Archive for the ‘Foundations for supporting Science and Education’ Category

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD @StephenJWillia2

Science and technology bring tremendous value to society in years of life and quality of life, yet the public often perceives science as difficult, irrelevant or even threatening. Moreover, the inspirational and moving stories of scientists and innovators working around the world are often hidden or misrepresented in popular culture. Whose responsibility is it to communicate science and engage the public in supporting the scientific enterprise? Can everyone be a Champion of Science and what are the solutions to enlist and engage more champions of science across generations and geographies? How do we work together to enhance transparency, accessibility and relevance of science for everyone, everywhere? Can science become more inclusive and engage hearts and not only minds?

Join this exciting session as Johnson & Johnson announces the winners of the Champions of Science – BioGENEius Storytelling Challenge, and brings together other key stakeholders in a discussion about the importance of engaging the public to fall in love in science all over again.

Sponsored by: Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Seema: We need to solve the problem of the lack of trust in scientists.  Some of JNJ winners of their acheivement program went on to become Nobel Laureates.   Arthur Horwich and Hans Ullrich won the Jannsen Award for discovering compounds that could refold proteins, including protein chaperones.  Many diseases occur because of protein misfolding like neuro-degenerative diseases.
Seema:  Great science going on in Africa.  JNJ wanted to showcase the great science in Africa. they awarded four individuals with storytelling award (Emily).
Dr. Horwich: got interested in science early on.  Worked on N terminal mitochondrial signal peptides.  also then got interested in how proteins fold and unfold and refold since the 1950s.  He had changed the thinking of how proteins are processed within cells and over many years he had worked on this.
Emily Wang:  Parents and schoolteachers prodded her curiosity in biology. The impact of day to day work of scientists is arduous but the little things can lead to advances that may help people.  If passionate and have a great mentor then can get a foot in the door.  Worked at Stanford in the lab.
Dr. Mukherjee: He likes to cure diseases, physican first, scientist second, writer third but he doesn’t separate this.  In older times scientists wrote to think and true today. How we visualize the word, or use our hands, is similar.  He takes the word translational research very seriously.  Can you say in one sentence how this will help patients in three years?
There are multitude ways of love for science.
Dr. Pinela: loved asking big question and loved storytelling but asking bigger questions. Moved from Columbia and moved to US; loved the freedom and government funding situation at that time.  Need the training and mentorship so mentors are a very big aspect in innovation as it led her to entrepreneurship.  We need to use technology to disrupt and innovate.
Nsikin:  A lot of mentors nurture curiosity.  People like to see them in that story of curiosity.  That is how is bases the PBS science videos: did  a study on engagement and people wants a morality, and a science identity (an inner nerd in all of us i.e. spark the interest).  The feedback if they focus on this has been positive.

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# Hashtags

#BIO2019 (official meeting hashtag)

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Real Time Coverage @BIOConvention #BIO2019: June 4 Morning Sessions; Global Biotech Investment & Public-Private Partnerships

Reporter: Stephen J Williams PhD @StephenJWillia2

Each country have their own needs and most important drug cost structure. Must involve patients and providers.
BCI survey: countries output different, who improved who didnt
Is industry having collaboration with government? hardly ten percent by survey and worse vice versa
Transparancy and holistic view important for collaboration
Korea: lack of communication need input from government on pricing; wants global open innovation and enhance RD investments
Tawain: price, price but based on efficacy; pharma needs to talk with doctors hospital patients, find balance
Pitts: we need trust; staff that country offices with people who know that country. Price not defining value
Columbia:  need to attract investors

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#BIO2019 (official meeting hashtag)

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Real Time Coverage of BIO 2019 International Convention, June 3-6, 2019 Philadelphia Convention Center, Philadelphia PA

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD @StephenJWillia2

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# Hashtags

#BIO2019 (official meeting hashtag)

Please check daily on this OPEN ACCESS JOURNAL for updates on one of the most important BIO Conferences of the year for meeting notes, posts, as well as occasional PODCASTS.


The BIO International Convention is the largest global event for the biotechnology industry and attracts the biggest names in biotech, offers key networking and partnering opportunities, and provides insights and inspiration on the major trends affecting the industry. The event features keynotes and sessions from key policymakers, scientists, CEOs, and celebrities.  The Convention also features the BIO Business Forum (One-on-One Partnering), hundreds of sessions covering biotech trends, policy issues and technological innovations, and the world’s largest biotechnology exhibition – the BIO Exhibition.

