Five years of Arquer: how we are transforming cancer diagnosis
27th September 2021
Five years ago today, I joined Arquer Diagnostics and it feels fitting on this anniversary milestone to reflect on just how far we have come as a company in that time and how I have changed as person.
I am not particularly nostalgic, and my outlook is always very much forward looking and future focused. But, like most people, I have of course felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic both personally and professionally over these past 18 months.
During these challenging and uncertain times, I have really started to have a greater appreciation for the slower pace of life I have been able to lead. Lockdowns where I am based in the UK have given me the opportunity, for the first time in many years, to spend more time at home with not having to travel every week.
This has changed me as a person – the way I interact with people, including my family and friends, appreciating the time spent together much more. And I know this impact has been felt by my family too and I’m sure my kids would say that having a “work from home Mum” was better than the “always on a plane Mum”!
I have developed a new appreciation for this work-life balance, which has really helped as we adapted our business model and navigated the challenges the pandemic created which has certainly affected the Team too. But although everyone at Arquer had to switch to remote working, we found ways to strengthen our team spirit by creating a flexible, humble and fun work environment.
In the past five years, we boosted our team with the appointment of several brilliant and talented women, celebrated pregnancies and new arrivals – both babies and puppies! – and definitely rejoiced getting our children back to school!
We learned and changed together as we flexed HOW we worked. But one thing which never flexed was the Arquer team’s uncompromising focus on our clinical and scientific objectives and unwavering commitment to transforming cancer diagnosis for millions of patients.
Arquer has undergone a remarkable transformation in the past five years and I know it is only because of all the hard work we have put in during that time that we were able to transition the business as seamlessly as we did.
One of the most important aspects of that transformation has been a complete change in mindset; we refocused our efforts to concentrate on specific cancer indications where our scientific data showed our innovative tests could make an impact, fast. And we have grown from being a research team to a fully-fledged, dynamic, female-led company with bold ambitions.
The milestones achieved have been numerous and incredibly significant for us: we have obtained ISO13485 medical device certification, moved our manufacturing from Sweden to the UK and built a network of commercial partners in EMEA.
In line with our objectives of producing great science, our Team has executed large clinical trials directly to maintain uncompromised control over their rigour and supported the publication of over 15 research papers about our diagnostic technology in four years.
We have enrolled over 3,000 patients in different ADXBLADDER studies, and the test is currently in clinical trials in the USA, our new frontier, with the support of an exceptional team of local experts.
If the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives ADXBLADDER clearance to be commercialised in the US, it would be the first, new generation urinary biomarker test for bladder cancer to be approved by the FDA in almost two decades. That will be a hugely significant milestone for Arquer and for patients in USA.
As an SME, congresses have always been a unique and precious opportunity for us to learn from clinicians, meet people and showcase our ground-breaking diagnostic tests; in the past five years we have had the opportunity to travel to many countries and attend numerous events. Of course, since 2020, we had to learn to do our networking remotely, even launching an online education programme for urologists.
But it seems things are starting to change, with some forthcoming congresses once again being held in person. The team and I are incredibly excited to get reacquainted with old friends and colleagues and will relish the opportunity to make new ones as we drive our mission to transform how patients are diagnosed with cancer and then monitored throughout their treatment journey.
Having recently signed partnerships with distributors in Greece, Ireland and Kuwait, our reach continues to grow with so many more patients able to access our simple and highly accurate test.
Our key focus is to continue driving the expansion of our commercial channels for ADXBLADDER and to explore how we further trial, develop and commercialise our tests for other cancers including endometrial and prostate.
The first five years have been intense but the whole team is incredibly excited about the next five as we continue to lead a revolution in cancer diagnosis.