With a track record of over 70 scientific publications, he’s widely considered a thought leader when it comes to clinical research on ocular disorders and translational research on the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF). Let’s discover what’s the academic background and professional path of ophthalmologist Flavio Mantelli, who - besides being a member of our Scientific Committee - is also Chief Medical Officer at Dompé farmaceutici since 2017.

Can you introduce yourself?

I’m Flavio Mantelli, I’m a medical doctor and surgeon, specialized in Ophthalmology. I’ve always been very interested in clinical and translational research. I’ve completed in fact a PhD in Regenerative Medicine with a doctoral thesis on the nerve growth factor or NGF, and, later on, a Post-Doctoral degree in Glycobiology of the ocular surface at the Harvard Medical School in Boston. I’m working at Dompé farmaceutici since 2013.

Why have you chosen to specialize in Ophthalmology?

I’ve always been intrigued by the opportunities offered by this field, especially by the research opportunities: these, in fact, range from clinical research to translational and technological research. This choice has proved to be the right one as it has given me the chance to work in national and international environments. Thanks to my specialization, moreover, I started working for a pharmaceutical company with the goal to develop an innovative drug exactly for my field of study.

What’s the key difference between Italian and American universities?

The key difference I’ve noticed is how people interact with each other. When I was a researcher in USA, for example, I would speak with people from different nationalities and backgrounds. The ability to connect different specialities with each other, not only in the medical field, is what really makes the difference.

You are Chief Medical Officer at Dompé farmaceutici since 2017. What’s your job all about?

I take care of the development of a new drug from the initial phase, when it’s being tested on a healthy patient, to the final regulatory authorities’ approval of the set-up, management and development of the clinical trials. I also take care of the relationships with the network of international research centres that help us creating innovative solutions. Our ambition is to come up with innovative drugs that can meet the patients’ needs.

What are the main challenges of your job?

There are a lot of challenges, but also a lot of rewards. It’s not easy to develop innovative drugs. The work required to achieve such results is pretty complex, it’s made of interactions that range from preclinical to clinical research. A lot of players are involved, such as doctors, investigators and regulatory authorities. The latter make sure that the patients’ safety is granted and that the products tested are effective; and they carry out this task by constantly raising the bar.

Which advice would you give to a young person interested in your job?

Do what you love, whatever it is. Just do it with dedication, the best way you can. Hard work pays off.