Posts Tagged personalized medicine
Immunotherapy, Bioinformatics, Devices: EPPICon 2017 Preview
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Big Data -Cloud -IoT-Software -Mobile -Entrepreneurship, Biotech - Medical Device - Life Science - Healthcare on March 20, 2017
One of the latest most talked about buzzwords in cancer treatment is “immunotherapy” where body’s immune system is used to wage a war against the cancer cells. Cancer cells divide rapidly than ordinary cells and manage to evade the immune system. The focus of a range of immunotherapies is to put body’s immune system on high alert so it can easily locate and destroy cancer cells.
This year, EPPICon (annual flagship conference at eppicglobal at www.eppicon.org) will focus on Immunotherapy, Bioinformatics, and Devices. Another recent buzzword, “bioinformatics” focuses on harnessing technological advances for management and analysis of data, for cancer immunology and immunotherapy. The hope is that more reliable and comprehensive picture can emerge of tumor genomics landscape and that can point a way towards more effective personalized medicine.
Immunotherapy often involves delivery of a cocktail of immune drugs to awaken the body’s immune system and put it in a “ready” mode to get rid of the cancer cells. Implantable devices can be used to provide regular dosages of medication for several days or everyday for a few weeks and can be used to make localized delivery. This convergence of technologies makes it an interesting time for treatment of cancer and other diseases.
EPPICon, EPPIC’s all day conference will be held on Saturday, March, 25th at Crowne Plaza, Burlingame, CA and has a fabulous lineup of keynotes, speakers, and panels.
Morning keynote, Ira Mellman is VP of Cancer Immunology at Genentech and has an illustrious career in solving most profound health problems with strong research, grounded in science. He spent 20 years at Yale University School of Medicine, prior to joining Genentech in 2007. After the keynote, the conference program will continue with excellent speakers and panels with a special speed pitch session thrown in, where startups looking for funding will have an opportunity to pitch to a panel of investors and receive critical feedback, in real time. At the end of the day, 2017 “EPPIC Eleven” awards will be given out to chosen startups, from around the globe.
To register for the conference, please go to www.eppicon.org .
Digital Health Panel Preview – EPPICon 2015
EPPIC annual conference is on March, 28 and early bird pricing will end on Monday, March 16. Here is a sneak peek at one of the panels.
Technology is impacting health in interesting ways and many exciting innovations in digital health are expected to change how diseases are tracked, reduce inefficiency in healthcare delivery, reduce costs, improve access to healthcare, increase quality, save resources, and make medicine more personalized. Digital health panel at EPPICon 2015 has diverse and interesting lineup of speakers.
Dr. David Persing, EVP, CMO, and CTO at Cepheid, had made an early resolve to have a positive impact on the world. Guided by intellectual curiosity, while doing his pre-med, he discovered “the power of diagnostics”. The company’s mission at Cepheid is to use the power of molecular diagnostics such that it would enable medical providers to identify and treat diseases early, increasing opportunities to improve patients’ survival and quality of life. Their cloud based platform, “The Digital Miasma” for monitoring of emerging infections earlier, is just launched and is in the implementation phase.
Panelist Deborah Profit is Director of Corporate Projects – Global Clinical & Business Operations for Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development and Commercialization. OPC, is headquartered in Tokyo and is known for popular sports drink Pocari Sweat and energy drink Oronamin C. OPC also developed Abilify, an approved drug treatment for certain mental illnesses, and as of 2013, annual sales of Abilify were over $8 billion a year, making it the highest grossing drug worldwide. You would wonder what has that to do with digital health, until you consider the fact that patient non-compliance is one of the biggest challenges in many illnesses but specifically in mental illnesses. Otsuka has recently made a deal with Proteus Digital Health for tracking medical adherence. Proteus system includes sensor-enabled pills that embed intelligence into the pills so that their ingestion can be precisely tracked. Personally, I am totally against drugs for mental illnesses, many of which do not work as expected; placebo effects are not well identified, clinical studies are often sponsored by drug companies and the list of side effects is daunting and being a psychologist, having seen side effects and heard them being discussed by my colleagues, I have developed absolute disgust for drugs for mental disorders.
Proteus “ingestible sensor” technology however, holds enormous promise for various indications, specifically for treatment and management of chronic conditions. Otsuka plans to make use of Proteus Digital Health’s feedback system in its clinical R&D, presumably for its oncology products.
