Whether checking email from home, downloading a book for a flight or posting to social media, our mobile phones and digital devices have become a very central element within our daily lives.
These remarkable tools have revolutionized how we interact with the world around us and are beginning to profoundly impact the fields of life sciences and healthcare.
A panel discussion held yesterday at the 2018 BIO International Convention, entitled What Role Will You Play in the Digital Revolution? shed light on the revolutionary and still emerging field of Digital Therapeutics.
Moderator Rachel Sha, Vice-President, Digital Business Development and Licensing, Sanofi, engaged the panelists to illuminate how this technology is already impacting life sciences and healthcare innovation.
- Marta Bralic, Vice President, Business Development Flatiron Health
- Luba Greenwood, JD, Strategic Business Development and Corporate Ventures, Verily, an Alphabet Company
- Iya Khalil, PhD, Chief Commercial Officer, EVP and Co-Founder, GNS Healthcare
Marta Bralic remarked it was online shopping that initially drove her to pursue innovation opportunities within the digital healthcare space. “It’s amazing that a pair of shoes I looked at one time three weeks prior would follow me around the entire internet everywhere I went. It was a striking moment. It’s not that tech isn’t available. It’s just that we’re spending all these resources on these incredible engineers. So, figuring how you make sure you click on an ad as opposed to making sure we connect healthcare data was the focus of the day. That was early in my career and I said if those shoes can follow me we can do better for healthcare,” said Bralic.
Dr. Iya Khalil co-founded two big data companies and is a technology entrepreneur and physicist with a vision of transforming medicine into a discipline that is quantitative, predictive, and patient-centric via big data analytic approaches. She remarked, “It’s amazing that a decade ago we were storing data. Today we are collecting data – it’s growing. With genomes, we are digitizing records. It’s really exciting what we are doing in AI. The ability to accelerate our growth through a combination of data, machine learning and AI. So, by the time we get it to the patient, we have it right.”
As a veteran venture investor and biotechnology start-up entrepreneur, Luba Greenwood shared her insights on this unfolding technology revolution and the diagnostic advantages presented by AI. “There are a lot of changes to healthcare… [that will improve our ability to] look at scans and [determine] if you have cancer that even a human eye can’t see. AI is more likely to be first in imaging and x-rays,” said Greenwood.
Bralic agreed that great opportunities lie ahead in oncology. “We see two trends developing simultaneously. If you stick them on top of each other, they are creating real opportunity for using real-world data or to help reform drug development [and] accelerate new treatments to market,” said Bralic.
The first trend Bralic referenced is the rapidly growing R&D pipeline of innovation and the use of existing drugs in new combinations that are and will continue to lead to improved outcomes and better quality of life for patients. The second is the effort within oncology to clean up outdated health records and replace them with more universal electronic health records.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, has recognized this trend and is making moves to encourage the use of artificial intelligence and other digital tools in medicine and drug development. As healthcare innovators continue to partner with technology gurus, the possibilities for treating patients and discovering new therapies is endless.
Thanks to BIOtechNow contributor Susan Roberts for providing background coverage for this piece