GapSummit 2017 – Recap of Days 3 and 4

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. Read on for a recap of some of the highlights of days 3 and 4 of the GapSummit 2017.

The Precision Medicine Gap

Keynote Address

The precision medicine keynote was delivered by Dr. Vik Bajaj, Chief Scientific Officer, GRAIL; Co-Founder and Chair of Science Board, Google Verily.

Dr. Bajaj presented the future perspectives of cancer immunotherapy, issuing a challenge to the field with regard to the necessity of rigorous scientific evidences and clinical validation saying

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

and the field must provide solutions that “Detect cancer early, when it can be cured.”

Dr. Bajaj emphasized the future needs related to personalized medicine: 1) Powerful tech platforms; 2) Large clinical trials capacity; and 3) Rigorous data science.

Dr Bajaj delivering the Precision Medicine keynote.

Panel Discussion

The panel was chaired by Dr David Litwack, Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health, FDA, and was comprised of:

  • Stephanie Devaney, PhD, Deputy Director, All of Us Research Program, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Carolyn Hutter, PhD, Acting Director, Division of Genome Sciences, National Human Genome Institute, NIH;
  • Jonathan Jazayeri, PharmD Regulatory Affairs Director, AstraZeneca;
  • Christian Hinrichs, MD, Lasker Clinical Research Scholar, National Cancer Institute, NIH; and
  • Michael Henderson, MD, VP of Asset Acquisition, Strategy, and Operations, BridgeBio.

The panel discussed the next steps in the evolution of genomic medicine, next generation sequencing, autologous cell and gene therapy, and much more. Key question that were broached included “How will we process and interpret genomic information at the level of the providers?”  “How do we enforce regulation for products made from autologous patient tissue when the protocols for ‘living drugs’ are being written in real-time?” and “How do we manage price controls when therapies are crafted for each individual patient?” The emerging theme was that:

Personalized healthcare not only redefines the way we treat patients; it fundamentally disrupts how we develop, regulate, and deliver medicine.


Science Policy and Regulation Gap

Keynote Address

Jim Greenwood, President and CEO, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) delivered the Science Policy and Regulation Keynote at GapSummit 2017. Mr Greenwood highlighted the three pillars of bio-ecosystem: innovators, investors, and institutions.

Panel Discussion

This session discussed novel ideas for regulating biotechnology while promoting scientific innovation, and adapting the current regulation model to accommodate new scientific breakthroughs such as personalized medicine, digital health, and gene therapies. The panel was chaired by Dr Robert Graboyes, Senior Research Fellow, Mercatus Center, George Mason University, and comprised:

  • Julie Garner, Director, Government Affairs, AstraZeneca;
  • Hudson Freeze, PhD, President, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB);
  • David Litwack, PhD, Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health, FDA;
  • Gary Andres, PhD, Senior Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, BIO; and
  • Scott McGoohan, JD, Director, US Regulatory Policy and Intelligence, Vertex Pharmaceuticals.

One of the main themes of discussion was how current changes in the political landscape will affect science policy. The panel also discussed strategies for accelerating bench to bedside through the reduction of regulatory hurdles and improved regulations.

The Science Policy and Regulation Gap Panel


The Sustainability Gap

Micro and Macro Perspectives Keynote

Sustainability crosscuts each gap in today’s bioeconomy. At the micro level, discussion of this gap encompassed how to sustain venture capital and a diverse, effectual workforce to support growing regional biotech and bio-based economies. The macro topics took a global perspective on the influence of human activities on the environment and feedback on human health & disease.

Scientific enterprise plays a critical role in supporting sustainable policies and developing innovative technologies that meet the challenges of the 21st century. Overall, the session addressed challenges and risks to the sustainability of scientific enterprise, regional growth, and global health, leveraging diverse perspectives and backgrounds.

Dr Arturo Casadevall, Chair & Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health presented the keynote for this session. Dr Casadevall highlighted the importance of scientific integrity and ethics in improving the reproducibility in scientific research.

Dr Arturo Casadevall delivers his keynote address to the 100 Leaders of Tomorrow

Lightning Talks

The keynote was followed by a series of “Lighting Talks” from Stephanie Batchelor, Director of State and International Policy, BIO; and Ben Gruitt, Director of Sustainability and Advanced Bioproducts, Corn Refiner’s Association. One of the emerging themes during these talks was that technology innovation can significantly advance the bio-based economy. However, drug discovery has become slower and more expensive over time, despite improvements in technology. Ben Gruitt presented a fresh perspective on how developing bio-based economies has incredible potential in many fields including health and agriculture.


