MassBio Annual Meeting: Event Highlights

March 26, 2018 by Simona Mills, PMP, Senior Manager, Product Lifecycle Management

Key highlights from the 2018 MassBio Annual Meeting.

MassBio is a non-profit organization that represents and provides support for the life sciences supercluster in Massachusetts.  MassBio is committed to growing the industry, adding value to healthcare, and improving the lives of patients through an unmatched network of companies.  The organization’s Annual Meeting, which was held in none other than Cambridge, MA on March 21 and 22 was every bit as impressive as the mission that MassBio has undertaken.

Two members of ProPharma Group’s Product Management group were in attendance at this meeting and the breadth of knowledge and expertise left them in awe.  Attendance at the meeting was a virtual who’s who of the biotech industry, and included many of the people who started biotech in the US.  These “rock stars” told stories of how products we take for granted today were developed with as much luck as science.

Though there were many impressive discussions, panels, and topics, a few key points were of great interest;

  • Diversity and inclusion in the workplace
    • Inclusion is the goal, diversity is simply a metric (an important one at that)
  • Drug pricing and therapy availability are of great interest not only to patients, but to those in this industry
    • How does the pharma industry improve its image – through outlining what pharma means to the patient
  • Philanthropy, philanthropy, philanthropy
    • Fund research – it could be the next product you bring to market
    • If you can’t fund financially, donate your time through company-hosted career days, teaching, or speaking engagements
    • Open your labs to students (elementary through high school and beyond)
  • Failures are inevitable, it is what you do with the information that will set you up for success
  • Partnership with patients and physicians will aid tremendously in R&D and selection of the next candidate
  • Digital Therapy – it just might be the next big thing in “biotech”
  • Biotech Ph.D candidates from Harvard, MIT, and Tufts University discussed the future of biotech
    • Roughly $9.8 billion USD / year are spent in Massachusetts on biotech research
  • Issues and complexities surround gene therapy and regenerative technologies, including the need for capacity in vectors, promotors, and viruses to support the growth of biotech

The meeting concluded with a key note address from the Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Planning, Legislation, and Analysis of the FDA.  She outlined what steps the FDA has taken since 2016 to increase reviews and approvals of various filings as well as what the next two years look like for the FDA, as delineated by the current administration. Some key numbers included generic product approvals, which were up by more than 200 approvals over the previous highest year, including five biosimilars.

The threat of a Boston Nor’easter could not stop the industry leaders from attending the event to discuss the most critical challenges facing the Massachusetts biopharma industry.  The Annual Meeting covered innovative breakthroughs, startups, new business ventures, and many groundbreaking advancements in the industry.

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