Translating SARS-CoV-2 Clinical Trial Challenges Into Lasting Solutions

Life Sciences, Clinical Trials, Drug Discovery & Development,
  • Friday, April 30, 2021

Bringing together expertise across a broad domain of preclinical, clinical trial diagnostics, supply chain and bioinformatics services to support the continuous battle against SARS-CoV-2

As SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread across the globe, pharma and biotech companies remain committed to finding effective vaccines and therapeutics. Communities are still affected, and we are far from a manageable situation. With newly emerging variants in the UK, South-Africa and Brazil (B.1.1.7, B.1.351, P.1), the industry is faced with new challenges, especially in relation to clinical trials. If vaccines and anti-virals prove to be less effective against new variants, it is likely that current studies will have to be adjusted or renewed. In order to stay ahead of mutations, the pharma and biotech communities will need to be able to continuously adapt their vaccine and therapeutic strategies. Therefore, it is essential to incorporate a high level of flexibility in clinical trials. This is applicable to all outsourcing partners in the clinical trial network including commercial laboratory testing facilities. Clinical trial settings are faced with several challenges:

> Selecting the right SARS-CoV-2 early stage, preclinical models
> The complexity of developing and validating SARS-CoV-2 assays
> The availability of agile supply chain infrastructures
> Transforming clinical trial data into valuable insights

As there are many different therapeutic and prophylactic approaches against SARS-CoV-2, such as recombinant viral vectors, recombinant proteins, nucleic acids, live attenuated, mRNA, etc., there is a need for a wide array of preclinical and clinical trial diagnostic research methods. In addition, the wealth of data generated by SARS-CoV-2 trials has to be processed, analyzed and evaluated, which emphasizes the importance of biostatistical support to generate valuable insights.

Having supported many SARS-CoV-2 clinical trials, Viroclinics scientific advisors, logistical specialists and bioinformaticians will share their best practices on:

  • Validated animal models for SARS-CoV-2 challenge studies, immunogenicity and efficacy testing
  • Virology assays: virus titration (titer: TCID50/mL), antiviral assays (IC50)
  • Molecular assays: qPCR, next-generation sequencing, whole-genome targeted sequencing, including bioinformatics
  • Immunological assays: SARS-CoV-2 Neutralization Assay
  • Clinical trial operational support and global logistics services

Register for this webinar to gain key insights into SARS-CoV-2 clinical trials, from early stage, preclinical and clinical research to supply chain support and bioinformatics.


Carel van Baalen, Viroclinics

Carel van Baalen, Director R&D, Viroclinics

Carel van Baalen was trained in immunology and virology at the University of Utrecht, and he performed his PhD studies at the department of Viroscience, Erasmus MC in Rotterdam. His studies focused on the effectiveness of HIV-specific cytotoxic T cells, which led to applications in clinical immunotherapy trials. In the framework of various subsequent projects at the interface of fundamental science and influenza vaccine trials, he has been working on the development, validation and implementation of novel assays at Viroclinics Biosciences since 2008. In addition to virus-specific serological and cellular assays, he has also worked on novel assays and readouts aim at monitoring virus infection, replication and cell-to-cell transmission as well as at testing the effectiveness of novel antiviral compounds.

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Rienk Jeeninga, Viroclinics

Rienk Jeeninga, Director Clinical Virology Services, Viroclinics

Rienk Jeeninga studied Biology at the University of Groningen. He performed his PhD studies at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam on ribosomal RNA in yeast. He worked as a postdoc at the Amsterdam Medical Center on HIV-1 with a focus on latency mechanisms of the virus. He expanded his work to the influenza field in 2010 to explore on 3D culture systems and human adaptation of influenza viruses. He moved to the department of Clinical Virology Services at Viroclinics Biosciences in 2015 to manage the teams responsible for the serology and cell-based assays.

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Jeroen Strating,Viroclinics

Jeroen Strating, Director Molecular Services, Viroclinics

Jeroen holds a PhD in Cell Biology from Radboud University (The Netherlands). After his PhD, Jeroen studied cellular membranes and how enteroviruses usurp them for 11 years. He joined Viroclinics-DDL in 2019 as manager of molecular assay development (sequencing & RT-PCR). Since June 2020, Jeroen heads the department Molecular Virology Services.

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Eva van der Veer, DDL

Eva van der Veer, M.Sc. VP Diagnostic Services, DDL

Eva received her Master’s degree in (Molecular) Biology from Leiden University, the Netherlands. Before joining DDL in 2011, she worked at several diagnostic laboratories where she was responsible for implementation of a diverse range of new molecular assays and technologies. Eva played a leading role in setting up DDL’s fully automated Next Generation Sequencing pipeline specifically designed for viral variant detection.

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Marc van Pruijssen, Director Global Logistics, Viroclinics

Marc van Pruijssen holds a Bsc. In international marketing, as well as management & organizational sciences. He performed an Msc, studying Transport & Logistics at TIAS-NIMBAS in Tilburg.

Before joining Viroclinics-DDL in 2020, he has been responsible for a variety of developing supply chain functions and new business set up: supply chain planning, transport and distribution center operations, strategy development, program management and new product introductions.

Next to that he is Board member and VP Marketing of the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) Benelux Round Table.

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Leon de Waal, Viroclinics Xplore

Leon de Waal, Sr. Study Director, Viroclinics Xplore

Leon de Waal started as a PhD student at the Department of Viroscience of the Erasmus Medical Center and defended his thesis “Respiratory Syncytial Virus: Anti-viral immunity in humans and macaques” in 2003. His PhD project focused on investigating the immunological response to respiratory syncytial virus  infections in humans and primed macaques. Subsequently, he became a PhD at the Department of Viroscience on the Virgo project investigating the genomics of respiratory infections. The Virgo project focused on the in-depth analysis of virus-host interactions using advanced genomics techniques such as microarrays. In 2009 Leon de Waal joined Viroclinics Biosciences B.V. as a Study Director of Viroclinics Xplore where he is responsible for initiating, conducting and reporting of preclinical studies.

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Who Should Attend?

  • Preclinical Scientists, Managers and Directors
  • Clinical Trial Directors/Managers
  • Supply Chain Specialists
  • Vaccine/Anti-Viral project leads
  • Clinical Development Directors/Managers
  • (Bio)pharmaceutical Researchers/Scientists
  • Chief Scientific Officers/ Medical Directors/ Scientific Project Leads
  • Bioinformaticians

What You Will Learn

In this webinar, participants will learn about:

  • Key insights into preclinical models against SARS-CoV-2
  • Leveraging the latest advances in SARS-CoV-2 assay development
  • The importance of building flexibility and agility in SARS-CoV-2 clinical trial supply chains
  • Optimizing the use of data insights in SARS-CoV-2 clinical trials, through bioinformatics
  • The Athena virology pipeline for the analyses of virology data

Xtalks Partner


Viroclinics-DDL builds further on an impressive track record of pandemic related viral targets, including SARS-CoV-1 (2002-2004) and S-OIV (Swine-Origin Influenza Virus, 2009) using validated molecular, cellular and preclinical analysis models. As a virology focused CRO we have extensive expertise with high-demand scenarios. To assist the pharmaceutical, biotech and academic communities with the development of anti-viral medication and vaccines against SARS-CoV-2, Viroclinics-DDL offers a full suite of preclinical, clinical trial diagnostic, bio informatics and global supply chain services.

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