Joffry Maltha

Mr. Joffry Maltha is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of CytoSMART Technologies. He brings a track record of commercializing new technologies. Mr. Maltha began his career at Nedap NV. He held several positions as product development manager and as international business development manager. From 2009 – 2015 he was CEO at Vabrema BV (Eindhoven, The Netherlands). Mr. Maltha received a Master of Science degree in Technology Management from the Technical University of Eindhoven where he graduated cum laude.

Why do we use more advanced monitoring tools in our daily lives than we do in biomedical research? Every scientist knows that discoveries from biomedical research are useless if they cannot be replicated. Yet, in a recent survey by Nature , 70% of researchers indicated that they have tried and failed to reproduce another scientist’s experiments, and more than half have failed to reproduce their own experiments. That’s an astonishing number, especially if you think of the billions of euros that are then being wasted. Back in 2011, I was running a biotech startup that was involved in a European project to filter stem cells from umbilical cord blood, and then expand them to high numbers while suppressing the differentiation. We had very promising results. As part of the project, we were culturing patient stems cells and - as anyone with experience of cell culture knows - they need to be fed sugar and nutrients regularly. Indeed, they need a lot of care and attention, and the normal practice was to check them twice a day – even on weekends. Unfortunately, one Sunday, the cells were not checked and fed due to a personal emergency of a staff member. Normally this would not pose a big problem – the cells were usually split to a new flask with medium on Monday. However, on that occasion the lack of feeding did cause a problem. The flask grew confluent and the cells were lost, along with much of the work leading up to that point. We had a disappointing meeting with all project members, and I remember that on the way back I was driving and my colleague was working on his smartphone. I asked what he was doing and he said he just changed the climate control in his house and...