I will be attending one of my all-time favorite conferences this week (March 9 – 10), the R&D Leadership Summit put on by The Conference Forums’ Valerie Bowling. While some might find the organization’s employment of the Chatham House Rule to be too restrictive for someone like me to be able to come away with useful insights that could be shared, my experience has been quite to the contrary. In fact, it is the Chatham House Rule that makes the event one of the industry’s premier (invitational only) educational conferences. In a nutshell, the Chatham House Rule is a system for holding debates and discussion panels on controversial topics. Named after the headquarters of the UK’s Royal Institute of International Affairs, based in Chatham House London, the rule that originated in June 1927 is designed to increase openness and discussion. Anyone who comes to a meeting held under this rule is free to use the information from the discussion, but “Neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.”
The R&D Leadership Summit Is Much More Than A Content Bonanza
In spite of the Chatham House Rule, from last year’s conference, I developed some very interesting articles. Although these articles did adhere to the Chatham House Rule, despite not giving attribution, they provided great insight for our readers. For example, one of my favorite articles of 2016 (appearing online only) was the four part series, Can we Afford The Cures Biopharmaceutical Companies Seem Capable Of (Parts One, Two, Three and Four can be found by clicking on the corresponding number), developed from a compilation of discussions from last year’s 2016 R&D Leadership Summit. The four part series, 7 Secrets VC Investors Want Biopharma Heads of R&D To Know (Parts One, Two, Three, and Four) also was created after I attended last year’s conference. Finally, my blog, Evolving The Biopharma R&D Model — Improbable Players Are Changing The Game, also met the Chataham House Rule. However, in an unexpected twist, the presenter on whom I based the blog recognized that it was developed from her presentation at the 2016 R&D Leadership Summit and emailed me requesting to be given attribution. That’s why at the end of the blog you see the note:
* This blog was developed from a presentation conducted by Komathi Stem, former strategic innovation leader at Genentech/Roche, during the 2016 Conference Forum’s R&D Leadership Summit.
Counting the blog I wrote recapping the overall experience of attending the 2016 summit, I developed a total of eight articles from this one event. But my goal when attending the R&D Leadership Summit isn’t to write a bunch of articles, but to get a collection of ideas for future articles, along with the appropriate connections (i.e., networking) with the top executives often in attendance that can participate in their development. Over the years, this particular conference has led to a number of feature articles that have appeared in Life Science Leader and date all the way back to the inaugural event in 2011. For example, this feature involving Fred Hassan, came about thanks to Valerie Bowling and the Conference Forum. But so too did this feature with Bernie Munos and Jeff Chulay, as well as this article with Stephen Ryder and this more recent article with my former Organon colleague, David Nicholson, now working as the chief R&D officer at Allergan.
Shared Values And Integrity Make The Difference
Being able to work with so many leaders at the highest levels of biopharmaceutical companies is the result of Life Science Leader’s commitment to not violating the trust with which we have been given, and quite frankly, continue to earn every day. Last year when Bowling was asked why Life Science Leader and CNBC’s Meg Tirrell were the only members of media consistently invited to attend the R&D Leadership Summit, she stated, “Because of our shared values and integrity.” It is an honor to be given such high praise, and something we intend to continue earning. The work of so many of our editorial advisory board (EAB) members also has helped us earn the trust of top industry executives. It is not uncommon for us to ask a member of the EAB to facilitate and introduce us to another executive, and for that we are truly thankful. In fact, many of LSL’s EAB members joined us after having attended the R&D Leadership Summit over the years. For example, after last year’s R&D Leadership Summit Margaret Anderson, executive director for Faster Cures, joined our EAB. While Anderson and I had met at previous events, it was our discussion during the R&D Summit that convinced this busy executive to give us a helping hand. It probably didn’t hurt when she saw how many current and former attendees of the R&D Leadership Summit (i.e., Tomasz Sablinski, Mary Rose Keller, Bernie Munos, Fred Hassan, and Leslie Williams) also serve as members of our EAB. We hope this year’s conference results in the addition of a few more.
A Final Word And A Commitment From LSL
Please accept my apologies if you work at a high level on the sponsor side of biopharmaceutical R&D, but have yet to receive an invite to this exclusive event. Should you wish to be considered, please feel free to send me an email noting your request for 2018. While I can’t make any promises that the Conference Forum will extend an invitation, I can commit that we will do everything we can to help you connect. For doing so is in keeping with our mission — To connect the people, ideas, and organizations needed to advance the development of pharmaceuticals, biologics, diagnostics, and medical devices that improve the human condition so that they can be brought to market in a safe and cost-effective manner.