Romain Cazavan, CEO of Medexprim, spoke with Aïssa Khelifa for DSIH, the French professional magazine devoted to Health IT. The interview was published on December 1, 2020 (read the original French version here).
AKH: Hello Romain, what was the origin of Medexprim?
RCA: Medexprim is a spin-off from the CHU de Toulouse. Karine had observed within the CHU the great difficulty radiologists have in extracting qualified data and correlating it with clinical data. Medexprim was born from the idea that it was possible to industrialize this extraction process by paying particular attention to the quality of the data, in order to optimize its use. For 5 years, the founding line has remained unchanged: enable the reliable extraction of multiple data to serve clinical research.
AKH: Has COVID-19 changed this strategy?
RCA: On the contrary, the health crisis has highlighted the urgent need for the digitalization of clinical research using Real-World Data. One of the problems of pharmaceutical research is to not have expertise in this type of data or easy access to hospital data. Today, Medexprim is participating in two H2020 European projects, Primage and ChAImeleon, of which Medexprim is the global technical coordinator. Of course, those projects were launched before COVID and while they do not directly concern COVID, they are becoming increasingly important now. In fact, those two projects are currently creating – at European level, with 20 university hospital centers – datalakes that can identify new therapeutic targets and imaging markers.
AKH: Romain, in real life, what is a datalake?
RCA: It is a federative place for the storage of anonymized data from multiple sources, both in nature and in origin. They are numerous (imaging, contextual clinical data from patient files, biology, anapath and sometimes genomics) and qualified by Medexprim and come, in our H2020 projects, from all over Europe. It should also be noted that a datalake is a living body, constantly evolving, fed with both retrospective and prospective data. To simplify, it is Real- World Data structured for clinical research.
AKH: This model must be of interest to the pharmaceutical industry?
RCA: Yes, Medexprim is an accelerator of hospital clinical research and a formidable tool for leveraging data from our partner hospitals. In those hospitals, we are implementing the Medexprim Suite™, which anonymizes the data and standardizes its quality. What makes our strength is our universality, our ability to feed multicentric datalakes, and to aggregate images and clinical data. For example, by bringing together 25 CHUs with which we work, we have been able to structure data around the main types of cancer at European level. There are already about ten collaborations between partner hospitals and the pharmaceutical industry.
AKH: What are the hospitals with which Medexprim works?
RCA: It is difficult to name them all. In France, we have a historic cooperation in imaging with the Nîmes CHU, as well as with Imperial College in London. In Spain with HULAFE, the CHU of Valence, in Italy, with the CHU of Pisa, and very soon in Germany with the Charité in Berlin. We are also very open to external collaborations, for instance with companies like Sophia Genetics or with French radiology professional structures. We also work with Quibim and Median, companies specializing in imaging biomarkers.
AKH: In conclusion, what is Medexprim, for today and tomorrow?
RCA: Today, Medexprim is 20 people, in France, Great Britain and the USA. The company is financially balanced, which is worth noting. We are preparing a fundraising in the first quarter of 2021, which will allow us to strengthen our direct commercial structure in the USA and in Europe.