In August 2019, global drug delivery leader Nemera acquired top innovation services firm Insight Product Development. Today, Nemera’s Insight Innovation Center offers end-to-end development services from early to late-stage with design research, user experience design, engineering, and human factors. We are the ultimate partner for combination product selection, design, and commercialization!
A year has passed since the acquisition and we’re here with our two leaders Doug Brewer and Dimitri Grasswill to understand what the primary reasons for the acquisition were and what the positive impacts have been on Insight Innovation Center and Nemera.
Q1: How would you describe this year long journey overall?
Dimitri: For years the Innovation Center at Nemera has been a very well established resource for our customers. We excel in advanced development, testing and lab services, and regulatory support of drug delivery systems, for both our customers and our own proprietary products. We had been looking for a design consulting firm that could add more front end innovation capabilities such as design research and human factors. One that could also give us a more significant presence in North America to better serve our customer base.
Insight Chicago was the perfect choice to fill these goals. So after several months of conversations and due diligence on both sides, we acquired Insight a year ago. The integration process went very smoothly and was a fairly quick effort. We believe that this is largely based on that fact that both companies had a very well aligned long-term vision and complementary capabilities that were a perfect fit for each other. Also, both companies are very patient-focused, in developing drug delivery solutions that put patients first and improve lives.
Doug: From Insight’s perspective, Nemera was the perfect complement by adding significant experience in advanced development and electronics capabilities focused on connectivity. Not to mention, a global manufacturing footprint to better support our clients.
Together the two innovation center locations have created a much stronger and unified set of offerings. Both are benefitting from a having a broader global presence as well as an increased headcount of 150 innovation-focused professionals. We now operate as one innovation resource for all of Nemera’s customers under the name Insight Innovation Center. The Insight name itself is very significant because we believe that “insight” is what drives innovation. Generating insights around patient needs and applying them to the design process ensures that innovations are always patient-focused.
It has been a very positive experience with an exceptional outcome. Of course, there have been challenges, as any two companies would experience. Blending infrastructures, reporting systems and SOPs for every department is quite an effort, but a year later, things are running very smoothly and our focus in on satisfying our customers.
Dimitri: I agree, both sites have best practices that have impacted the other. For instance, Insight La Verpilliere has deep experience in multiple drug delivery routes of administration, having developed innovative platform solutions that Nemera currently offers to clients. Additionally, we have extensive experience in commercializing/designing for manufacture of our own proprietary delivery devices as well as our customer’s solutions. Insight Chicago offers a strong background in consulting and services as well as other offerings that are further upstream of commercialization activities including design research, user experience design and human factors. Combined, we represent the perfect partner for combination product selection, design, and commercialization with the ultimate goal of always creating the best solutions for the patient.
Doug: Another advantage of the new combined Insight Innovation Center’s expanded offerings is that there is the now opportunity to approach customers earlier in the process, well before they are contracting out for manufacturing of their delivery devices. With this early involvement in the process, thanks to our strong capabilities in patient interaction, full development capabilities, and integration of manufacturing inputs, we’re able to position ourselves as an ideal partner for development and as a world-class manufacturing resource.
Q2: What have been the key learnings from the first year of operations and how will that affect your goals and strategies for 2021?
Doug: The first year has really been about getting to know each other’s skills and experiences. We have made a concerted effort to have cross-office collaboration and prioritize working on joint projects. Moving forward, both offices will continue to build on core strengths and add even more capabilities. One of the things Nemera has developed extensive capabilities and assets in is device connectivity. This is going to change the way patients and clinicians interact with delivery devices. We all agree that this is an important area to continue to develop so that we can help our clients enable innovative new features.
Dimitri: This past year has been dedicated to having our teams mesh well and work toward common goals. It has been a great year of learnings on both sides. Our understanding and application of the patient journey has given us a leg-up on what the future market needs will be within connectivity in general. Another great experience that we had last year was our participation in HealthTech 2019 at the Insight Chicago office. This event is designed to encourage communication, engagement, and support with early stage technology companies and provides Nemera with a platform for new technology scouting. We are excited to continue to demonstrate Nemera’s dedication to technology leadership as we expand the event to include a European HealthTech 2021 in the spring here in France complemented by the 8th annual HealthTech event in the fall in Chicago.
The expanded capability of the Insight Innovation Center reinforces our dedication to putting patients first. The understanding of user needs and application into development coupled with world-class design for manufacturing capabilities, testing and lab services, and regulatory support will enable Nemera to even better serve patients. This year we also announced a new partnership with to supply trainers for our Safe’n’Sound platforms which demonstrates our holistic approach toward innovation that keeps the patient needs at the center of our efforts.
Q3: How has the addition of expanded innovation services, including design research, user experience design and human factors to the existing world-class engineering capabilities changed our ways of working?
Dimitri: As we have mentioned, the acquisition of Insight Chicago was primarily driven by the need to augment our core team with professionals who were skilled at uncovering and applying user needs to our development program inputs. Having these research, design and human factors capabilities in-house is critical to supporting our customers in their device development efforts and the continued development of user-centric proprietary devices. Integrating these further into our development processes reduces time to market, keeps our focus on the patient, and ensures that risk is mitigated as early as possible.
Doug: User centered design and human factors are a huge consideration in medical device development. Insight Chicago has brought these best-in-class capabilities to Nemera. We are already integrating these user-focused methods into a variety of programs for customers as well as our own proprietary devices.
Our understanding and integration of the Patient Journey into the Nemera development process is crucial to ensure that these delivery devices are safe and effective. It also ensures they are designed in a way that supports a patient’s lifestyle, physical and cognitive capabilities and limitations, and provides the best possible user experiences. These are the qualities in a drug delivery device that encourage adherence and lead to better healthcare outcomes.
Looking back, this has been a wonderful first year and we really look forward to a long and rewarding future as the Insight Innovation Center.
Dimitri: Great things are on the horizon for Nemera and it’s exciting to think about all the possibilities as we strive to meet the needs of our clients and the welfare of patients. Of course, we will continue to provide a unique combination of user centered innovation, world-class engineering and lab services, regulatory support, and manufacturing. And we’ll be able to leverage a deep understanding of patient needs as we continue to support our customers in the best ways that we can. We are very excited to see how the next year and beyond unfolds!