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The LEO Science & Tech Hub is a R&D innovation unit of LEO Pharma. We explore cutting-edge science and technology opportunities with relevance to dermatology. By partnering with public and private institutions in the world’s leading life science cluster in Boston, we act as a catalyst to transform early-stage innovations and technologies into solutions that will improve the quality of life for people with skin diseases. LEO Science & Tech Hub was officially inaugurated in September 2016.
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Precision Medicine in Dermatology.

Precision medicine aims at identifying the most suitable treatment for each individual patient.

In order to achieve this we will require a much deeper understanding about the different factors that contribute to the course of disease between patients with the same disease such as:

Environmental. Genetic. Molecular. Environmental. Genetic. Molecular.

Our current research projects aim at developing technologies that should enable us to adress these questions, resulting in solutions that can one day support treatment decisions.

News from the hub

Aug. 2018 16 Building competent teams to drive innovation

Innovation isn’t easy. Establishing the framework for your corporate innovation unit is the first step in the process, but how can you ensure its success from there?

At LEO Science & Tech Hub, we believe you are only as good as the team around you. We believe that one of the foundations for driving innovation in any organization is competent teams but lately we have been asked again and again “how do we hire or find innovative individuals?”. Here are some insights from us on how to build a team that can solve complex problems, challenge the status-quo and drive innovation forward:

  1. Environment sets the tone and creates the culture:

Innovation is a mindset – it is a way of thinking and behaving. We do not hire innovative employees, we bring talented and committed individuals into an innovative environment. We maintain this environment by consistently reinforcing our mission and encouraging an experimental culture that values every team member’s ideas and input.

It’s important to set the stage for this type of workplace by developing infrastructure and best practices that are in line with your vision and that support the culture you want to create and foster. This objective provides a platform that will help enable innovative performance from your team on a day-to-day basis and over the long term rather than it just being a buzzword.

  1. Diverse teams solve problems:

The more diverse your team, the better. This is true especially when thinking about the goal of driving innovative projects forward. A team that consists of subject matter experts across a broad range of fields brings balance and versatility to your group, which will make you more prepared to address different challenges as they arise. Some team members may be market experts, while others are researchers, engineers, strategists, etc. Some may be analytically-minded while others are creative thinkers. Acknowledge these differences and more importantly, capitalize on the ways in which they can complement each other. Promote the internal exchange of knowledge, perspectives and networks.  Lean on certain personnel when their skill set aligns closely with a specific project. This type of synergy amongst a diverse group can help each individual form new connections and can ultimately trigger new ideas.

  1. Team dynamics:

Capabilities and team dynamics go hand in hand. The capabilities of the team members affect how the team addresses problems and identifies solutions, thus creating a unique team dynamic. Changing a team member changes the team dynamics and hence recreating the dynamics is essential to driving innovation.

Our team functions like a commando-like team where we are able to support and move forward even if one of the team members is absent or leaves the team. Teams need to find the right balance for not only having the depth of expertise but also the breadth – they are able to cover a wide range of expertise. It is achieved by building a strong team foundation very early on. This ensures each individual embraces their own capabilities while trusting the capabilities of their teammates and understanding that together they can create successes.

  1. Bigger isn’t always better:

Our team is small, flat and agile with no hierarchy – everyone knows their role. Keeping a team small ensures that communication is always aligned, decisions are made quickly, and priorities are clear and focused on deliverables. Again, everyone’s questions, insights and perspectives are encouraged, which we believe naturally fuels progression and creates trust. The size of our team inspires cooperation, but also gives each member a sense of ownership, autonomy and accountability. Work becomes more meaningful when each individual is able to see the positive impact they can have on the growth of the unit.

Authored by Alex Costa and Michael Sierra.


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Jul. 2018 11 Hacking Dermatology Selects 5 Finalist Teams for Incubation

Hacking Dermatology is an initiative that aims to bring interdisciplinary teams together to solve the important challenges facing patients with skin disease. It is led and supported by a consortium of academic, non-profit, and industry partners, including Hacking Medicine Institute (HMi), LEO Pharma, Advancing Innovation in Dermatology (AID), MIT Hacking Medicine, and the Lahey Medical Center Department of Dermatology. This first Hacking Dermatology program focuses on the challenges patients with inflammatory skin diseases face, and the process for problem identification and solution creation includes multiple events designed around HMi’s healthcare innovation framework.

