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GapSummit 2017 – A Great Success – Recap of Days 1&2

GapSummit 2017 was a great success. 100 young, aspiring biotech Leaders of Tomorrow converged on Georgetown University in Washington D.C. from the 6th to the 10th June, to meet each other and current biotech luminaries.


The first two days explored current and future challenges related to patient-focused Pharmaceutical Research & Innovation, and Life Science Education.

The opening Keynote by Dr John Reed, Head of Pharma Research & Early Development at Roche, emphasized the importance of strategic collaboration and innovation coupled with diverse sources of biology. His speech about “Harnessing the Power of Biology Disruptive technology for a better healthcare future” presented current perspectives on the diverse biological sources driving life science discovery.

Dr. Reed attended the Idea Challenge poster session and was excited to hear about the innovative ideas proposed by LoTs to bridge the gaps in 21st Century bioeconomy.

Dr John Reed at the Voices of Tomorrow Idea Challenge poster session

The Research & Innovation Gap

Keynote Address

Dr. Anthony Coyle, Senior VP & Chief Scientific Officer, Pfizer, Centers for Therapeutic Innovation presented the Research & Innovation keynote. Dr. Coyle addressed the manner in which cutting-edge life science research is rapidly unravelling the most complex of problems. He also emphasised that in the current era, the right types of therapeutic need to be designed for the right types of patient.

Dr. Coyle highlighted the many challenges pertaining to Pharmaceutical Research & Innovation; one of those being an effective strategy to harness best the collaboration between Industry, Academia, and other Research Institutions. He further noted that there is a need to build a sustainable ecosystem that leverages collaboration in order to fulfil the current needs of the patients.

Panel Discussion

Research and Innovation comprises the foundation for new products, technologies, and solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. One of the keys to success in R&D is the adoption of new technologies that deliver an edge over the competition.

Dr John Mumm, Director of Immunoncology R&D at Medimmune LLC moderated a world-leading panel of scientists and innovators to discuss gaps in Research & Innovation consisting of:

  • Luis Gutierrez, MBA, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, National Institutes of Health (NIH) and BioHealth Innovation (BHI)
  • Dr Kuldeep Neote, Senior Director, J&J Innovation Center – Boston
  • Dr Paul Silber, Founding Principal, Blu Venture Investors
  • Dr Matthew Hall, PhD, Group Leader, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • And Dr Michael Stadnisky, CEO, FlowJo, LLC.

The panellists tackled the central question:

How do we support the need for innovative and groundbreaking R&D activities while satisfying stakeholders by delivering on commercial products?

Discussion among panellists and LoTs brought multiple perspectives to inform and stimulate innovation and technology transfer at all business scales. An overarching theme that emerged out of the panel discussion was that cooperation in the global biotech sector should involve government, academic, and industry representatives in a collaboration similar to that seen in space technology enterprises around the world.

An engaging conversation during Research & Innovation Gap Panel

Beyond Education Gap

Keynote Address

Dr Matthias Evers, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company presented opened the second session. Dr Evers addressed fundamental aspects of scientific training and leadership. He noted, “Leadership acumen is necessary to be a true science leader”. Dr Evers also emphasized the necessity of effective skills in collaboration as one enters the real world of employment.

Dr. Evers explaining the necessity of team-work and leadership traits in scientific field

Panel Discussion

Science students are now choosing careers outside of academia at higher rates than ever before. Contemporary PhDs must now leave graduate schools with a remarkable set of transferable skills and experiences that are valid for today’s bioeconomy in order to contribute effectively.

Dr Brindan Suresh, Partner, McKinsey & Company, chaired the panel session, alongside panellists:

  • Dr John Mumm, MedImmune
  • Dr Brian Pollok, Founder, President & CEO , Propagenix Inc
  • Dr Peter Espenshade, Associate Dean for Graduate Biomedical Education, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Dr Brooks Holtom, Professor, McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University
  • And Dan Roche, Mentor-in-Residence, Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures

The panel discussed specific strategies and skills that can be utilised to survive and thrive in the shifting scientific landscape. Flexibility was noted as key.

Learn to adapt to the gap.

McKinsey Workshop: Inspiring Yourself and Others – Becoming a True Scientific Entrepreneur

This interactive and energetic session helped LoTs to identify and explore some of the hallmarks of inspirational leaders across different fields of endeavor- including science and business.

What frequently defines distinctive leaders is the realization that in order to lead others, they must first be able to “lead self”, unlocking the strengths and deep passions that can form the basis of their success.

Industry Perspective Keynote

Closing off the formalities of the day Dr Bahija Jalal, PhD, Executive Vice President of AstraZeneca and Head of MedImmune, delivered the Industry Perspective Keynote.

Dr Bahija Jalal closes off the second day of GapSummit 2017

Dr Jalal emphasized the need for a vision to drive the discovery process but noted that:

Vision, without execution, is nothing.

Dr Jalal also addressed the upcoming trends in the treatment of cancer and highlighted the promise of immunotherapy for disruption at the disease level to fight cancer.

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