The next panelist, Dr. Marsha Rose Gillentine is Director of Biotechnology/ Chemical Group at Sterne Kessler Goldstein Fox, LLP and has intimate knowledge and understanding of patent litigation strategy in small molecules, ploymorphs, chemical synthesis, pharmaceutical formulations, methods of treatment, drug delivery devices, animal models, vaccines, polymers and more. Her experience encompasses working with clients to implement lifecycle management strategies, specifically at it relates to personalized medicine patent portfolios.
Jared Heyman is founder and CEO of CrowdMed, a brilliant innovative site that takes connected health to a whole new plane. Often individuals afflicted with rare or neglected diseases, go from doctor to doctor, from pillar to post, just to accurate diagnosis and then they face whole set of new challenges for treatment. CrowdMed is seeking to solve most challenging medical cases, worldwide, with speed and accuracy online, by harnessing the collective wisdom of the crowd.
The Digital Health Panel at EPPICon 2015, will be an exciting panel. Agenda for the entire day looks very interesting and there will be plenty of opportunities for attendees to network and mingle with like-minded professionals. The conference is on Saturday, March 28th at Santa Clara Convention Center, in Santa Clara, CA. Early bird pricing has been extended till March, 16. Please register for the event at the link http://tinyurl.com/o4cj3ow or from www.eppicglobal.org .
OneMedForum – San Francisco, 2014
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Biotech - Medical Device - Life Science - Healthcare on January 27, 2014
The OneMed forum conference was launched in January of 2008, when economy was showing all signs of progressing to new heights, with an objective to showcase innovation in medtech. The conference aimed to bring together the companies and investors, during the large influx of healthcare investors and executives, during the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, in San Franciso. Fast forward to 2014 and we are perhaps just emerging from one of the worst recessions; a downturn that hit the medtech sector more than any other industry segment.
This year, the location of OneMed Forum was changed and the venue was moved further away from the JP Morgan Conference. Since the weather in SF was gorgeous, it was not a problem; but if the venue continues to be further away in future, and in the event of cold and rainy weather, it can have an impact and lower the attendance at future OneMed events. This year also OneMed event seemed to be sparsely attended, although that appearance might also be enhanced because the meeting rooms were spread out on two different floors and there wasn’t a single spill out location for the participants to meet and network – another problem with the venue.
There was also a palpable difference between the JP Morgan conference and the OneMed Forum, this year, in terms of optimism. While biotech and pharma sector is returning to pre-recession levels with a large number of IPOs and higher numbers of dollars raised, medical technology companies have yet to see significant investment dollars. On talking with the participants, I heard a note of disappointment regarding low attendance from VCs and other investors, just like in the last few years.
However, despite slow pickup and staggering growth in the medtech sector, it is transforming and the companies are learning to operate more efficiently. It is also recognized that healthcare is at a critical point and medical innovation will have to address some key challenges. Various panels and speakers at the OneMed Forum, addressed the changing healthcare landscape and how the future of health and medicine will need to be shaped, in the coming years to address the key issues.
Personalized Medicine Panel discussed the promise offered by customized diagnosis and treatments, in lowering the cost and increasing effectiveness. Panel sessions addressing the JOBS Act and the Affordable Care Act, explored the impact of the legislation on cost of care and access to care. Companies and solutions that may be poised to offer effective healthcare solutions and may also present interesting investment opportunities were highlighted. In somewhat grim medtech landscape, digital health is emerging as the hottest new trend, with much potential. The Digital Health panel discussed the impact of Affordable Care Act in increasing information transparency and empowered consumers taking greater control of their health information. The changing role of the patients/ consumers will require change in the healthcare delivery and transformation in the business model.
A panel addressing “reimbursement strategy after the affordable care act”, discussed impact of medicare payment rules on medtech and hospital markets. The panel also discussed trends in coverage and payment for newly emerging molecular diagnostic tests. One key advice from the panel was that thinking upfront about the reimbursement strategy will be increasingly more important for companies with new, innovative products. A panelist also suggested that during clinical trials, companies can also think about reimbursement and instead of doing only what may be required by the FDA, if they can also collect reimbursement data then they would come out ahead. During innovation, the companies should relentlessly focus on disease management, and that would lead to them to appropriate and effective reimbursement strategy, advised the panel.
