Exclusive Interview with Dr Bettina Bergtholdt, Managing Director at FutureMeds Germany
With the acquisition of emovis, the Berlin-based, award-winning dedicated study site and pan-European DCT solutions provider, Dr Bettina Bergtholdt, the founder and CEO of emovis, will assume the role of Managing Director at FutureMeds Germany, marking a new chapter in her entrepreneurial journey. She is eager to expand FutureMeds' dedicated site network in Germany and to develop cutting-edge, strategic DCT trial and site solutions.
Dr Bettina Bergtholdt, the founder and CEO of the innovative, award-winning emovis, brought her site, her talented team, and their trial solutions under the FutureMeds umbrella. Over the past three years, she has been approached by multiple organisations with offers, but none felt right. Then, one day, Iwona Tongbhoyai, FutureMeds’ VP of Operations, reached out. Although Iwona's approach was different, Bettina had the same response for her at that time: a polite no.
Undeterred by the initial response, a few months later, the FutureMeds team invited Bettina and Rebeca Gonzales Vicedo, Director of Decentralised Clinical Trials, for a three-day visit to Poland. Seeing how the FutureMeds team operated and understanding their priorities and mission, Bettina became receptive to the idea of continuing the conversation.
“On the journey back in the train, Rebeca and I realised… the two companies were like two pieces of a puzzle that fit together perfectly. FutureMeds is far more experienced in international business than emovis and is a significantly larger company. emovis, on the other hand, brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise regarding Homecare Visits, DCTs and other services. We also have a strong team in Berlin and combining all of our resources will benefit both companies immensely.”
- Dr Bettina Bergtholdt, Managing Director at FutureMeds Germany
Now, as she and her company are transitioning into the FutureMeds Dedicated Research Site Network, we sat down for an exclusive interview with her to explore her vision for FutureMeds Germany and to understand why this strategic move is advantageous for partners, clients, and patients.
Growing emovis: form an idea to a study juggernaut
Dr Bettina Bergtholdt is now well-known both internationally and within Germany's clinical research field. She is a force to be reckoned with, an enthusiastic entrepreneur with a strong focus on delivering the highest quality trials to clients and the best experience for patients.
Considering her accomplishments in the field, it is unimaginable that her career could have gone any other way. Yet, she never initially planned to join the industry. She was introduced to clinical research through collaboration. With a strong background in psychiatry, her university, which was conducting suicide prevention studies at the time, invited her to set up and run a trial.
Compared to the academic sector, she found the clinical trial environment liberating. Through her trial experiences and conversations with driven industry professionals, she began to identify increasing professional opportunities within the industry.
“My former university boss, who aimed to conduct a large study in suicide prevention, hired me as a young psychiatrist to set up the complete study at five different sites in Germany… One day, with a bottle of red wine, beneath an apple tree, we joked about why one would run trials in a university setting when it could be done in the private sector?”
Soon after, emovis GmbH was established in 2001 and her vision became a reality. Owing to her love for architecture and history, the new company moved into premises in Berlin-Charlottenburg. With a roof over the fledgling organisation, the dynamic founder had the necessary headspace to tackle new challenges.
“I bought 'The Female Founders Book'. I read that book very thoroughly. At first, I felt a little frightened, but I referred to that book quite often and I worked through each and every chapter. As time went on and results started to show, my happiness and contentment grew. I became an entrepreneur. Contrary to all the other job positions I had before, I found the freedom and motivation I had always been seeking.”
Besides growing and leading the entire study team, Bettina stepped into the PI role and, over the course of 22 years, led more than 150 trials across various therapeutic areas.
As someone who recognises the true potential of timely innovations, Bettina embarked on launching a new trial service, Homecare Visits (HCV), in 2012. Now present in 16 European countries, with over 1,100 dedicated homecare nurses in their database, Homecare Visits (HCV) is one of the cornerstones of emovis' evolving DCT solution. Combined with other innovative solutions, emovis is at the forefront of patient recruitment and DCTs.
Fast forward to 2023, emovis is one of the premier study sites in Germany. The team has enrolled more than 9,000 patients in over 250 studies covering 120 indications across 14 therapeutic areas. They have successfully passed over 30 audits. This successful track record wouldn't have been possible without a closely-knit, talented team.
