MedtecLIVE with T4M and MedtecSUMMIT Newsroom
MedtecLIVE with T4M: velixX GmbH is a development company of the "next generation" in medical technology - what does that mean and which topics are relevant?
Manfred Augstein: We are management consultants, technology consultants, and also technology developers. We advise on questions of technical feasibility, business plans and also on basic market positioning. One particular point of focus is regulatory affairs concerning the new IVDR or the MDR. In the process, customers are advised and supported so that they get everything they need on the table. In addition, sustainability also plays a role: how to minimise waste and reduce the carbon footprint in new products, e.g. by using alternative materials or through miniaturisation - we actively support this process.
MedtecLIVE with T4M: Who are your customers? Start-ups, global players or medium-sized companies?
Manfred Augstein: We cover a broad spectrum, from start-ups to multinationals. We do initial consultations on technical implementability, check feasibility, develop products, even for global players who need support in certain niches. But we always focus on where the biggest technical problems or challenges can be found.
MedtecLIVE with T4M: velixX GmbH is a management consultant, technology consultant and technology developer. What does that involve?
Manfred Augstein: Yes, there is a quite a bit involved, and it is hardly possible to fulfil all this as a single company. We see ourselves more as a spider in a web. Our own focus is on microsystems and microfluidic parts. For everything that goes beyond that, we have a large network of competent partners who can, for example, implement serial production or develop software. With this network, we can quickly bring together very flexible teams. We do a system analysis, a problem analysis and offer an optimised solution concept.
MedtecLIVE with T4M: What does such a consulting process look like?
Manfred Augstein: The typical case is like a project we have just started. The company has a few inventors who have taken out a patent on paper for an idea. They then come to us and say: 'Can you take a look at whether this is even possible?' And then the project starts with a requirements analysis: 'what should the product be able to do, what are the general conditions and so on'. Then the functional structure is analysed, followed by one or two workshops to analyse the critical points. A technical analysis follows; is there already data, what needs to be done next? This is followed by detailed planning of the steps needed to find the best solution.
That leaves us with concepts for prototypes which are implemented with the appropriate partners in the network. In working with us, customers can easily scale how comprehensively we take care of the project. They can leave it entirely in our hands and say I only want to see the end product, or they can hand over partial tasks to us. That is very flexible and very individual. Sometimes even large corporations come to us with a product that is almost finished but still needs some fine-tuning. Other customers say, 'Here's our idea, our wish, go for it'. We always focus on what the customer wants or needs.
MedtecLIVE with T4M: Why medical technology? What makes this sector so exciting for management consultants?
Manfred Augstein: This industry is the most exciting of all because it really does bring immense benefits to people and without technology, modern medicine would be unthinkable. On the other hand, it is super exciting technologically, because many disciplines come together: medicine, biochemical processes, organic and medical materials, optics, and microsystem solutions. Many elements have to merge, which makes the systemic interfaces in particular very challenging - that's exactly where we advise.
MedtecLIVE with T4M: What makes your company unique?
Manfred Augstein: The fact that with our small team we can tackle complexities for which other companies need very large and complex organisations. We have broad knowledge, consulting skills, and competent partners. We prefer to work on projects with many functions in the smallest dimensions - that is our speciality. We take very different perspectives, work efficiently, have open, good people who are also wired to think creatively and in a complex way. That is a learning from my many years of professional experience.
MedtecLIVE with T4M: What is the benefit for society?
Manfred Augstein: As a rule, the products we develop help with faster or better diagnosis, especially in our focus area, point-of-care diagnostics. We want to increase reliability and quality, and this is always linked to the goal of producing less waste, making parts smaller and developing more sustainable products.
MedtecLIVE with T4M: What about the market - how will it develop?
Manfred Augstein: There is a lot of potential in this market because medical technology is developing rapidly. The last two years in particular have shown that we have to become even more agile and much faster in order to be able to deal with something like pandemics more efficiently. But most of the time we face more legal problems than technical ones. There is also a need to catch up, for example in digitalisation or in optimising the interfaces between diagnosis and therapy. We have just come through a period in which we had to wait a year until sufficient COVID-19 rapid tests were available. We can’t let something like that happen again.
MedtecLIVE with T4M: One last question: What is your favourite project?
Manfred Augstein: My favourite projects concern the miniaturisation and acceleration of rapid diagnostics. We have a project right now to quickly detect methanol poisoning. This is given far too little focus in the world: the ability to help quickly on the spot, with little effort. Sure, it could be that this also requires a novel approach. But that's what makes it my favourite project right now.