The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council’s annual conference may have ended last week, but this year’s theme “State of Possible” will continue to forge on in the global biotech industry. Once again this year, Beacon had the pleasure of being a part of the large and diverse biotech scene that attends the conference and to network with old colleagues and many of the greatest minds in the industry.

A few of the key subjects that stood out during the conference included:

  • 2018 saw a big leap forward in gene therapy. With RNAi approved and CRISPR gene editing technology beginning its first human trial, the future holds promise of cured disease and new treatments
  • AI will play an active role in drug discovery. From patient mapping and data discernment to precision clinical trial recruitment, 2019 will see an increase in AI’s role in the clinic
  • Patient access/supply chain metrics will be key moving into 2020. There is a great need to track who’s profiting on a brand after it leaves the manufacturer, for both transparency and to mitigate payer pushback on new treatments. Evolution of the value equation will be paramount in improving access as well as increasing innovation in the coming years
  • Disease genetics will help address the challenges of innovation in large population diseases (fully mapped phenotypes/genetic profiling). This will allow for a focus on the mechanism of the disease, empowering therapeutic areas such as neurodegenerative diseases and cardiology to begin to catch up to oncology
  • Start-up/biotech challenges will remain—at least for the time being. Investors are becoming more cautious early on. Proof of concept trials must now include a higher degree of reproducible evidence, and include plans of future commercialization and market potential sooner, many times prior to entering the clini
  • Future trials in areas such as neurodegenerative disease will need to move away from weak endpoints (subjective screening/measures). Manufacturers will need to begin using new, stronger endpoints and clinical measures (high def imaging, biomarkers, etc). Early intervention and recruiting diverse patient populations will be key for early-phase trials to better set the stage for later pivotal trials

From the scientists in the university labs dedicating their time to finding new compounds and cures, to the law enforcement agents reporting on the opioid epidemic and how they are creating programs to avoid arrests and lead to recoveries, the meeting was once again a huge success.

Please contact us if you have any questions about last week’s MassBio convention or would like to find out more about how Beacon is partnering with the biotech community.

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