5th BOSTON PARIS BIOTECHNOLOGY SUMMIT™
Virtual, 30 Sept. 2021, 9:30AM – 3:30 PM US EDT
The 5th Boston Paris Biotechnology Summit was held virtually on 30 September 2021. Over 300 professionals registered to take part, the majority from Boston and France but with representatives from 10 countries in all. Attendees mostly came from the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries (CEO, C-level, Business Development, R&D etc.) but academics, biopharmaceutical professionals in academic programs, expert consultants, CROs, law firms and recruitment agencies were also represented.
Summit Opening Section:
Soheila Gharakhanian, President of Blend of Concept LLC (Cambridge MA), summit producers, introduced the 2021 Summit and welcomed the audience. “Good morning Boston and North America, Bon après-midi à nos amis et collègues en France, and Hello to our all colleagues from the European, American, Asian and African continents. We launched the First Edition of the Summit in 2017 at Institut Pasteur in Paris, France. The principal goal was to create synergies between Boston, the Gold Standard of the global Biotech Ecosystem, and Paris, one of the most dynamic European cities in terms of Innovation, Science and Technology. American leaders and speakers thus had an opportunity to meet their French counterparts in Paris and share their perspectives. It was an outstanding success! Our initiative was applauded by the community who voted massively for a repeat. The Boston Paris Biotechnology Summit thus became a major transmission channel for the sharing of skills, a robust means of cooperation, and a cost-effective forum that could add value for participants. In other words it offered a bridge to connect Talents, Companies, Institutions and Leaders from both sides of the Atlantic. Today we are here for the 5th Edition, driven by the same passion, energy and pleasure. The 5th Edition forms a continuum with its four predecessors. There is continuity in terms of content, continuity in terms of interactions between companies before and after the Summit, continuity in terms of trust and support, continuity in terms of addressing the needs and challenges of companies, and last but not least continuity in terms of discussing new visions and innovative platforms. To make this continuity work, a true sense of cohesion is essential. To date, over 100 prominent speakers have discussed, exchanged and shared their expertise, know-how and insights in order to build and enhance the Summit program year after year. This cohesion among the panel speakers has been an important component in setting up appealing and key topics during the numerous preparation sessions we have had over five years. It is a priceless asset! At the end of the day, through continuity and cohesion you can drive efficient collaboration, which is crucial in the life sciences. There is no need to explain how the pandemic has demonstrated the importance of international cooperation and collaboration. Yes you get my point; Continuity, Cohesion and Collaboration are the three major pillars of the Summit; they are the Summit Values!”
Soheila also thanked the Summit Organizing Committee and the support received from some outstanding companies and organizations. We are sincerely grateful to our generous major sponsors, McDermott Will & Emery, the international law firm; PPD Biotech the global pharmaceutical CRO and CPL Life Sciences, the global recruitment firm. We extend a warm welcome to some new sponsors in 2021, all from FRANCE: B2G Life Sciences; a CRO focused on Orphan Diseases/Biotherapies; Active Biomarkers, Biomarker Services; Banook Group, Safety & Clinical Trials Services, and .Phinc Development, Drug Research & Development.
Opening Keynote Address by Kenneth Turner, President & CEO, MLSC
Kenneth Turner is President and CEO of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC). He thus directs and oversees the center’s operations, investment strategy, programs and partnerships. Before taking up this position, Ken Turner served as Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Compliance with MassPort. He oversaw and managed the Authority’s multiple diversity programs, including business and suppliers, workforce diversity and airport concessions, and finally compliance initiatives associated with MassPort’s Disadvantaged / Minority / Women Business Enterprise programs. Prior to that, Kenneth Turner served as Deputy Secretary for Administration & Finance for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services. Mr. Turner has over 20 years of general management and executive experience in various Fortune 100 media and packaging goods companies, including Senior Vice President of Emerging Markets at AOL Time Warner and positions at a major company, Hallmark Cards. Ken Turner is a retired United States Navy Officer. Full Bio on our Website and E-Booklet. Full Opening Address on YOUTUBE: *********************************************************************************************************
Shahin Gharakhanian, MD, Summit Co-founder and Program Chair introduced the 2021 Program Committee [please refer to www.bostonbioechnologysummit.com] in his opening remarks and his written introduction to the summit program, highlighting the following key points:
[Summit Mission Statement] An exclusive Trans-Atlantic bridge designed to foster innovative synergies between biotech and pharma companies, healthcare-focused cities and regional clusters, and institutional, philanthropic and strategic investors. The Summit’s intent is to spark projects, their financing and strategic deals in order to solve unmet medical needs and thus improve patient lives globally.
