Beyond The Printed Page | December 5, 2017

Want To Know What 5 Biopharmaceutical CEOs Anticipate For 2018 & Beyond?

Source: Life Science Leader
Rob Wright author page

By Rob Wright, Chief Editor, Life Science Leader
Follow Me On Twitter @RfwrightLSL

Want To Know What 5 Biopharmaceutical CEOs Anticipate For 2018 & Beyond?

A good dilemma to have.

That is what I think every year we start putting together Life Science Leader’s annual December outlook issue. This year we had 12 biopharmaceutical CEOs participate in our executive outlook article. But when you are a print publication with space limitation, what do you do with all of the excellent insight? For no matter how hard you try, you will never be able to fit it all within the print edition. Fortunately, a few years ago we created our Beyond The Printed Page exclusive online feature, which has allowed us to create three additional free to access articles involving these CEOs. In this latest edition, we share not previously published insights from 5 of the 12 participants, which include:

  • John Crowley, J.D., CEO, Amicus Therapeutics
  • Mitch Gold, M.D., CEO, Alpine Immune Sciences
  • Sam Kulkarni, Ph.D., CEO, CRISPR Therapeutics
  • David Meek, CEO, Ipsen
  • Jeff Riley, CEO, Synthetic Biologics

And while Beyond The Printed Page does not require a subscription, Life Science Leader does. So don’t miss out on hearing what all 12 of this year’s CEO participants have to say regarding what biopharma can expect for 2018 and beyond — subscribe today, and enter coupon code LSC29 to take advantage of our $29 holiday special promotion. We hope you enjoy this latest installment of Life Science Leader’s Beyond The Printed Page.

What Global Macro Trends Do You Anticipate Having The Biggest Impact On Biopharma In 2018?
John Crowley, J.D., Amicus Therapeutics: Globalization and the dissemination of human knowledge worldwide about our health and healthcare options will accelerate tremendously next year. I was recently in China and spent a day with patient leaders of several rare disease patient organizations. Five years ago, none of these organizations existed. Two years ago, their knowledge level of technologies and ability to access medicines was at a very basic level. Much, however, is changing. During my most recent visit I was hugely impressed with their level of sophistication, organization and advocacy. For example, just the week prior to my visit these patient leaders had organized a conference with over 700 rare-disease patient advocates and researchers in Beijing. We will see this multifaceted ecosystem that has been foundational for the development of new medicines continue to expand as the barriers to the flow of technologies, people, capital, and ideas continue to dissipate.

What Innovative Company Or Person Outside Of Biopharma Do You Pay Attention To?
Sam Kulkarni, Ph.D., CRISPR Therapeutics: Tesla and Uber are two companies I watch closely because they are leaders in two aspects of innovation that are highly relevant to CRISPR. Tesla has been a leader in modular innovation – pushing along different fronts, whether it is the limits of battery capacity, self-driving cars, or use of solar energy. While CRISPR is a versatile platform, it is very important for us to innovate along different “modules” such as viral delivery or patient conditioning regimens to bring a CRISPR-based therapeutic to patients. I also closely watch all the ride-sharing companies such as Uber because they found a way to reach all corners of the globe by adapting the platform to each market. Uber rides in China are based on popular pick-up points, and rides in India feature local music options. This notion of taking a platform and adapting it to each market is something which is going to be important for CRISPR. A cell therapy product in immuno-oncology may have different “features” in Southeast Asia than the Middle East.  

David Meek, Ipsen: I pay attention to those companies that are outside the traditional biopharma space and having a disruptive influence on our sector. In recent years we’ve seen the entry not just of IT, digital, and gamification companies, but also tech giants such as Google, Apple, Amazon, and now the increased role of AI as a disruptive technological force in drug discovery. We are working more in this space and currently have a program with IBM Watson looking at real-world data to help better define population subgroups for clinical trials and cognitive computing to enhance our oncology R&D process. With challenges around the traditional R&D business model, the industry is reliant upon more innovative thinking that can make healthcare easier to navigate — for patients and providers. There are few industries being disrupted more than our own right now, and this will continue apace in 2018 and beyond.

