Recently, I attended Innovation in Life Sciences as a Driver for Growth held at the Harvard Medical School in Boston. It is one of the French American Innovation Day (FAID) events that bring together scientists, industries and investors in state-of-the-art technologies. This life science event invites French and American researchers to help pave the way for new collaborations between the two countries, and explore the latest research in the biotech/life science industry.
Day One was organized around round tables featuring executives and creators of (often) local biotech and biomedical companies. Topics focused on the paradigm between cooperation and competition between companies, the challenges of academia-industry collaboration, the hurdles and rewards of entrepreneurship, and the implications of the patient-centric approach to medical research. The keynote address was given by Joshua Boger, founder of Vertex, who is now Executive Chairman of Alkeus Pharmaceuticals. His enthusiasm and visionary approach to innovation in pharma certainly gave the audience optimism and confidence at a time when life science activity faces challenges. It was great to chat with him after his talk.
Day Two featured a panel of 10 start-up and small size biotech companies who had an opportunity to present themselves to the audience. For differentiation purposes, most of them focused on still unmet medical needs or orphan disease using biologics.
There was plenty time during the event to network with scientists from well-known companies including Shire Pharma, AbbVie, MedImmune, Sanofi, academic institutions, government agencies and lesser known, smaller, biotech companies e.g. Innotrem, ViThera, HiFiBio, Hemova, Sensorion, and many others.
The Boston area hosts numerous scientific gatherings and opportunities for peer to peer interaction but this one is e definitely ranked at the top of the priority list.