The keynote session featured a fireside chat with Dr. Reid Huber, Partner at Third Rock Ventures and former Chief Scientific Officer of Incyte. He was interviewed by Cokie Roberts, ABC News Political Commentator, NPR Contributing Senior News Analyst and member of Moffitt’s National Board of Advisors.
Describing emerging companies, Huber explained that it begins with an ideation phase during which a scientific idea is “explored deeper” by the academic advisors within a firm. A company is then created around the scientific idea with two major components: the initial therapeutic drug discovery program and future product engine with successful drug targets. The application of ideation to product in the clinic can be a decade long process.
Huber added now is the time to use the tremendous progress in technology on innovations, like genome editing, cellular therapies and improved therapeutic methods. Due to the present day technological advancements, the industry has the necessary tools to carry out high quality and unbiased studies in the labs to answer more extensive questions.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a hot topic in today’s growing digital health field. AI is being used to advance patient record storage, drug discovery, diagnosis and decision making. Panelists in this breakout session explained how AI shapes the work in the areas of assisted disease diagnosis, drug discovery, cyber security and data analytics. Attendees came away with a better understanding of what AI is and how close we are to hearing “the robot will see you now.”
The moderator of this session led a discussion on how to make clinical pathways more user-friendly with artificial intelligence. The panel discussed how pathway development should lead to dialogue between treatment providers and payers to better inform payers of the optimal treatment options.
The cell therapies boom has resulted in a massive spike in Investigation of New Drug applications. With the U.S. Food and Drug Administration expecting to receive more than 200 applications for new cell therapy trials in 2020, the agency has increased its oversight and guidance of these groundbreaking therapies. Panelists in this session explained how significant trial design, ethics and drug safety is to the approval of cell therapy products.
Attendees of this session learned about the significance of cell therapy technology as a commercial application and its revolutionary role in oncology. The panel elaborated on the challenges to scale-up production of the engineered cells. Processes can slow down and production can become expensive. Another big challenge is expanding cell therapies from hematological malignancies to solid tumors. Patient advocacy is required in highlighting the success of cell therapy and industry collaborations foster support for discoveries.
To learn more about the Office of Innovation and Industry Alliances at Moffitt call 813-745-6828 or email Innovation@Moffitt.org.