Her dedicated and ambitious staff has also enabled Bettina to devote herself primarily to the strategic development of emovis, including the expansion of existing business areas and the development of new trial service offerings.
Team, Culture and Strategic Alignment
During her visit to FutureMeds, Bettina saw how similar the patient-centric approaches and values of the two organisations are.
“Both of our companies contribute to medical progress whilst treating the trial participant experience as the top priority. At emovis, we act according to this principle every hour of every day, with attention to detail and with humanity and understanding for each individual situation.”
The combined company is now in a strong position to learn from each other, improve operational efficiencies through leveraging processes, know-how, and technologies, and develop European DCT trial solutions and offerings that can improve study outcomes, protect sponsor timelines, and enhance data quality.
Speaking of the team, a whole new world of opportunities will await them.
“A completely new world opened with this strategic merger for all of us. There will be many opportunities for colleagues to develop further, to apply for European positions and to work in other countries. That's truly amazing, and I'm looking forward to seeing how my best people develop. And I'm always happy to support my staff members, even if that means that I am losing them in my area.”
“The emovis team is quite special. They take responsibility and accountability and are willing to grow and learn. Our management team is interested in results. So, only those who are very self-confident, very active, and enthusiastic about what we do grow into true emovis members. And I think that is the reason why we have a truly special group of staff members.”
The values established and evolved at emovis will remain part of FutureMeds Germany’s operation, and the growing local site network will likely continue to attract talent who values patient experience and wants to drive change, progress, and growth.
Expansion plans for the region
As Managing Director of FutureMeds Germany, one of Bettina’s main responsibilities will be expanding the site network in Germany. She expects to add 5-6 locations in the next few years and expand into new therapeutic areas and indications.
“I'm really looking forward to this task. I've acquired a lot of knowledge and experience while running a site for more than 20 years. Our team knows how to do it. We have the tools, processes, and know-how needed. Combined with FutureMeds' broader site network experience and expertise, financial backing, and top business development approach, the expansion becomes easier. It's still a significant undertaking, but I'm really looking forward to it.”
As FutureMeds' first stronghold in Germany, emovis will not only add additional capabilities to FutureMeds' growing therapeutic area portfolio but will also serve as a blueprint for expansion in the country.
Besides expanding the footprint in Germany, Bettina will also play a key role in developing FutureMeds' European DCT trial solution and offering and increasing DCT readiness across the whole site network.
“Due to my experience in homecare visits and decentralised clinical trials, I will continue to develop these services and support their growth over the years. First, we will focus on the countries where FutureMeds has a presence and active sites. But the bigger goal will be to offer DCT solutions and services all over the EU and the UK.”
Plans for the emovis Dedicated Research Site
The emovis study site will continue its success story under the FutureMeds umbrella as a reliable, flexible, and solution-oriented partner that makes even seemingly impossible tasks possible. The team's mission will remain the same: to keep the well-being of every study participant a top priority and dedicate themselves to all their study participants with joy, time, and attention.
After the transition period, Bettina and Ninon, the Site Director, expect a 30% increase in trials across a wider range of indications at emovis in the coming years.
The combined impact of emovis and FutureMeds on trial outcomes
In addition to significantly enhancing FutureMeds’ capabilities in driving DCT trials and improving client R&D productivity in Europe, the combined company capabilities, know-how, systems, processes, and solutions will enable our clients to:
Rely on our experts to shape strategy and novel trial designs,
Access larger suitable patient populations,
Boost diversity and inclusion, and patient experience,
Achieve higher compliance,
Strengthen patient retention rates, and
Protect study timelines.
At FutureMeds, we are on a mission to become Europe’s most respected Clinical Trial Network, transform the site network model, and deliver effective, complex European solutions through local expertise.
FutureMeds is a fast-growing, independent Dedicated Research Site Network with high DCT readiness, supporting pharmaceutical companies, sponsors, and CROs, and contributing to research to find effective treatments and medications for all patients who need them.
FutureMeds’ Dedicated Research Site teams strive to accelerate study timelines, streamline processes, lower costs, and improve data quality to help accelerate patient access to new treatments.
Through acquisitions and a strategic focus on patient experience, FutureMeds has developed qualified patient pools across Europe that enable faster patient enrolment, strong retention, and help generate more accurate results.
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