Managing scientific, technical and regulatory innovation in regulated bioanalysis: a discussion paper from the European Bioanalysis Forum

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On 12–13 June 2012, the European Bioanalysis Forum hosted its third Focus Meeting in Brussels (Belgium). At the meeting, a panel discussion was held on the hurdles that the bioanalytical community encounters when adopting new technologies or managing regulated bioanalysis expectations around emerging technologies. Over the last few years, the industry has seen many new technologies maturing. As they became available, the bioanalytical scientist has observed that implementing these technologies in the regulated environment has become increasingly challenging. For one, scientific developments and regulatory expectations may not go hand in hand. At the same time, the pharmaceutical industry has become increasingly risk averse in their response to these real or perceived higher expectations in regulated bioanalysis. As a downstream consequence, the potential result of overinterpretation of guidance or occasional widespread and premature implementation of responses to health authority inspections, industry may be contributing significantly to raising the bar on some processes related to day-to-day practices in the bioanalytical laboratory. Last but not least, with the community being satisfied with the performance of the current tools, potential complacency can be observed in the regulated bioanalytical community because existing technologies, such as LC–MS/MS and ligand-binding assays, have served and still are serving them extremely well. Hence, the question ‘what's next after LC–MS/MS or ELISA?’ is not resonating with many scientists as pertinently compared with ‘What's next after RIA, GC or LC–UV?’, which was the key question in the 1990s, certainly in the context of an increasing effort needed to validate these new tools. With this article, the European Bioanalysis Forum aims to stimulate an open dialogue between all stakeholders in regulated bioanalysis to positively influence how we balance science, process and regulations in day-to-day work. This discussion should facilitate the evaluation and the subsequent implementation of innovative techniques for the benefit of the patient, while stimulating our community to raise the bar on added-value science, but at the same time removing the bar on processes with limited or no added value.

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