California is home to the largest concentration of biotechnology companies in the world. They are responsible for 27 percent of the nation’s biomedical pipeline and they received $2.6 billion in venture capital investment in 2011, by far the largest sum for any state.
For the first time ever, California’s life sciences companies will have a statewide conference to call their own. Organized by BayBio and BIOCOM, with support from CHI, CALBIO2012: Driven by Patients will be the first West Coast conference to capitalize on the growing involvement of disease foundations in the biotech business model.
In addition to being strategic funders of innovation, disease foundations are an important resource for R&D tools. Biomarkers, animal models, and patient registries can help accelerate the development of new therapies.
For instance, the Myelin Repair Foundation supported the discovery of 24 new research tools to advance research for potential multiple sclerosis therapeutics. The Melanoma Research Alliance awarded over $30 million to 73 research programs. The Michael J. Fox Foundation developed a clinical trial registry to connect patients and clinicians.
As the voice of patients, disease foundations are essential to advancing treatments through the FDA. It’s imperative that industry and foundations collaborate to enact reforms that will allow greater access to breakthrough treatments.
Patient access, risk and reform at the FDA, new business models and financing are the most pressing issues facing our industry. Former FDA Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach, Steve Walker, John Crowley, George Scangos, Jim Greenwood and Congressman Brian Bilbray will address these challenges during their plenary keynotes. Nearly 110 speakers on 24 panels will expand on the topics. More than 200 companies are registered for partnering meetings between industry, investors and disease foundations.
Our hope is that CALBIO2012 will lay the groundwork for stronger relations between companies and patients that accelerate research, discovery and development. Follow the conversation on Twitter at #calbio2012.