The Technology Gap

Panel Discussion

This session discussed the process of innovation and the partnerships necessary to launch successful products. GapSummit 2017 Leaders of tomorrow had an opportunity to engage in a dialogue with different players in the field including tech startups, accelerators and incubators, VCs, and pharmaceutical partners. The panel was chaired by Pavel Khrimian, Associate Director, Partnering & Strategy at MedImmune, and consisted of:

  • Kim Smyth, Technology Innovation Director, AstraZeneca
  • Kyp Sirinakis  Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Epidarex Capital
  • Julia Belaya, Corporate Partnerships, Plug and Play Tech Center
  • Andrew Greenberg  Digital Health Lead, Accenture
  • Neeta Jain, Chief Technology Officer, Vibrent Health

Investment continues to increase at a rapid pace in health technology. Information technology and artificial intelligence are emerging as important tools in 21st Century healthcare practice that may fundamentally change the way we think about diagnosing, monitoring, and treating patients. The session also illustrated how healthcare is perhaps, overregulated increasing the cost of innovation, and has had a history of failing to implement ambitious IT projects. However, the speakers presented an optimistic perspective on the gathering momentum towards a digital health future and how investment into digital health care has soared.

The Digital Health Panel

Keynote Addresses

The technology keynotes were presented by Dr Philip Nelson, Director of Engineering, Google Accelerated Sciences and Michael S. Weiner, Chief Medical Information Officer, IBM Healthcare. Both speakers highlighted the vast amounts of data being generated by high tech devices and posed the challenge of how to apply this information to improve healthcare, noting:

This is a time for a digital revolution in healthcare through cognitive computing that understands, reasons, learns and interacts.


The Voices of Tomorrow Idea Challenge Competition

The IDEA Challenge Competition was a cornerstone of the GapSummit 2017. It was designed to provide a platform for aspiring leaders in biotechnology and life sciences worldwide to develop and implement breakthrough solutions to one of the six gaps in biotechnology. Twenty teams were formed from the 100 Leaders of Tomorrow and were assigned to one of the 6 gaps to develop an innovative idea to help solve the pressing challenges facing the global bioeconomy between now and 2050. Guided by mentors, the teams met and worked together virtually between March and May to develop an initial project proposal outlining their idea. From these twenty teams, finalists were chosen to refine and pitch their ideas to close off the GapSummit 2017, with the winners sharing in $10,000 in cash prizes.

The Judges and other LoTs listening to pitches from the Idea Challenge finalists.

The winning teams:

1st Prize – Team Kosmopolites, with their idea for “Production of Biodegradable Packaging Material Using 3D Printing Technology and Freeze Dried Waste Fungal Biomass.”

Team Kosmopolites was made up of Team Captain Alexandra Cuaycal, Jessica Chiang, Elena Loche, Sofia Jarbur and Aida Affandi, and was mentored by Kodi Kandasamy.

Team Kosmopolites

2nd Prize – Team EverGreen, with their idea “ENERGY SPACES, Renewable biofuel from atypical space.”

Team EverGreen was made up of Team Captain Olivier Nijhuis, Joseph Kennerley, Ricardo Medina, Boris Castillo and Ibrahim Juneidi, and was mentored by Alexey Tomsov.

Team EverGreen

3rd Prize – Team PharmAcademix, with their idea “rePosit: A positive spin on negative data.”

Team PharmAcademix was made up of Team Captain Robert Hanson, Weijie Poh, John Goertz and Henson Lee Yu, and was mentored by Mads Emil Matthiesen.

Team PharmAcademix

Poster Prize Winners

1st place: Team Project Cubix.
Shang-Jui Tsai*, Mikael Boberg, Brooke Stephanian, Obinna Nnewuihe and Matthew Liebers
Mentor: Sybil Wong

2nd place: Team STEM the Gap
Lambert Potin*, Wilfred Espulgar, Selina Thamim Ansari, Vicente Navarro and Christopher Ghadban
Mentor: Nadine Bongaerts

3rd place=: Team Green GAP Group (G3)
Laura Blake*, Sandilla Tristiany, Mie Monti, Alex Keller and Oliver Degerstedt
Mentor: Elliot Roth

3rd Place=: Team Connect
Benjamin Portney *, Wen Chiy Liew, Christine Wiyono, Romina Paillao and Brent Chamberlain.
Mentor: Dr Sheng-hong Chen

(*Team Captain)

Congratulations to all the winners!

The GlobalBiotechRevolution Team would like to extend congratulations to the GS17 Executive Team, as well as a huge thank you to the LoTs, volunteers and media partner for making GapSummit 2017 such a great event.

We would also like to extend our thanks to our Partners for GapSummit2017 – Diamond Sponsor: AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals & MedImmune, Gold Sponsor McKinsey & Company, Bronze Sponsors Amgen and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and host Georgetown McDonough School of Business. GapSummit 2017 wouldn’t have been possible without your contribution to its success.

Categories: Blog, News

Tags: GapSummit 2017

Comments closed for this post.