Uli Broedl, VP of Medical & Regulatory Affairs at Boehringer Ingelheim Canada Exclusive interview at Converge2Xcelerate Conference (Boston, MA)
- Boehringer Ingelheim ended 2018 with net sales of EUR 17.5 billion
- Boehringer Ingelheim is the largest family owned pharmaceutical company in the world
- Boehringer Ingelheim invested 18.1% of annual net sales into R&D
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS: Uli Broedl, VP of Medical & Regulatory Affairs at Boehringer Ingelheim Canada
Ed Kim – Host, Traders Network Show: 00:00
Welcome back. We’re here today with Uli Broedl, vice president of medical and regulatory affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim Canada. Welcome, Uli. We appreciate your time. Now. Behringer Ingelheim remains unique in the field of healthcare as the largest private entity globally. I think that gives you an advantage over many public companies. In terms of your technology, in terms of your research, could you elaborate on that?
Uli Broedl – VP of Medical & Regulatory Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim Canada: 00:35
Right. So Boehringer Ingelheim is the largest fully family owned pharmaceutical company worldwide. Therefore, Boehringer Ingelheim can think in generations as opposed to quarterly financial results. And because of that, we are committed to driving innovation, driving novel solutions to serve the needs of patients and the needs of the healthcare system. And as part of that, in addition to traditional R and D innovation, we very much look into digital innovation that includes artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.
Ed Kim – Host, Traders Network Show: 01:09
That’s wonderful. It’s a terrific point you make about thinking in terms of generational solutions. Too many companies are trapped in trying to spit out the next set of financial results for their investors. Whereas Boehringer appears to be much more focused on its patient population.
Uli Broedl – VP of Medical & Regulatory Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim Canada: 01:29
That’s absolutely right. Patients are at the heart of everything we do. So we do want to improve patient outcome, patient safety and improve patient empowerment in all of our activities.
Ed Kim – Host, Traders Network Show: 01:41
That’s wonderful. Now you’ve been with Boehringer now for 10 years. What have you seen change the most in the past 10 years in terms of your focus day to day? And what you’re focused on for the next 10 years?
Uli Broedl – VP of Medical & Regulatory Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim Canada: 01:55
Over the last 10 years, I think the environment has changed dramatically. Health care costs are increasing dramatically. The level of fragmentation and silo mentality has not decreased but in parts of the world even increase further and to going forward. I think if we wanted to make sure that we improve patient outcome, patient empowerment while reducing costs, we a have to collaborate. We have to partner to find solutions between traditional and maybe nontraditional stake holders and Boehringer Ingelheim as a company is committed because we leave belief in partnering for success.
Ed Kim – Host, Traders Network Show: 02:14
Now do you find that Health Canada for example, has been easier to work with? As compared to the FDA? Many companies in the United States encounter difficulty with the FDA as a bureaucratic organization, but we hear anecdotally that Health Canada seems to be a much more collaborative organization.
Uli Broedl – VP of Medical & Regulatory Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim Canada: 02:57
I do think all of the big health care agencies, including the US FDA, Health Canada, but also EMA are advocating for the patient and they take safety but also innovation into consideration to find the right balance. Our personal experience is that agencies are very open and welcoming to novel approaches if they serve patient safety and patient empowerment.
Ed Kim – Host, Traders Network Show: 03:33
That’s wonderful. I understand that. Talk to me about your recent collaboration that you announced earlier this year with IBM Canada.
Uli Broedl – VP of Medical & Regulatory Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim Canada: 03:43
Yeah. So earlier this year teams, we have announced a first of its kind collaboration with IBM Canada to explore the value proposition of blockchain technology in clinical trials. Mind you the clinical trial ecosystem is very complex as it involves multiple stakeholders resulting in limited trust, transparency, process inefficiencies, driving costs, risk of non-compliances while at the same time the patient is not empowered. Blockchain technology has the potential to improve trust, transparency, patient empowerment and by automation of processes, patient safety while reducing costs. So we have only this year started a blockchain based clinical trial which is a sub study of irregular phase two randomized placebo controlled trial to test the exactly the value proposition that are mentioned in a blockchain based study versus a study that utilizes and leverage a standard methodology.
Ed Kim – Host, Traders Network Show: (04:53):
Right. So both in terms of time and cost. Are you seeing a real difference in that subset?
Uli Broedl – VP of Medical & Regulatory Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim Canada: 05:01
So I can’t comment on this yet. The blockchain piece has just been completed. We are in the process of analyzing the data and comparing the blockchain piece vs. the standard piece with regards to non-compliances patient safety monitoring time and cost and patient empowerment. And we hope to be able to share the data in the first half of next year.
Ed Kim – Host, Traders Network Show: 05:24
Well that’s very exciting. We look forward to that. The potential to dramatically decrease the time to get through that critical stage of clinical trials is very exciting. Most recently in the second quarter the university of British Columbia announced that they’re launching a Canada’s first blockchain and distributed ledger technology training path. Tell me about Boehringer Ingelheim’s involvement with that.
Uli Broedl – VP of Medical & Regulatory Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim Canada: 05:51
So Boehringer Ingelheim, as I have alluded to, believes in partnering success with traditional stakeholders, academia, nontraditional stakeholders, including various tech companies because we believe only in this amalgamation of different opinions, diversity drives truly innovation to serve the needs of patients and to healthcare system. Now, the university of British Columbia put forward the first blockchain based credit student training path and UBC faculty will teach approximately 140 students over the next three years in the areas of interest that includes indigenous issues, clean energy, regulatory technologies and healthcare. And we are excited to be part of this collaboration to help foster the next generation of innovators of scientists, researchers that feel comfortable driving innovation at the intersection of digital technology and healthcare industry.
Ed Kim – Host, Traders Network Show: 06:18
It’s very exciting. Uli Broedl, VP medical and regulatory affairs Boehringer Ingelheim Canada. Thank you for joining us.
Uli Broedl – VP of Medical & Regulatory Affairs, Boehringer Ingelheim Canada: 07:04
Thank you so much. It was my pleasure.