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LiST Report Summary

Project ID: 761595

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - LiST (Cost-effective automated equipment for life sciences and healthcare laboratories)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2017-05-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The growth of the Life Sciences and Healthcare (LSH) sector is closely tied to global health care expenditures which, in the successive years, are expected to be fuelled by increasing demand from an aging population and the prevalence of chronic and communicable diseases. At the same time, these trends pose significant challenges to LSH which, besides the continuously increasing workload, they have to deal with stricter legislation and the need for quick and accurate results by the healthcare system, private companies and governments.
To face these challenges, but also their tight budgets and limited resources, LSH laboratories turn to cost-effective automated solutions to increase productivity and reduce analysis time. Existing alternative solutions for small labs include manual methods or semi-automatic equipment, while automated solutions are currently affordable only by big labs. HTA therefore believes that this serves as a large market opportunity and potential for the company to grow.
The overall objective of LiST project is to bring into the market a variety of cost-effective automated laboratory equipment (LiST products) all based on a common robotic platform (LiST platform). The innovation of the LiST platform lies in its ability to fit different groups of specific parts (LiST tools), with each group/tool designed to perform a single application related to sample handling before or after sample storage. Therefore, each LiST product will consist of the LiST platform + one LiST tool. The use of the same robotic platform for all LiST products will reduce development costs and will help us provide the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) with cheaper automated equipment in less time. LiST products will make automation of various basic but time- and manpower-consuming tasks affordable to all LSH laboratories.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

From a technical point of view HTA has re-evaluated the initial technological objectives and analysed in detail the requirements for optimization and production of both the LiST platform and the two specific tools. The challenges to be faced in each case have been studied and led to valuable conclusions on the resources needed and the next steps to be taken in order to ensure the evolution of TRL6 to TRL9.
The tasks necessary for product optimization and manufacturing have been outlined. The technical requirements for final validation and certification have been also described and end-users have been identified. Moreover, a risk assessment to identify potential technical, commercial and managerial risks has been carried out and the adequate contingency measures have been determined.

From a commercial point of view HTA conducted a detailed market analysis including market value and growth rate, market drivers and trends and competitor profiling. In addition, a Freedom to Operate check has been carried out and HTA’s approach on IPR protection issues has been discussed. The key regulations and technical standards that LiST should meet with has been defined. A commercialization and dissemination strategy, including target countries and OEMs to approach, has been carried out and the financial objectives have been aligned with commercial forecasted achievements.

HTA has performed an estimation of total revenue, operating costs, payback and ROI until 2024 based on which the decision to continue with the development of LiST proposal was made.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

With this feasibility study we have re-evaluated our initial ideas/ objectives adapting a more customer-oriented approach that helped us make useful conclusions concerning our target end-users and our future actions towards the successful commercialization of LiST. A further phase 2 will be targeted at the following critical activities:
* Optimizing the LiST platform as well as the decapper/recapper and microplate heat sealer tool.
* Applying improvements on the optimized prototypes that will be dictated after assembling and testing.
* Validating the final industrial prototype and certifying its compliance with regulatory requirements.
* Preparing a solid commercialization plan and a dissemination strategy that will help us reach our target end users

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