The Summit is celebrating its 5th anniversary in 2021 and the co-founders sincerely thank, and are humbled by, our annual Organizing Committees, Summit Teams, Faculty, Program Committees and, notably, Sponsor Organizations for their encouragement, technical services, expertise and financial support, respectively. Core Themes covered by past Summits since 2017included: 2017: Pasteur Institute, Paris, FR “Introduction to Ecosystems, focus on Innovation & Leadership”; 2018: Exchange Conference Center, Boston MA “From the Promise of Raising Capital to the Reality of Clinical Trials”; 2019: The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia PA “Collaboration” and 2020: Mass Bio Hub Virtual “Collaboration”. The 2021 Summit focused on “New Skills in Biotechnology and New Investments in Health”. The Boston Biotechnology Summit is a generalist platform that enables conversations and exchanges focused on providing patients with the latest innovations from the biotechnology industry. In a thought-provoking book <Range, Why generalists triumph in a specialized world> author and observer David Epstein analyzed the world’s successful artists, athletes, inventors, musicians and scientists and discovered that generalists are primed to excel in many fields. The 2021 Summit concerned (1) the state-of-the-art of our biotechnology industry and food-for-thought discussions based on plenary keynote presentations, (2) the much acclaimed “International Pitch Sessions” starring award winning or carefully selected young biotechnology companies, and (3) The <Summit Master Class>, emphasizing the Summit’s high regard for education via the annual summit program.
SESSION ONE: <New Skills in Biotechnology> <New Investments in Health>
Tibor Nemes [President, Stallergenes Greer, Americas]. In order to discuss the new CMC/Production paradigm in the biopharma industry, he reminded attendees of the traditional vaccine production system and the introduction of new mRNA technology. Simplicity makes a high tech difference for such new technologies. He concluded with the following key points on manufacturing:
- No cell culture process needs to be developed,
- No virus modifications needed,
- No inactivation of viruses or infectious material (Validation),
- No testing for adventitious agents that requires time-consuming matrix validation,
- No testing for mycoplasma (standard test time of 4 weeks),
- No viral removal studies,
- No host cell-specific DNA or protein profiling required,
- The high purity of raw materials enables very specific testing,
- No undefined raw materials,
- The generation of testing material for studies requires just a few days rather than months with cell culture processes, enabling the rapid development of manufacturing development and quality control methods.
Vanessa El Harrar [Vice-President, Vaccine Strategy Lead, PPD Biotech]
Vanessa focused on “Keys to Operational Delivery during a Pandemic” and the lessons that had been learned:
- PPD developed a well-thought-out early engagement agreement implemented across the ????,
- A portfolio of work that enabled significant startup progress prior to delivery of the final protocol, and detailed study budgets,
Multiple functions spanning global clinical development, early development services and central laboratory work in parallel,
- Close collaboration between PPD, the client and sites which minimized the impact of the protocol,
- Changes to the targeted activation date for the first site,
- Good communication was the lynchpin that kept stakeholders updated and aligned,
- Consistent team leadership was maintained across all studies.
An analysis of current trends in investment was made by James Cornwall, Partner, Business Development CCD at Abingworth LLP. He has close to 30 years of professional experience in the pharmaceutical and CRO industries, working across a range of disciplines including academic research, clinical development and corporate development and investing. He works with investment teams in the London, Boston and Menlo Park offices to source and evaluate new clinical co-development (CCD) investment opportunities and to support existing CCD investments.
