The 17th Annual BIO CEO & Investor Conference opened today with a record number of partnering meetings and company presentations, in addition to key policy, business, and science panels highlighting the biotech issues of the day.
- During the Welcome & Opening Plenary session, BIO President & CEO Jim Greenwood spoke with Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) about the 21st Century Cures Initiative, a comprehensive effort to accelerate the discovery, development and delivery of new drugs and therapies. The conversation highlighted the important role that the 21st Cures Initiative can play in ensuring that America remains an economic engine for innovation and the important role that biotechnology plays in job creation and economic growth.
- In an interactive session earlier this morning, speakers discussed the growing trend to personalize oncology treatments with molecular diagnostics. The session addressed how to best enable broader matching of patient-cancer-therapy based on lessons learned from the Cancer Genome Atlas and the potential for re-evaluation of oncology clinical trial designs. Panelists agreed that the voice of the patient will continue to help guide industry efforts.
- Panelists in the Getting Ahead of Ebola and Other Infectious Threats—Overturning AssumptionsTherapeutic Workshop stressed that inadequate government support for medical countermeasures research was a major contributor to the lack of available therapies and vaccines to combat the Ebola epidemic last year. Sarepta CEO Chris Garabedian emphasized that investor appetite for infectious tropical disease R&D is almost non-existent.
- Panelists in the ‘How Industry Rates Interactions with the FDA’ session brought attendees good news – communication with the FDA has improved overall. Cartier Esham, PhD, Executive Vice President of Emerging Companies Section at BIO, shared initial findings of a BIO survey on patterns in FDA reviews and approvals by product division. Approximately half of the 228 participants said that communication with the FDA is very beneficial for the review and approval process. The BIO real-time survey tool on FDA/Sponsor Interactions During Drug Development can be accessed at www.bio.org/FDAsurvey.
- Wrapping up Day One at the Conference, the Digital Health session – Early Successes for Investors and Biotech R&D productivity – shared perspectives from VCs, CVCs and other experts on investment in digital health. Panelists were optimistic on the increased R&D productivity resulting from digital health innovations.
Day Two continues tomorrow at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. You can follow session coverage at www.biotech-now.org.