CEO Hanna Sjöström continues her work of establishing international contacts with key opinion leaders and expanding the company’s network as part of the preparatory work for the launch of Neola® in the USA. Recently, CEO Hanna Sjöström visited the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto, and we conducted a brief interview with her to learn more about the visit.

An essential part of the company’s preparatory marketing efforts is to build up the clinical network of key opinion leaders ahead of the launch of the company’s product Neola® for continuous lung monitoring. CEO Hanna Sjöström has participated in both national and international conferences and visited neonatal intensive care units to establish connections. Recently, she visited NICU Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto where she had the opportunity to learn about their work and hear more about the challenges they face at the clinic. We conducted a brief interview to summarize the visit.

Can you tell us more about the clinic you visited in the USA?
I visited the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto, USA, which is consistently ranked as the highest-ranking neonatal intensive care hospital in the USA. Affiliated with Stanford University, the hospital benefits from world leading research and expertise in the field of neonatal care and offers the highest level of intensive care available for newborns in the USA, especially those born preterm or with complex medical conditions. The neonatal intensive care unit consists of multiple specialized units dedicated to different levels of care, ensuring that infants receive tailored treatment based on their specific needs, with a total of about 40 beds for the care of preterm born babies. Another notable aspect of the NICU at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford is its emphasis on collaboration with parents, ensuring that parents are actively involved in their infant’s care and that preterm born babies are always just a few steps away from their mothers throughout their stay.

How did you establish contact with this clinic?
During 2023, Stanford University recognized Neola Medical as an Impact1 company, as Neola® is considered a significant innovation for neonatal care. We receive support for market establishment through collaboration in the exclusive Stanford Impact1 program and we gain access to a wide range of expertise from experts in regulatory processes for medical technology and leading physicians in neonatal intensive care.

I established contact with NICU at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital through Dr. Janene H. Fuerch, Co-director of Impact1, Medical Doctor, and Assistant Professor in Neonatology at Stanford University Medical Center, who works in the neonatal intensive care unit. Dr. Janene Fuerch has shown great interest in Neola® and invited me to visit the clinic, where I met both her and her colleague Dr. Valerie Chock, a clinical neonatologist at Stanford Children’s Hospital. Creating these types of connections is crucial because a network of key opinion leaders is of great importance for potential future collaborations and the upcoming market launch of Neola®.

How do the neonatologists at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital view new medical technology in healthcare?
The neonatal intensive care unit is the foremost in the country and judging by the five neonatologists I spoke with at the clinic, there is a significant interest in new technology and a willingness to always work with the latest innovation to support a patient group that is severely ill and vulnerable. The clinic is very large and modern, and being a university hospital, it also has a strong connection to academia. This, in turn, means that the clinic is open to new technology, and the equipment used in the neonatal intensive care unit is the latest available. Currently, they use both portable X-ray and ultrasound for monitoring the children. They also have an interest in clinical trials as part of their work to improve care for the future, and I will maintain ongoing contact with Dr. Janene H. Fuerch and Dr. Valerie Chock for potential collaborations in the future.

Is there anything specific that you will bring with you from this visit?
At the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, there is the opportunity to provide care even to the tiniest patients, and during my visit, I met a mother with her child who was born at 22 weeks. It was a powerful encounter that gives hope and energy to continue our work with medical technology that can improve the care of these vulnerable little patients.