Laura Padierna
Director of the Biological Applications Business Unit
View from the Top

Fostering Innovation Through Training

Fri, 07/26/2019 - 13:34

Q: What makes LEI the ideal partner for a company that wants to launch a product and needs to conduct specialized studies?
A: Our company has the ability to adapt its services to cover the necessities of the client. We add value through our logistics infrastructure, experience and knowledge of international and national norms. We always put our client at the center of our processes. An important characteristic of our company is that we have a highly skilled team with expertise in diverse fields.
Q: LEI was created to offer technological solutions to pharmaceutical and biotechnical companies. What are the main challenges these companies encounter in Mexico?
A: An important challenge is to unify the sector and have a stronger voice to express the needs of the sector to relevant authorities. The conflicts of interest that exist among decision-making entities also need to be resolved. However, we are pleased to see that COFEPRIS is taking action in this area. Conversely, there are many companies in Mexico that are not making significant investments or taking risks to develop new products, which are also aggravated by conflicts of interest. There needs to be an accurate analysis of how the T-MEC negotiations are going to affect the manufacturing of generic medications and biocomparables; for example, in the area of patent expiration of innovative medications.
Q: What is LEI’s most recent success story in Mexico?
A: In 2017, after the earthquake in Mexico City, there was an urgent need for a medication used to treat  tetanus. At the time, trials were being carried out on animals. Given the urgency, we developed a method that was able to compare the medication against a standard to determine its effectiveness. The development and validation were reached in a shorter period than usually required to complete animal testing, allowing the medication to reach those affected by the earthquake.
Q: What actions is LEI taking to strengthen the knowledge of its researchers and other professionals within its team?
A: LEI has a rigorous training program that includes formal exchanges with universities to study master’s or doctorate degrees. At the same time, every leader in a particular field will choose the areas that require further training to maintain the latest standards. We also conduct impact studies in collaboration with universities, specifically because we value the asset of scientific understanding from a business point of view. Those who participate in these programs attend conferences, collaborate on the publication of articles and acquire corresponding degrees. We always encourage our employees to participate in courses, events and conferences in their respective fields to ensure that they stay up to date with the latest developments. One of our strengths is how we translate this new knowledge into the further improvement of our services and the creation of new services.
Q: Which recent developments in the field of pharmaceutics and biotechnology have presented the most opportunities for LEI?
A:  One of the products of our collaboration with universities and companies was a cellular therapy for the treatment of laminitis in horses. There is no effective treatment for this disease, other than palliative medications that temporarily ease the symptoms. Our proposal is a therapy that lessens the symptoms by about 80 percent. With three applications, the horse can return to an active life without suffering pain. With the help of partner suppliers, the proposal was developed by Mexican scientists who used our installations to optimize it.  
Q: What are the main international trends that are changing the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industry?
A: There are advanced therapies including gene therapy, cellular therapy, tissue engineering and combinations of these. These are more personalized and do not have as many secondary adverse effects as traditional treatments. In the area of development and quality control of cosmetics, medical devices and medications, we are seeing the substitution of animal testing with in vitro methods. We are looking at increasing the use of organoids for the testing of medications that are in development.