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Meet our new partner TRIUM Clinical Consulting: interview with Managing Director Christof Debèfve

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Recently, we announced that Quality by Design and TRIUM Clinical Consulting have joined forces to create an end-to-end offering for the lifecycle of medical products and therapies. A giant leap forward in the growth, expansion and development of both companies. Are you curious as to why TRIUM is the ideal clinical partner in the field of medical devices and ATMP-related projects? Or why QbD and TRIUM are such a good match? We were happy to interview Christof Debèfve, Managing Director at TRIUM and ask him about all the ins and outs of the partnership.

CROs versus consultancy companies

When it comes to TRIUM’s business, it’s important to highlight that one often distinguishes two types of companies in clinical research. Christof: “First of all, the Contract Research Organizations (CROs), where companies can outsource their activities in the field of clinical research. These companies mostly follow a full-service model. This means they offer all the required solutions and services to set up, execute and finalize clinical trials from start to finish. Secondly, you have the consultancy agencies. They provide companies with employees for clinical research activities, their clients are often larger companies that want to have a certain percentage of their workforce working in consultancy.”

Clinical solution provider

TRIUM is both a CRO and a provider of consultancy solutions, hence Christof prefers the term ‘clinical solution provider’. “We offer a large portfolio of solutions related to clinical research, from strategic to operational services. In our services, we always focus on the requirements and needs of the customer. It’s important to listen and offer well thought-out, tailor-made solutions. Some clients are looking for a CRO but then it turns out they really would be served best with a consultancy solution. At TRIUM, we have the solutions and experts to help clients in the best way possible.”

Medical devices and ATMPs

The majority of those clients is active in the medical devices industry. “However, we are also investing significantly in the biotech sector, including advanced therapy medicinal products (ATMPs) and cell and gene therapy. But around 75 percent of our clients consists of medical device manufacturers. When they bring new products onto the market, it’s important to perform the right clinical trials and collect the required clinical data that shows that the product is safe and that it works like it should. Although the process to bring products onto the market is generally the same, the regulatory aspects can still vary significantly per country or region. At TRIUM we have experience in all dominant markets, including Europe, USA, LATAM and APAC.”

Consultancy, training and clinical quality solutions

In addition to its CRO services, TRIUM also offers consultancy solutions. It selects the right clinical research professional for clients, on a temporary or more permanent basis. And that’s not quite the whole story. Christof: “Training services are also part of our portfolio. We have a yearly training calendar with training on regulations, guidelines and more, for clients and freelance consultants. And we develop specific clinical research training programs for clients.” Last but not least, TRIUM offers clinical quality services, such as audit services, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), set up and maintenance of clinical Quality Management Systems (QMS) and ICH-GCP, ISO and Good Documentation Practices. “The regulatory aspect is the point where TRIUM’s and QbD’s services meet. To be honest, I see this as an advantage. When it comes to more complex products, ensuring their quality, safety and efficiency is an extremely difficult task. Fortunately, TRIUM and QbD have both been specialized in this field for years, so we can reinforce each other in the best possible way. And that’s a big advantage for our customers; we can support them during the whole product lifecycle, from idea to patient.”

It all starts with people

It’s clear that together, TRIUM and QbD are able to create an end-to-end offering for clients in medical devices and ATMPs. But why are the two companies such a great match when it comes to their ‘company DNA’? Christof: “To explain that, I first have to dive into TRIUM’s history a little bit deeper. When Jan, Magdaleen and I founded TRIUM, all three of us had worked at multinationals before. We thought these companies were a little bit too rigid and heavy in their processes. We believed that we were able to support clients in a more pragmatic way with qualitative services.”

“However, as a service provider, you need to realize that most of your activities are done by people; your employees are your most important resource. So, if we wanted to deliver qualitative services, we needed to come up with a clear philosophy about why people would want to work for us. It became one of the focus points of our business. In short, we believe that, in addition to wanting a good salary, people just want to work for a great company. A company in which respect, appreciation and a human atmosphere are key. It’s important that employees like to go to work every day. That’s our philosophy, and it perfectly fits the QbD values of joy, partnership, extra mile and getting things done. That’s why I believe we are such a perfect match.”

A great future ahead

Although TRIUM joins the QbD Group, there will be no large changes for its team, Christof explains. “The TRIUM office for example, will remain. It’s a win-win partnership, for our companies, the industry and our people. I believe we will be able to offer our colleagues an even brighter future and more growth perspective with this partnership.” Speaking of the future… what are Christof’s plans? “At the moment, our main goal is to guarantee an optimal integration between our two companies, to create a stable, growing partnership. The world around us is more volatile and dynamic than ever. For your company to be future-proof, it’s important to continuously reinvent yourself. A strong company with colleagues who want to go forward is key in this matter. And that’s what QbD and TRIUM are building together.”

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