Hacking Medicine Institute Healthcare Innovation Framework

Advancing the Framework: Framing + Hacking

Frame: On April 7th, 2018 a group of about thirty expert scientists, clinicians, researchers, and industry leaders came together to discuss critical challenges facing patients with inflammatory skin disease. Thought leaders presented professional opinions on the largest pain points in the field, and through a crowd sourcing exercise, the entire group developed 5 top challenges. These statements were fed into the June 2018 hackathon as challenge prompts.

Hack: On June 8-10, around 120 people came together to “hack dermatology”. The three-day weekend hackathon started on Friday and included background talks from leaders from multiple stakeholder groups.  The kickoff as one participant put it, “Excellent! One of the best hackathons I’ve been to. The Friday evening program was also a great way to get the entrepreneurial spirit going, and I was so impressed by how well supported the event was by mentors and industry leaders.” The participants came from exceptionally diverse backgrounds, ranging from clinical dermatology to industrial design to data science to chemical engineering, and formed teams to work on ideas ranging from portable devices that measure environmental factors that can trigger inflammatory skin conditions to smart clothing for treating them.

The weekend was infused with enthusiasm and dedication. Hacking Dermatology mentor and judge Adam Raff, MD, PhD, who is a researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital and a member of AID, said, “Hacking Dermatology was filled with incredible energy and excitement from the participants. To see patients, scientists, engineers, and physicians joining forces to solve the most critical problems in dermatology was inspiring. The innovations that blossomed over the weekend offer real hope to improve the lives of patients and I cannot wait to see how the teams and their ideas evolve over the next few months.”

Arash Mostaghimi, MD, MPA, MPH from Brigham & Women’s Hospital and a member of one of the finalist teams, said, “It was great to connect with a community of data scientists, materials engineers, and other clinicians to develop creative solution for pain points in dermatology.”

At the end of the weekend, 5 teams were selected by a panel of judges to be finalists. These teams – Eir, HyJamas, Lucid, Matchlab, and PatchMe.

Eir is a voice enabled AI assistant for patients with chronic dermatological challenges. Eir makes it simple and easy for patients to track their medical conditions and help supercharge consultations by creating digestible summaries for patients to share with their dermatologist, resulting in happier patients and fewer doctor visits.

HyJamas™ is simple to use and comfortable sleepwear for eczema patients and people suffering from skin dryness. At the core of HyJamas is a proprietary moisturizing fabric technology, which prevents itch flare ups and promises a good night’s sleep.

Lucid is a first-in class personalized and automated home patch testing solution. We replace the months of wait time and multiple in-office visits of traditional patch testing by sending patients personalized patch kits based on their health history, occupational exposures, and a digital assessment of their personal health products. Patch test results are instantly interpreted at home using computer vision technology and translated into easy-to-follow product recommendations that improve patient adherence and long-term health.

Matchlab provides cosmeceutical companies with key insights on product performance across various target populations. We provide an application for consumers to try new test products and a dashboard for cosmeceutical companies to receive real-time feedback on product performances.

PatchMe: Augmented reality experience for pediatric eczema patients.

Next Steps:  Each of the finalist teams move on to the Incubation stage of the Hacking Dermatology framework, which includes $5k in grant funding and access to dedicated mentors to advance their proposals and ideas. All the finalists will be automatically included in the next round of pitches for additional grants ($50k in total). The date for this pitch competition will be in early October 2018.   Because the judges had a very hard time narrowing the winners down to just 5 finalists, all the teams were encouraged to continue to working  on their respective projects, because they too will have the opportunity to apply to the pitch competition in October.

Finalist Team Photos

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We want to engage with partners that have unique innovative skills to generate solutions that will improve the quality of life of patients with skin disease.

Tel. +1 201 396 1645

Michael Sierra Vice President Email me