J&J Innovation’s Marian Nakada (left) hanging with some of our attendees as an onlooker anxiously spots the line for coffee.
Samantha Singer (The Broad Institute) and Matt Ottmer (Biogen) smile for the camera.
Clare Midgley of the Broad Institute kicked things off with some remarks about the Broad’s mission.
Standing room only for our CAR-T talk (if you squint you can see Unum Therapeutics CEO Chuck Wilson and Fidelity Biosciences partner Ben Auspitz)
As these attendees (including Flagship Ventures CEO Noubar Afeyan, middle) can attest, bring a pen and notepad.
When Susan Lindquist first asked Tony Coles to lead the company based on her research (now known as Yumanity Therapeutics), he declined. But Coles soon became enamored with the science, and the challenge. ““When I die, what will be on my tombstone, will it be that I held some great jobs? Or that I wanted to make a difference?”
One of the points Vertex Pharmaceuticals's David Altshuler (right) made is that many of the clinical failures of the past decade weren’t an indictment of genomics---they were projects from the 90s, before the Human Genome Project. “Go look at what those projects were. What were they based upon? What was the logic? They were from a previous era,” he said.
Jim Collins (left) and Amir Nashat (right) gave a realistic view of what synthetic biology has, and hasn’t yet accomplished---and the mistakes the field made in the past. “It’s a cautionary tale for investors,” Collins said. “You’ve got to do your due diligence.”
Borisy said there is a “revolution” underway in how clinical trials are being run, both in the U.S. and abroad. He noted the “Lung Cancer Master Protocol,” a collaborative, multi-drug cancer study with a single control arm. “This is a radical proposition,” he said. “There are multiple of these getting underway.”
J&J's Marian Nakada (right) and PureTech’s Bernat Olle (left) spoke about how relationships and trust were some of the key factors that led to the January deal between Vedanta Biosciences and J&J.
Steve Paul acknowledged that gene therapy, despite its progress, is still in its early days. So is his company, Voyager Therapeutics---which is 14 months old yet is now poised for an IPO, as we wrote yesterday.
Peter Kolchinsky posed a few provocative questions. One of them was whether gene therapy companies might be forced to address more difficult biological problems if carrier testing is broadly adopted. (OvaScience CEO Michelle Dipp, at right, moderated the gene therapy panel featuring Kolchinsky).
While things look great for Boston biotech, Noubar Afeyan warned attendees that the good times might not continue. Affordable lab space is disappearing. The local scene must continue to grow to compensate.
Wilson and Auspitz traded perspectives on the entrepreneur and investor point of view on CAR-T, a form of cancer immunotherapy that’s produced very exciting, yet early clinical results.
These two are either approving of the water or the content. I’m going with the content.
Attendees had the option of mingling, or staring at the hypnotic eye puzzle on TV in the background.
Some life lessons were dispensed after all the scientific lessons in the Broad’s auditorium.
What’s Hot in Boston Biotech? Just about everything—but don’t mistake that for meaning the good times will roll on forever.
As I wrote last week, that was one of the main themes of our latest biotech event at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Today I’m circling back with the photos so you can get a taste of the action.
Once again, thanks to our attendees for packing the house, and our speakers and moderators for putting on a great show. Great thanks, too, to our event host, Biogen, the Broad Institute for turning over its beautiful auditorium, our national partner Alexandria Real Estate Equities, and to the event sponsors: ALT, Cote Orphan, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, and Mintz Levin.
Finally, thanks to Keith Spiro of Keith Spiro Photography for these photos. See you all again soon.