New technologies as they are related to skills and investment were discussed by Omid Harandi, PhD, who is an innovation-driven scientist designing and developing novel cell and gene therapy platforms with a moonshot spirit. He is currently the Director of Cell and Gene Therapy at Flagship Labs (Cambridge, MA). Before that he led the platform team at Rubius Therapeutics and developed the next generation of ex vivo stem cell production and cell engineering technologies.
Lou Shipley serves as an executive-in-residence at General Catalyst, sits on the Board of Directors of Wasabi, CustomerGauge, SentryOne, Fairmarkit and Teamworks, and is a lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management and the Harvard Business School, where he instructs, mentors and coaches the next generation of entrepreneurs. His article “Now the Pandemic is Changing Big Pharma” (Boston Business Journal, 15 Feb 2021) served as a core reference for Session 1 and we provide some excerpts as follows: “In December, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency-use authorization for Cambridge-based Moderna’s innovative mRNA Covid-19 vaccine. Moderna is expected to provide hundreds of million doses to the federal government in the next six months. Millions of doses of the Moderna vaccine have already been manufactured and inoculations are underway. … Even more remarkable is that the Moderna mRNA vaccine was developed and approved for use in less than a year, completely resetting the scientific world’s expectation for what is possible in vaccine development … That’s disruptive, game-changing innovation. And it’s not a one-off, because Moderna’s revolutionary drug/vaccine development processes are repeatable and scalable. … Moderna’s innovative approach and processes for vaccine development (and other drug development) are disrupting the pharmaceutical industry in the same way that Elon Musk’s Tesla innovation has disrupted the automotive industry. Both companies identify with and behave like software companies rather than a traditional pharmaceutical or an automotive company. .. Like Tesla, Moderna operates like a software company and has digitized all its processes to enable incredible speed to market. It is fair to say that Moderna has more in common with Zoom and Slack than it does with pharma giants. Moderna’s unique approach to vaccine development — mRNA — pioneered by research originally done by MIT bioengineer Robert Langer, the world’s most cited engineer in history, shortens vaccine development to a fraction of the time traditional vaccines take to get to market. …Given Moderna’s and Pfizer-BioNTech’s success, we can expect to see a rapid competitive response from the well-known, deep-pockets pharma giants. They, like the auto makers who now recognize Tesla as an existential threat, will attempt to emulate Moderna’s approach. … The large pharmaceuticals have built their expertise over many years and cannot respond rapidly to a startup. But at least the pharma companies are not in denial about the success of Moderna as the automakers were when Tesla hit the market with its software car. Most likely, Big Pharma companies will go on a buying spree, acquiring nimble startups as they re-equip their traditional vaccine and other drug development businesses to respond to software-platform approach.”
Session One of the Summit included a long Q&A/discussion section: please refer to the Summit recording on YouTube.
SESSION TWO: <International Start-Up Pitch Session>
International scouting is carried out to select companies for this session, now a well-known feature of the Summit. For 2021, the entry criteria were that companies needed to have received awards and recognition in other forums. Thus the Summit hosted the BIO 2021 Convention Business France showcase company, France i-Lab, the French Public Investment Bank (BPI), the Harvard President’s 2021 Award Winner (Life Sciences), the Mass Challenge finalist, M2D2: Massachusetts Medical Device Development and Biotechnology Incubator (UMass Lowell MA) 2021/2020 finalists, the Social Impact Award Winner, etc. One Summit alumnus company was invited to re-pitch. To take part, all companies fill out an application form, all CEOs are interviewed and research is carried out before validating their participation. The companies receive coaching for their presentations. The Organizing/Program Committee remains neutral and does not vote for the winner/runner up. Disclosures were projected at the beginning of the session, and the session jury members were as follows:
[12 PM Jury] Sophie KORNOWSKI, PharmD, MBA (Session Chair), Senior Partner at GURNET POINT CAPITAL Cambridge MA; Rebecca DUFUR, JD, (Session Co-Chair) Associate at MCDERMOTT WILL EMERY International Law Firm Boston MA;. Cecile LE CAMUS, MD, MBA, Global Head, Rare Blood Diseases SANOFI-GENZYME Cambridge MA; Eric EVANS, MS Finance, Executive Committee, M2A: Mass Medical Angels Investment Group Boston MA.
