Avicenna Newsletter Summer 2015
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Last Chance to Contribute to the Avicenna Roadmap

The final draft of the Avicenna project’s Roadmap, ‘In Silico Clinical Trials: How Computer Simulation Will Transform The Biomedical Industry’, was released to the project experts and to the public prior to Avicenna’s fifth and final event in Barcelona on the 4th-5th June 2015.

The Roadmap describes the route by which in silico techniques of computer simulation will be introduced into clinical trials, the studies that are routinely conducted to establish the safety and efficacy of new medical interventions. The Roadmap will summarise all the discussions and views gathered during the Avicenna project’s different events, and will be used by the European Commission as a guide for future investments.

If you would like to contribute to the Roadmap, please download the document and send editing suggestions back to info@avicenna-isct.org, with tracked changes, before 10th August 2015.


The Future of Avicenna - The Avicenna Alliance

A key question of the concluding Avicenna event in Barcelona was – what next? In order to ensure that the sterling work done by all those who have contributed and that the roadmap is implemented, and the in silico community represented, VPH Institute Director Adriano Henney presented the goals of the new Association for Predictive Medicine. The full presentation can be downloaded here.

The Association for Predictive Medicine will be an association of industry and research organisations that have a commercial or research interest in in silico medicine. By working with members and policy makers to identify bottlenecks to in silico research and marketing of in silico products, the Avicenna Alliance will establish itself as the go-to organisation for all things related to in silico medicine in the EU policy environment.

Given the overwhelming interest in establishing a pre-competitive organisation, a small extemporary board is being established to find agreement on key issues such as governance model, the role of the VPH Institute within the Association and activities for 2016.

A new website is being developed as a platform for the Association’s activities, and outreach to interested parties is underway to show the benefits of Membership. 

Those industries that are currently engaged with in silico technologies are faced with a multitude of regulatory and policy obstacles and should look to the Avicenna Alliance for solutions.

Producers of medicinal products have an interest in ensuring the validation of in silico models to mitigate the continuous rise in cost of research into new products, in particular in toxicology.

The Cosmetics industry, already reeling as a result of a ban on animal testing for cosmetic purposes, remains under siege by the “stop vivisection” campaign underway at EU level and is desperately looking to alternatives ways of proving the safety of their products.

Software industries using in silico models need to ensure that the Data Protection Regulation does not impede their required access to large-scale data sets for health purposes.

The medical devices industry has suffered major public-perception and policy set backs as a result of the medical devices regulation. With lines between software, applications and medical devices increasingly blurred, the medtech industry requires new resources to track these developments.

A major conversation is about to begin on in silico policy at EU level. The Association for Predictive Medicine intends not just to  respond to policy on in silico medicine, but aims to influence policy from the very beginning as it is being created.

For those who may be interested in joining the Avicenna Alliance and having a seat at the table, email Adriano Henney at director@vph-institute.org

Avicenna Event 5 Barcelona

Event 5 Wrap-Up

Avicenna’s fifth and final event was hosted in Barcelona by the Agency for Health Quality and Assessment of Catalonia (AQuAS) on the 4th and 5th June 2015, bringing the Avicenna project into its final phase as it finishes the Roadmap before the project deadline at the end of September.

The event gathered around 100 experts to review the final draft of the Roadmap ‘In Silico Clinical Trials: How Computer Simulation Will Transform The Biomedical Industry’, formulate the way forward for in silico Clinical Trials – in the form of the Avicenna Alliance, and hear some excellent talks from a superb line up of speakers from excellent institutions:

  • Alistair McGuire, London School of Economics, UK
  • Markus Reiterer, Medtronic PLC, USA
  • Robert Hester, University of Mississippi Medical Centre, USA
  • Claudia Mazzà, Insigneo Institute, UK
  • Matthieu De Beule, FEops bvba, Belgium
  • Mona Nasser, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, UK
  • Viatcheslav Gurev, IBM TJ Watson Research Center, USA
  • Matt Gross, SAS, USA
  • Alphonso Bueno, University of Oxford, UK
  • Luca Cristofolini, University of Bologna, Italy
  • Edwin Morley-Fletcher, Lynkeus, Italy
  • Marco Viceconti, Insigneo Institute, UK
  • Adriano Henney, VPH Institute, Belgium
  • James Kennedy, Rohde Public Policy, Belgium

Attendees also contributed to ‘breakout sessions’ on a variety of key topics affecting in silico medicine: model credibility; reducing, refining and partially replacing clinical trials; the physiological envelope and the deployment envelope, individual-based population models; policy and governance frameworks for data sharing; and alternative IPR models for biomedical industry.

The event also marked the launch of the Avicenna Alliance – the first partnership of pharmaceutical industrialists, medical device manufacturers, academic researchers and regulatory experts hoping to revolutionise the healthcare industry through the use of computer simulation.

You can find information on our previous events on the Avicenna Website:


This Quarter's News

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in silico Clinical Trials featured on the front page of Wikipedia

On the 26th June, 2015 in silico clinical trials featured on the front page of Wikipedia, the 7th most visited website in the world.

Big data for personalised healthcare – Avicenna members’ highly ranked paper

Insigneo members published a paper ‘Big data, big knowledge: big data for personalised healthcare‘ which was the second most frequently downloaded article from the IEEE Journal of Biomedical and Health Informatics in March 2015, third most popular in April 2015, and continues to be one of the most popular papers in the journal.

Avicenna Invited to Innovations in Healthcare Conference 2015

Avicenna will be featured on the Insigneo stand at the Innovations in Healthcare Conference 2015, due to be held on the 13th July in the Octagon Centre at the University of Sheffield.

Marco Viceconti presents Avicenna at ‘BMES-FDA 2015 Frontiers in Medical Devices Conference: Innovations in Modelling and Simulation’

Professor Viceconti was featured as a keynote speaker at the BMES-FDA 2015 Frontiers in Medical Devices Conference: Innovations in Modelling and Simulation, held in Washington DC May 18-20. The keynote presentation was a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness for the Avicenna Roadmap, and the importance of in silico medicine in general.

Re-Purposing Cancer Drugs with in silico Technology

Researchers from IMIM Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute and Universitat Pompeu Fabra have used sequence data from nearly 7000 cancerous tumours, found in The Cancer Genome Atlas, to discover numerous re-purposing opportunities for existing drugs.

in silico Clinical Trials in action

SimOmics, a spin-off company from the University of York, is developing in silico Clinical Trials software to inform decisions on trial design and predict long-term effects of drugs and healthcare products in a bid to eliminate the need for animal and patient trials, enabling manufacturers to focus on products most likely to succeed.


An archive of previous newsletters can be found on the Avicenna Website.


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