BioPharm America 2015 drew more than 850 life sciences professionals from 524 companies and 27 countries around the world and saw 2,274 one-to-one partnering meetings. MassBio, in partnership with EBD Group, the leading partnering firm for the life sciences industry, hosted BioPharm America September 15-17 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place.
“The impressive showing of life sciences executives from around the world is indicative of how vital Massachusetts is to the industry,” said Robert K. Coughlin, President & CEO of MassBio. “The partnering meetings are a valuable opportunity to foster collaborations that will deliver cures for patients.”
The conference kicked off with an Opening Plenary entitled “Giving up the corporate jet and going back to the trenches: Insights from biotech disrupters” featuring four former pharma executives who are now running small biotech companies.
The seasoned panelists shared the triumphs and tribulations of moving from a large pharma to a small biotech but overwhelmingly said the risk is worth the reward. Jeremy Levin, former Teva Pharmaceuticals CEO and current Chairman & CEO of Ovid Therapeutics, highlighted the incredible impact of meeting with patients “eyeball to eyeball” and getting the opportunity to truly know your employees. His fellow panelists agreed and addressed the importance of cultivating an invigorating culture that motivates employees to perform at the highest level.
Tuesday afternoon began with an Executive Discussion, “Rare Diseases: The new norm?” Panelists focused on the potential for disruptive innovation within industry and academia partnerships, the FDA, and incorporating patients in the design of clinical trials. IIan Ganot, founder and CEO of Solid Biosciences and the father of a child with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, stressed the importance of listening to the patient.
“Patients really know the disease. We like to think we know, but they really know. If you can find a way to work with patients, it’s a great formula to be successful,” he said.
New this year was the Biotech Startup Day sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Innovation. After a series of panel discussions on funding opportunities and strategy, 20+ budding entrepreneurs had four minutes each to pitch their companies to a panel of experts and compete for a prize. Proteorex Therapeutics Inc. came out on top for their innovative technology and services to support drug discovery. Founder & CEO Aman Iqbal and his team won the use of a bench at one of Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s JLABS managed locations for three months and six months of mentorship from a Johnson & Johnson Innovation team member.
Other panels throughout the conference covered hot topics such as regenerative medicine, externalizing R&D, biomarkers, precision medicine, digital health, and big data. BioPharm America will return to Boston September 13-15, 2016.