[1 PM Jury] Mark STENCIK, MBA (Session Chair) Executive Director, Business Development & Licensing, MERCK Research Laboratories, Boston MA, Boston MA; Rebecca DUFUR, JD, (Session Co-Chair) Associate at MCDERMOTT WILL EMERY International Law Firm Boston MA; Naji GEHCHAN, MD, MBA, Global Brand and Clinical Development Lead, Oncology, ELI LILLY & CO, Cambridge MA; Paul HARTUNG, MS. Eng. (MIT) Life Sciences/Technology Executive @ leading Fortune 500 organizations
Representing LAUNCHPAD Venture LLC, Angel Investment Group, Boston MA
PITCHING COMPANIES IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER:
- Advanced Silicon Group, Lowell, MA. Novel Biosensors. MassConnect, M2D2 2020 finalist, USAF Grants.[Marcie BLACK, CEO]
- Apmonia Therapeutics,Reims, France. Peptides in Oncology Rx. French National Cancer Institute Recognition. [Albin JEANNE, CEO]
- Decoy Therapeutics, Cambridge MA. Anti-Viral Platform. JLABS Company, J&J/BARDA Blue night Program™. [Barbara HIBNER, CSO]
- GPx – General Prognostics, Cambridge MA. Patient Monitoring Platform. M2D2 2021 Challenge Finalist. [Javier ECHENIQUE, CEO]
- Memory Lane TV, Portland ME. Program on Alzheimer’s Disease. Mass Challenge, Social Impact Forum Winner, French-American Business Award. [Alban MAINO, CEO].
- Osivax, Lyon, France. Universal Flu Vaccine. Summit Alumnus, by Invitation.
- Pherecydes Pharma, Paris, France. Phage-Based Anti-microbials. 2021 Bio Convention Business France Company Showcase. [Guy-Charles FANNEAU DE LA HORE, CEO].
- Microbial Machines (previously Sanarx Biotherapeutics), Boston MA. Synthetic Biology Dx. 2021 Harvard U. President’s Challenge Prize Winner. [Jeffrey WAGNER, CSO]
- Smarther MRI, Weill Cornell, Scarsdale, NY. Novel Software for Gynecology. M2D2 2021 Challenge Winner, 1st Prize. [Tamatha FENSTER, CMO].
- Smart Immune, Institut Imagine, Paris, Fr. T-Cell Immunotherapy. BPI (French Public Investment Bank) Innovation Competition [Karine ROSSIGNOL, CEO].
VIRTUAL AWARDS CEREMONY:
- [FIRST PLACE WINNER] DECOY Therapeutics, Cambridge MA. Anti-Viral Platform. JLABS Company, J&J/BARDA Blue night Program™. [Barbara HIBNER, CSO]
- [SECOND BEST PLACED] SMART IMMUNE, Institut Imagine, Paris, Fr. T-Cell Immunotherapy. BPI (French Public Investment Bank) Innovation Competition [Karine ROSSIGNOL, CEO].
Awards and remarks on innovation, leadership and new skills by Pravin CHATURVEDI, PhD, Summit Chair Emeritus & MA Biotechnology Pioneer, Yvette CLELAND, CEP CPL Life Sciences (UK)< Session Sponsors, Retsina MYER, PhD (MIT) from the Program Committee.
