Sentinel Diagnostics’ success is the result of ongoing investments to improve the development and manufacturing stages of our diagnostic devices, which are used to perform diagnostic test around the world. Here the translation of the recent article, published in the Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, on July 20th 2021, to retrace the results achieved and discover the new project to create a diagnostic hub in Milan.
The COVID-19 pandemic made clear how important and strategic the diagnostic sector is for the social and economic well-being of a country. Diagnostics is experiencing a moment of great transformation: European companies must take into account the new regulations for launching tests in the market, the introduction of new technologies for the personalized diagnosis and the presence increase of non-European competitors. In such scenario, Sentinel CH. SpA confirms itself as a consolidated example of Italian excellence, the first producer of IVD products in Italy and one of the largest in Europe. A reality that looks at the future, as the managing directors Filippo De Luca and Matteo Roveda explain.
Q: What made Sentinel CH S.p.A. successful in the highly competitive field of in vitro diagnostics?
FD: The company was born 38 years ago with the idea of developing and producing reliable and high-quality diagnostic kits. Over the years we have invested in the organization’s efficiency and in the quality of the products through a careful selection of raw materials, standardization, and control of the production process. Thanks to our know-how, we have developed important patents, including the one underlying the FOB Gold® product, the easy-to-use sampling device used for the detection of occult blood in faeces in various national and international screenings, and the STATNAT® lyophilic technology for molecular diagnostics, which we also used for the development of COVID-19 tests.
Q: Speaking of COVID-19, how did you deal with the pandemic?
MR: We had to respond to two needs: to give continuity to the supply of tests to the largest diagnostic companies in the world and to respond to the demand for kits to detect SARS-CoV-2 infections. We leveraged our strengths: agility and production capacity. We have continued to produce clinical chemistry tests that we export around the world and have developed molecular and serological kits for COVID-19 to respond to the health emergency.
Q: What goals have you set for the near future?
FD: We must prepare ourselves to face the changes taking place in our sector in order to remain competitive. We want to create a diagnostic hub in Milan that involves companies, universities, and hospitals to facilitate the exchange of technological knowledge on the main analytical methods and clinical and diagnostic expertise. The common goal is to create solutions for healthcare that are more efficient and closer to the citizen.
Q: An example of healthcare closer to the citizen?
MR: Sentinel CH. SpA, for example, has been a partner in the Dutch screening program for colorectal cancer, CRC, (the second most common tumor) since 2014. The screening program serves to identify the presence of benign lesions of the intestinal mucosa before they become a tumor. We produce an average of 2.1-2.3 million FOB Gold® tests per year for the Dutch screening program. We have customized the FOB Gold® tube to be easily used by both patients and Dutch laboratories. In practice, citizens receive the FOB Gold® tube at home, they take the sample following the illustrations and instructions provided (available in several languages) and deliver it to the reference laboratory that performs the test. This way, approximately 21,000 patients at risk of CRC cancer or with early-stage cancer are identified each year in the Netherlands and can be successfully treated.