A DEEPER PURPOSE

Portugal 2019 | HEALTH & EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

Grupo Germano de Sousa's success can best be summed up by its understanding that science and medicine only really progress when technological development is combined with a deeper respect for human values and professional ethics.

Germano de Sousa
BIOGRAPHY
Germano de Sousa is a doctor of medicine with a specialization in clinical pathology. He is CEO and Clinical Director of the Centro de Medicina Laboratorial Germano de Sousa. Prior to his current positions, he was a former associate biochemistry professor and regent of the master course in chemical pathology at Nova Medical School as well as former head of the clinical pathology department at Fernando Fonseca Hospital. He has been active in his field as former president of the Portuguese Society of Clinical Pathology, the Portuguese Medical Association, and the Portuguese Society of Osteoporosis. Since 2005, he has been a member of the New York Academy of Sciences.

Grupo Germano de Sousa was established more than 43 years ago. Can you describe the main achievements and activities of the company?

For more than 40 years, we have placed ourselves at the service of our patients. The company's initial focus was on hematology, biochemistry, microbiology, and immunology. In 2009, we built a lab in the field of genetics. After that, in 2014, we shifted our building from Lisbon to our present location due to the increasing business operations that demanded more space. In the field of oncogenomic, the study of genes and malignant tumors, we have developed a highly skilled team since 2015. During this time, I invited three high-performance researchers to work with us in oncology. This area is extremely important because the main goal of our study is the type of mutations and fusions of genes found in both solid and liquid tumor biopsies. Therefore, our studies can help our fellow colleagues perform better diagnosis and therapeutics. It is an important achievement of our company's history because it was the pioneer in Portugal for liquid biopsy. We also study predictive risk in cancer, namely in breast, prostate, and colon cancers, among others. A percentage of the global population will definitely have cancer, and we are attempting to stop it in its early stages. The future is now and we are extremely pleased with our contribution in the precision medicine model.

You are collaborating with the medical faculties at Universidade Católica Portuguesa and Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Could you please explain the details of these collaborations?

In terms of teaching, we are connected to medical and biomedical students with a positive relation in laboratory medicine. Grupo Germano de Sousa has considerable influence on the future physicians of Portugal since it collaborates with Universidade Católica in a post-graduation laboratory medicine course and with Nova Medical School in immunology course. Notably, we have connections with other research institutions and foreign laboratories. Our company is known for its high-qualified doctors specializing in each area of clinical pathology, anatomic pathology, and genetics. We also have an active participation in international research groups.

Do you have collaborations with other laboratories around the world?

At present, the group is more than a network of clinical pathologies laboratories across Portugal. It is also a research center and a partner for institutions around the world, with whom we share clinical and technological knowledge in a wide variety of areas such as genetics, autoimmunity, molecular biology and oncological diagnosis. In terms of the group's future, we want to do better in Mozambique, where we already have a partnership. Moreover, we analyze biological products that come from labs in Spain, Angola, and Saudi Arabia, and we are currently partnering with laboratories in northwest Africa.

What are the main challenges for growth for private health companies? What are the main priorities for your group in the next coming years?

We have 10 million Portuguese people, and only 30% are treated by private health companies. Our purpose is to make diagnosis available for every patient that needs a good healthcare support. Innovation, quality, and precision have always been our motto. Therefore, we will continue with developments and challenges in medicine. We will continue to invest in modernity and diversity in terms of techniques and equipment to keep up with the latest requirements in medicine. We understand that science and medicine only really progress when technological development is combined with a deeper respect for human values and professional ethics.