SESSION Three: <Master Class on CRISPR Technology>
Rodger NOVAK PhD, President & Chair of the Board of CRISPR Therapeutics, interviewed by Shahin Gharakhanian, Program Chair. *Dr Novak is Co-founder of the company (with Professor Emmanuelle Charpentier, Nobel Laureate of Chemistry 2020, who was personally consulted by the Program Chair for the Summit),
Rodger Novak is a serial entrepreneur and long-time pharmaceutical and biotechnology senior executive who co-founded CRISPR Therapeutics AG in late 2013 and led the company as CEO until December 2017. During his tenure he IPO’d the company and was responsible for the two landmark deals with Vertex and Bayer. Dr. Novak currently serves CRISPR Therapeutics as President and Chair of the Board. He is also Executive Chair on the boards of XAP Therapeutics, Cambridge, UK, and Matterhorn Biosciences, Basel, Switzerland, as well as being a Venture Partner at SROne. Before CRISPR Therapeutics, Dr. Novak was Global Head Infectious Diseases, at Sanofi, Paris, France. His responsibilities included the discovery, research and development and late-stage clinical development of anti-infective agents, including those targeting diseases of the developing world. In early 2006, Dr. Novak co-founded became COO of Nabriva Therapeutics, an antibacterial development company in Vienna, Austria, which was a spin-off from Sandoz/Novartis, where Dr. Novak had served as Vice-Head of the Antibiotic Research Institute. Rodger Novak received his medical degree in Germany in 1993 and his medical license for the USA in 1994. Between 1996 and 2001 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Rockefeller University, the Skirball Institute, NYU Medical Center, and St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, being appointed in 2001 as tenured Professor for Microbiology at the Vienna Biocenter, Austria. Dr. Novak has authored numerous publications, including articles in Nature, Nature Medicine and Molecular Cell, and has made key contributions to different scientific textbooks in the fields of anti-infective agents, genetics and personalized medicine. He is also a co-inventor of several patents.
For a full recording of Master Class Session Three please refer to the Summit recording on YouTube.
Summit Closing Section:
Closing remarks on new skills from an education. Dr. Frédéric Jallat is currently Professor and Academic Director of the Advanced Master’s in Biopharmaceutical Management (MsM – Paris & London), Associate Research Fellow at ESCP Business School, and an affiliated Professor at Sciences Po., Paris. He is currently working with Institut Pasteur as Co-Academic Director of the Advanced Management Program in Life Sciences and Health (APiL), on the development of a major initiative for entrepreneurship and innovation.
Closing remarks from Shahin Gharakhanian MD, Co-founder & Program Chair
(1) The lessons we can learn from Covid-19 are that we need to re-focus on Unmet Public Health needs that include Infectious Diseases, Stroke, Neuro-Psychiatric Diseases, Diseases of Aging, Occupational Safety, and Drug Abuse etc. (2) We were very successful in dealing with the first Pandemic – HIV/AIDS – because of unprecedented R&D Collaboration between Public Research and Industry, and in particular the active contributions made by patients and their organizations. This is the “Model” to follow. (3) 2021 thus heralds the need for <New Skills in Biotechnology> and <New Investments in Health>.
Thank you to our Audience – everything we do with our outstanding Faculty is intended to inform you and provide you with food for thought. The Summit was recorded and is now available on YouTube.
BIBLIOGRAPHY ● REFERENCES:
(1) BOSTON BIOTECHNOLOGY SUMMIT™
- 2017-2020 Boston Biotechnology Summit Booklets
- 2021 Summit recording @ YOUTUBE.
(2) Doudna, J., and E. Charpentier, E. (2014). The new frontier of genome engineering with CRISPR-Cas9. Science 346 (6213): 1258096-1–9.
(3) Epstein, D (2019). Range. Why generalists triumph in a specialized world. Riverhead Books, New York.
(4) Lundberg, AS & Novak, R (2015) CRISPR-Cas Gene Editing to Cure Serious Diseases: Treat the Patient, Not the Germ Line, American Journal of Bioethics, 15:12, 38-40, DOI: 10.1080/15265161.2015.1103817
(5) Shipley, L (2021). Opinion: How the pandemic is changing Big Pharma. Boston Business Journal, Feb. 15, 2021, 9:15 AM EDT Edition
(6) Walter Isaacson, W. (2021) The Code Breaker. Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing and the Future of the human Race. Simon & Schuster, New York.
THIS SYNOPSIS WAS COMPILED ON 5-14 OCTOBER 2021.