BIO 2020 Highlights

Last month we attended the first completely virtual BIO conference. We met with many innovative companies and are looking forward to supporting their partnering activities as well as commercial and development strategy efforts. If you didn’t get a chance to meet with us during BIO, but would still like to meet, just send us a message!

We would like to highlight the panel hosted by Toshio Fujimoto, MBA, MD, General Manager of Shonan Health Innovation Park, Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd. titled “How an Innovation Ecosystem Enables Growth During Times of Crisis and Beyond”. Our CEO, President, and Founder, Andrew McKee, was a panelist for this session and it received a “Best of BIO” designation from BIO2020. You can watch this panel discussion here.

A few of the sessions that piqued our interest included:

  • “Leading Through Crisis: Speaking Up and Out on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Issues Impacting our World”. This session was moderated by BIO’s President and CEO, Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath and panelists included Dr. Tony Coles, CEO and Chair of the Board of Cerevel Therapeutics LLC; Dr. Ted Love, President and CEO of Global Blood Therapeutics; and Dr. Jeremy Levin, CEO of Ovid Therapeutics Inc. The most compelling analogy was made by Dr. Coles when he called the dehumanization of Black people a mutation in our social DNA. He described how previously we thought targeted therapies, such as the Voting Rights Act or Civil Rights Act, were a cure when what we really need is to CRISPR the mutation out of our social DNA.

  • “Fireside Chat with Dr. Anthony Fauci”. Dr. McMurry-Heath conducted an informative interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the NIH. During their conversation Dr. Fauci states that his “worst nightmare” includes the emergence of a new infection that 1. is from an animal host, 2. is respiratory born, 3. has a high degree of transmissibility, and 4. has a significant degree of morbidity and mortality. COVID-19 is the first time all 4 characteristics have been fulfilled and has turned out to be his worst nightmare.

  • “State of Emerging Therapeutic Company Investment, Deal-making, and Pipeline”. David Thomas, BIO’s VP of Industry Analysis, provided an overview of recent investment and deal trends, including an update on the COVID-19 R&D pipeline and impacts to deals. This presentation was packed with informative data from the top 15 VC raises for 2019 in the US totaling $2.9B (over 50% in oncology) to a report on the 2020 year to date FDA approvals coming in at 18 and predicted to likely surpass 2019 with over 50 approvals compared to 44 (in 2019). He also detailed the industry response to COVID-19 showing that in a short 20 weeks from when the SARS-COV2 sequence was published, over 550 unique drug programs launched.

BIO2020 had a heavy focus on COVID-19 and our responsibilities as members of the scientific community to all collaborate and do what we can to overcome this pandemic together. We wish all of you well and respect the hard work that each of you are contributing to take on this pandemic.

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