Financing and IPO issues were addressed in various panels. One interesting panel on Crowdfunding discussed a handful of portals that are beginning to raise some capital for emerging growth companies. One investor who was attending the panel, later told me, that it is too early to give an opinion on what kind of success this strategy would yield, but he had some grave concerns. AdvaMed CEO’s Unplugged Panel featured some of top leaders of the MedTech industry, who shared their insights on key challenges facing the industry. Stuart Randle, CEO of GI Dynamics advised startups to focus on crucial healthcare issues including obesity. He also advise companies to pursue capital intensive strategy, and at least initially sell products outside the US. Scott Brooks, CEO of Regenesis Biomedical, advised startups to get good legal and regulatory counsel early on. Patrick Daly, CEO of Cohera Medical was optimistic about the future of MedTech. “IPOs are coming back, M&A is picking up, and dollars are rolling in, big companies have record levels of cash, and I feel positive”, he said.
One of the most prolific financiers, Bill Hambrecht gave a keynote address. Hambrecht has over 500 IPO’s to his credit that include seed level funding in nascent industries. Although I did not attend the keynote, I heard some highly positive comments from an attendee. Steven Burrill, who has been at the helm of innovation in healthcare and shares and who regularly shares his insights through his annual reports, gave a second keynote. Again, I missed the address but both keynotes were major highlights of the event. Throughout the conference, over 800 emerging companies gave presentations. Following the presentations, partnering and breakout sessions gave the opportunity for conference delegates to meet the CEO’s of these companies.
Although it may seem hard to believe, it appears that now the MedTech sector has nowhere to go but up. The industry has learned some hard lessons, the companies are lean, operating with greater efficiency, spending cash wisely, and instead of hawking next new technology, they are focused on key problems facing the healthcare industry, and on providing effective solutions. If the healthcare providers are not eager to incorporate some of the solutions, then it will happen out of necessity. It will become incumbent upon the healthcare industry to implement solutions offering greater ROI in terms of improved health and lower cost. Healthcare providers will be looking for solutions that provide digital and point of care diagnosis and health monitoring and treatment options and solutions from personalized medicine and genomic health. Let us stay tuned for some cool innovations from the MedTech sector in 2014. Senior Analyst at Wells Fargo, Larry Biegelsen has also observed that not only acceleration in healthcare spending is expected in 2014 but there are number of other tailwinds including, “emerging technologies and emerging markets contributing more to growth and a more industry-friendly FDA, which should lead to faster approval times for medical devices”.
“Solving the Challenges of DNA Sequencing for Molecular Diagnostics” talk by Stefan Roever, CEO, Genia Technologies
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Biotech - Medical Device - Life Science - Healthcare on April 4, 2012
Stefan Roever (www.geniachip.com) began his talk (at http://www.bio2devicegroup.org) by affirming that in the future, without a doubt, molecular diagnostics will be dominated by DNA sequencing. Sequencing will be everything, said Roever. Using the blood test analogy, where when RBC count is needed, the physician might likely order a comprehensive profile, similarly in future, complete sequencing might be ordered. The high cost however, remains a big challenge. At the current cost of $50K to $100K for a sequencing instrument, the Molecular Diagnostics (MDx) industry cannot scale to support the vision of personalized medicine by complete gene sequencing. Without scale, there is little standardization as the existing companies use many different platforms. The existing DNA sequencers utilize a complex workflow and rely on complicated optics or amplification, which does not lend themselves to clinical utility.
Genia uses standard semiconductor technology that can enable massively parallel, single molecule DNA sequencing, that is highly accurate. Genia’s key proprietary innovations around the nanopore allow single molecules of single stranded DNA, to move through the pore slowly, so the sequence can be measured accurately. This single molecule, electrical, real-time analysis can be done without the need for complicated optics, labels, amplification, or fluidics. There are therefore, no amplification errors and it is better for rare event detection, like infectious disease. Genia’s technology also offers the ability to re-read. Genia’s key proprietary innovations, its automated bilayer pore setup, allows for scalability and ease of use. Also Genia’s IC achieves 30fA noise preference so the sensor itself is truly transformative and allows very small electrical signals (~0.2 pA current levels) to be seen high above the noise floor. This is a key challenge that many other nanopore companies are currently struggling with. The data shows that with highly accurate analog electronics and clever data analysis techniques, single base discrimination is possible, and adequate SNR can be reached to perform DNA sequencing. Genia’s mission is to “unify Moore’s Law with biotechnology to make genetic information universally available”, said Roever. By developing a true integrated circuit on standard semiconductor process technology, Genia is hoping that it will revolutionize the world of DNA sequencing.