Brian Kernohan, VP Strategic Alliances, and I attended the 10th annual userBridge Conference. The event is sponsored by e-regulatory solutions vendor Lorenz, which operates in 25 countries, serving 250 customers.
I went to present the Art of Avoiding the Resubmit, including drug submissions via PDF to regulators (like the FDA), which was very well received (at least from the feedback that I got). And the question period for my presentation ran much longer than the time allotted; Raoul-A Lorenz (CEO) had to put an end to it.
This year userBridge was at Clontarf Castle hotel. And for the first time, it rained during the conference. I'll tell you about the fun after I've told a bit about this very different event.
The majority of the event's activities are organized and executed by Lorenz employees, in addition to their regular jobs. Wolfgang Witzel, president of Lorenz, told Brian and I that this personal touch was the secret to the 'magic' of the conference.
Lorenz employees in every department and discipline assist with the conference - everything from running microphones to audience members with questions, to heading out to remote locations ahead of the group to decorate with Lorenz banners, flags, posters, and table ornaments, to ensure there is no doubt about who is hosting each spectacular evening's event.
Of the top 50 pharmaceuticals, 22 use Lorenz to manage their submissions. In 2011 27,000 submissions used Lorenz. It is estimated that 41,000 will use Lorenz in 2012, which is a 52 percent increase.
Lorenz has 1K and 5K award categories for customers who have submitted that many new submissions to the various regulatory agencies. This year, they introduced the 10K Club for the first time, with 2 customers: Bayer HealthCare AG in Europe and Company X from Canada.
After the first day, the group assembled for a large photo and then took a tour of the city by bus. One driver sang traditional Irish drinking songs en-route and in between historic site descriptions.
The bus took us to "Fire at the Mansion House" where we were greeted with a glass of champagne and a personal visit from the Lord Mayor of Dublin. On a wall in the men's restroom a framed image says the Mansion House is the personal residence of the Lord Mayor. I suspect the moustache drawn on the photo of the mayor was actually put there by the Lord Mayor himself... Or was that me leaving my mark? ;-)
Later we were entertained by a singer who performed many hits by the 'Rat Pack', while we ate a fantastic dinner, and socialized with the other 200 attendees.
The second evening organized a short stop at the Church Bar (imagine drinking Guinness in church!), then to the Merry Ploughboys Pub where The Merry Ploughboys (House band and pub owners) entertained us with traditional Irish music and dancing.
The 3rd day of the conference ended at about 1:45pm, which is appropriate, as it was Sir Arthur Guinness's day, and the whole of Ireland will be celebrating late into the morning.
I was a little worried about how efficient the Dublin airport staff would be early in the morning when we flew back home, but they were very professional and everything went well