When the founder of Tarragon, Prof. Christoph Schuhmacher, first developed his idea for a streamlined med-tech start-up evaluation portal & marketplace, he could leverage decades of experience in the medical industry. Having worked as a surgeon and later as the first operational director of the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network facilitating cross-border implementation of innovative therapies, and even (at the start of his career) inside ambulances, Prof. Schuhmacher knows the medical industry like no other.
His idea to start a new company that would streamline the development and commercialization of novel medical devices was born after Prof. Schuhmacher left his last position as the Managing Director and Vice President of a German software company in Hong Kong. Being responsible for planning of smart and healthy cities using state-of-the-art digital platform technologies, he learned the value of consolidating complex processes through digital technologies.
He asked himself whether the same thinking could not be applied to med-tech start-ups. After all, the commercialization of novel medical devices follows a very structured and heavily regulated process. For a novel med-tech device to be commercially successful certain milestones must be fulfilled, such as complying with the highest quality product regulations as well as initiating pivotal clinical trials leading to regulatory approval. How could digital technologies help make this process more efficient? How could investors quickly grasp where a med-tech start-up is in the process? And how could all of this be linked to measurable outcomes and milestones that can be evaluated?
Prof. Schuhmacher created a first draft of a solution on pen & paper. He then validated it through multiple conversations with investors, venture capitalists and other med-tech stakeholders. And eventually, he reached a point where the time was ripe to turn idea into application.
Working together with low-code start-up Five, he was able to rapidly develop a scalable solution called Tarragon. Tarragon automatically evaluates med-tech start-ups’ potential based on a questionnaire. Each response is given a score derived from retrospective empiric analysis of the industry, and a proprietary scoring algorithm evaluates the overall result. This is just the MVP, and there are ambitious plans to expand the application’s functionality.
Even though the app is created and hosted using Five, Prof. Schuhmacher owns all intellectual property in the application. Five enabled Prof. Schuhmacher to quickly go from idea to application, but he retains all rights in Tarragon’s design to the workflows and its data.
By using Five, Tarragon was developed as a web application that is accessible from any browser. The application uses a web-hosted MySQL database. This architecture provides the right foundation for the future growth of the company. MySQL is the same relational database technology that Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and many others use. And unlike other low-code tools that limit their users by the number of database records, apps developed on top of Five use a dedicated (single-tenant) database. The advantage is that with Five, there is no limit on database records. In addition, data is never commingled with others. This is especially important when confidential information is shared, such as in the medical industry.
Moreover, the app is built with standard web technologies. Queries that power the dashboards inside the Tarragon application are written in standard SQL, making them easily maintainable, yet highly flexible. Deployment of the application to a development, testing or production environment, hosted on AWS, happens in a single-click. This abstracts away the complexity of cloud deployment. The app is also containerized and scales automatically.
Prof. Schuhmacher’s background, his idea and the Tarragon application quickly helped his business gain traction with relevant stakeholders, ranging from med-tech VCs to start-ups and other partners. Just recently, Tarragon was successfully awarded a grant by Cyberport, a Hong Kong incubation program, to finance its future growth.
Going beyond the MVP and developing a more sophisticated application that covers a bigger part of the med-tech value chain is next on Prof. Schuhmacher’s agenda. Five, as the development environment, supports Tarragon’s future roadmap. Five is extensible through full code or plug-ins, meaning that applications of almost any complexity can be created with it. This means that the application can grow with the business. And that Prof. Schuhmacher’s future ideas can also be turned into successful applications.
Founded by Prof. Christoph Schuhmacher, Tarragon supports the development and commercialization of novel medical technologies and devices.
For more information of this evolving project, visit https://tarragoninnovator.wixsite.com/my-site
Five is low-code for real developers. Five’s cloud-based development environment enables full-stack development of device-independent web applications. Inside Five, developers will never hit the “no-code” brick wall. Five is built by developers for developers and supports custom code in multiple programming languages.
Visit https://five.co to find out more.