26 November 2018

Conference report: New Frontiers — How technology is reshaping healthcare, and how patients and providers can profit


Consilium Strategic Communications, Berenberg, Cooley and Westwicke Partners’ Annual Healthcare Conference 2018

Consilium Strategic Communications and sponsors Berenberg, Cooley and Westwicke Partners were delighted to host their sixth annual healthcare conference on November 13, 2018 in London.
Around 250 delegates attended the busy event, which had a thought-provoking agenda but left plenty of time for that all-important networking.

In his keynote speech, Tom Lynch – chairman of Evofem Biosciences and Board member of GW Pharma – told delegates: “It’s great to see what we have contributed to making people better. We’re at a very exciting time but it’s clear what tasks lie ahead of us that we have to deliver on.”

The first panel session of the day was entitled ‘Venture Forth – How New Types of Capital are Changing the Investment Model for Healthcare’. The discussion was moderated by Charles Weston, senior equity research analyst at Berenberg, who welcomed Naveed Siddiqi – former Partner at Andera Partners, Victor Christou – CEO of Cambridge Innovation Capital, Eva-Lotta Allan, Chairman of C4X Discovery, Tom Burt – Partner at Sofinnova Partners, and Mike Townend – Chief Investment Officer at IP Group. The panel emphasized the value of thinking carefully about your investment strategy, choosing wisely, and determining in advance what impact your investment partner will have on your business and whether this fits your goals.

The next panel session was entitled ‘Advanced Therapies – Beyond Coming of Age’. Here, the discussion was moderated by Suki Virji, Associate Partner at Consilium, with Chris Hollowood – Chief Investment Officer of Syncona, John Brown – Chairman of the Cell & Gene Therapy Catapult, Annalisa Jenkins – Chairman of Cell Medica and Board member of Oncimmune, James Noble – CEO of Adaptimmune, and Bharatt Chowrira – President and Chief of Business and Strategy, PureTech Health. The panellists had a lively conversation with topics ranging around whether advanced therapies had really come of age, when was the right time to invest in manufacturing and scale up, whether regulators were fit-for-purpose, and whether investors were valuing advanced therapy companies correctly. Their conclusions were:

  • Advanced therapies have come of age scientifically, but not commercially
  • There is no right time to invest in manufacturing that works for everyone
  • Regulators are supportive and forward-thinking, but there is a way to go
  • Investors are struggling to value these companies correctly as there is no viable commercial model yet

The final panel of the day, ‘Making the AI Revolution Permanent’, was moderated by John Wilkinson, a Partner at Cooley. He was joined by Lord (Paul) Drayson – CEO of Sensyne Health, Shane de Bhrun-Smith – Life Sciences Investment Analyst at Canaccord Genuity, Jean-Pol Detiffe – founder and CEO of OncoDNA, and Clive Dix – CEO of C4X Discovery. The promise of artificial intelligence was highlighted by all three company CEOs, who explained that huge amounts of healthcare data are being generated that was now capable of being analysed at an affordable cost. The insights that could be derived using artificial intelligence can’t be done by any other means. Companies are learning to be clearer about how and why they were applying AI within their businesses, and there was a real opportunity to create a HealthTech ecosystem that could sit alongside the pharma and biotech industry.

The agenda concluded with a fireside chat which saw Michael Hayden – former president of global R&D and CSO of Teva – speaking to Mike Ward, chief content officer of Informa Pharma Insights. The conversation spanned Michael’s long and illustrious career, including highlights such as developing the world’s first approved gene therapy, as well as disappointments such as seeing it fail commercially. They discussed Michael’s excitement at forming a series of biotech companies from assets that came out of his time at Teva; His advice for those at the start of their careers? “Never take ‘no’ for an answer. ‘No’ is just the start of the conversation. Turn the ‘no’ into a ‘maybe’, and then go for the ‘yes’.”

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