What Trends/Technologies From Nonhealthcare-Related Industries Do You Anticipate Impacting Biopharma?
Jeff Riley, Synthetic Biologics: The proliferation and adoption of technology-based applications is responsible for creating efficiencies and streamlining business practices across multiple sectors. Online and cloud-based applications such as Venmo, Amazon, and Facebook continue to revolutionize the way we bank, shop and share information. In 2018, expect to see life sciences companies increasingly work to harness the power of these and other applications in their clinical trials. Such processes have the potential to reduce the number of touch points between patient data and its analyses in a central lab or CRO, thereby eliminating unnecessary paperwork, streamlining data entry, reducing potential administrative errors, and ensuring unbiased outcomes. Cloud-based data-collection methodologies have the potential to significantly reduce lead time between data collection and analyses. At a time when access to capital is a topline concern for almost every development-stage life sciences company, the cost efficiencies that can result from faster and smarter clinical trial data collection can’t be ignored.

What Macro Trend Do You Anticipate Soon Taking Hold In Biopharma?
Mitch Gold, M.D., Alpine Immune Sciences: The single biggest trend in our industry will be using Big Data to inform proper drug development in terms of target selection and streamlining clinical trials for the most relevant patients. We tend to think along well-trodden target pathways and very linear development cycles and phases. Would we be better off using Big Data to find a needle in the haystack for unique biology and a bigger clinical impact? Drug pricing will drive more efficient development cycles, and Big Data may help us be more efficient in doing so.

What Biopharmaceutical Industry Specific Trends Do You Find Most Exciting And Why?
Crowley: For the first time we are now seeing the convergence of advanced biotechnologies and the ability and willingness of regulators in the U.S., Europe and Japan to apply advanced regulatory science to evaluate the safety and efficacy of these exciting new medicines. As a major barrier to innovation is being addressed (i.e., slow or ineffective regulatory reviews), this is leading to a surge in new programs. It also means more advanced medicines getting to more patients more quickly. Indeed, the notion that “we have to beat time as much as we have to beat nature” is taking hold broadly. There is great excitement and a common sense of urgency, still very science driven and patient focused.

What Is Your Vision For How The Global Biopharmaceutical Industry Will Look In 10 Years?
Riley: The continued emphasis toward personalized medicine will dramatically reshape the global pharmaceutical industry in the next 10 years, particularly in the areas of gene therapy and IO. Breakthroughs in immunotherapy have expanded our understanding of its potential; however questions surrounding the complexity of its value assessment in stakeholder adoption remain complex. New commercialization, distribution, and methodologies currently deployed in IO will continue to change the way personalized medicine is viewed from an economic perspective, with cost acting as the largest barrier to patient access. History has shown however, that advancements in technology over time reduce R&D and commercialization costs, while narrowing barriers to entry for new market participants. The result of these will translate into cost savings and accessibility for patients down the road. Over time, such advances will ensure immunotherapies gain adoption, are cost-effective, and most importantly, become accessible to patients in need.

What Therapeutic Area Of R&D Do You Anticipate A Significant Breakthrough In 2018?
Kulkarni: My belief is that “breakthroughs” we see in the industry in 2018 are more likely to come from emerging platforms such as gene therapy, small RNA-mediated therapies, gene editing, and cell therapies more broadly. Efforts with each of the platforms have been skewed toward certain disease areas, which is why we may see more progress in some therapeutic areas than others. Most gene therapies have been focused on areas such as hemophilia and ophthalmology, whereas small-RNA mediated therapies are focused on diseases of the liver. Gene editing and cell therapies are focused on hematologic diseases, both malignant and non-malignant, where we are likely to see transformative impact. I am excited about beginning our clinical trials with our first CRISPR-based therapeutic in sickle cell disease next year, and pushing forward with our next-generation cell therapy products directed toward deadly leukemias and lymphomas.