC Südwest: Where do you prefer to be in Mannheim?

 

Manfred Augstein: Mannheim offers a very varied living environment, and although I lived in the suburbs for a long time, I have now become a city center person. From ice cream parlors to wine bars, the National Theater, the Kunsthalle, lots of sports and music events - it's hard to say where I like to be the most.

 

microTEC Südwest: Let's take a look into the future together. What do you think will have changed remarkably in, say, 50 years? Do you have a vision?

Manfred Augstein: My guess is that the next 50 years will bring major fundamental changes. The climate will change and present us with completely new challenges and the scarcity of resources will reach a new dimension.

This will require some paradigm shifts and new ways of thinking. The energy industry and mobility will experience the biggest changes and undergo massive transformation. Medicine will rise into new dimensions, driven primarily by artificial intelligence and increasing robotics.

 

microTEC Südwest: Which future topics do you think will be particularly important this year?

 

Manfred Augstein: One topic that is being hotly debated anyway is, of course, artificial intelligence and machine learning, which is also making inroads into medical technology. This will play a major role, particularly in the automatic evaluation of imaging procedures, but also for more precise analysis and prediction, for example of critical conditions in intensive care patients.

In diagnostics, we are also seeing many efforts in the direction of "liquid biopsy", i.e. faster diagnostics from blood samples instead of tissue samples. In connection with this, the trend in diagnostics is also moving towards integrated devices in which individual samples can be analyzed directly at the point of care, e.g. in hospitals or doctors' surgeries.

microTEC Südwest: Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers?

Manfred Augstein: We have a fantastic base of knowledge and skills today, let's use them creatively and actively shape our future. Intelligent solutions should gain the upper hand again!

 

microTEC Südwest: Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions. We wish you a good time and much success.