The BIO International Convention is hosted by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). BIO represents more than 1,100 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.


Keynote Speakers INCLUDE:

Fireside Chat with Margaret (Peggy) Hamburg, MD, Foreign Secretary, National Academy of Medicine; Chairman of the Board, American Association for the Advancement of Science

Tuesday Keynote: Siddhartha Mukherjee (Author of the bestsellers Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer and  The Gene: An Intimate History)

Fireside Chat with Jeffrey Solomon, Chief Executive Officer, COWEN

Fireside Chat with Christi Shaw, Senior Vice President and President, Lilly BIO-Medicines, Eli Lilly and Company

Wednesday Keynote: Jamie Dimon (Chairman JP Morgan Chase)

Fireside Chat with Kenneth C. Frazier, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Merck & Co., Inc.

Fireside Chat: Understanding the Voices of Patients: Unique Perspectives on Healthcare

Fireside Chat: FDA Town Hall



Super Session: What’s Next: The Landscape of Innovation in 2019 and Beyond

Super Session: Falling in Love with Science: Championing Science for Everyone, Everywhere

Super Session: Digital Health in Practice: A Conversation with Ameet Nathawani, Chief Digital Officer, Chief Medical Falling in Love with Science: Championing Science for Everyone, Everywhere

Super Session: Realizing the Promise of Gene Therapies for Patients Around the World

Super Session: Biotech’s Contribution to Innovation: Current and Future Drivers of Success

Super Session: The Art & Science of R&D Innovation and Productivity

Super Session: Dealmaker’s Intentions: 2019 Market Outlook

Super Session: The State of the Vaccine Industry: Stimulating Sustainable Growth


See here for full AGENDA

Link for Registration: https://convention.bio.org/register/

The BIO International Convention is literally where hundreds of deals and partnerships have been made over the years.


BIO performs many services for members, but none of them are more visible than the BIO International Convention. The BIO International Convention helps BIO fulfill its mission to help grow the global biotech industry. Profits from the BIO International Convention are returned to the biotechnology industry by supporting BIO programs and initiatives. BIO works throughout the year to create a policy environment that enables the industry to continue to fulfill its vision of bettering the world through biotechnology innovation.

The key benefits of attending the BIO International Convention are access to global biotech and pharma leaders via BIO One-on-One Partnering, exposure to industry though-leaders with over 1,500 education sessions at your fingertips, and unparalleled networking opportunities with 16,000+ attendees from 74 countries.

In addition, we produce BIOtechNOW, an online blog chronicling ‘innovations transforming our world’ and the BIO Newsletter, the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.


Membership with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)

BIO has a diverse membership that is comprised of  companies from all facets of biotechnology. Corporate R&D members range from entrepreneurial companies developing a first product to Fortune 100 multinationals. The majority of our members are small companies – 90 percent have annual revenues of $25 million or less, reflecting the broader biotechnology industry. Learn more about how you can save with BIO Membership.

BIO also represents academic centers, state and regional biotech associations and service providers to the industry, including financial and consulting firms.

  • 66% R&D-Intensive Companies *Of those: 89% have annual revenues under $25 million,  4% have annual revenues between $25 million and $1 billion, 7% have annual revenues over $1 billion.
  • 16% Nonprofit/Academic
  • 11% Service Providers
  • 7% State/International Affiliate Organizations

Other posts on LIVE CONFERENCE COVERAGE using Social Media on this OPEN ACCESS JOURNAL and OTHER Conferences Covered please see the following link at https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/press-coverage/


Notable Conferences Covered THIS YEAR INCLUDE: (see full list from 2013 at this link)

  • Koch Institute 2019 Immune Engineering Symposium, January 28-29, 2019, Kresge Auditorium, MIT




  • 2019 MassBio’s Annual Meeting, State of Possible Conference ​, March 27 – 28, 2019, Royal Sonesta, Cambridge



  • World Medical Innovation Forum, Partners Innovations, ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE | APRIL 8–10, 2019 | Westin, BOSTON




  • 18th Annual 2019 BioIT, Conference & Expo, April 16-18, 2019, Boston, Seaport World Trade Center, Track 5 Next-Gen Sequencing Informatics – Advances in Large-Scale Computing




  • Translating Genetics into Medicine, April 25, 2019, 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM, The New York Academy of Sciences, 7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich St Fl 40, New York



  • 13th Annual US-India BioPharma & Healthcare Summit, May 9, 2019, Marriott, Cambridge



  • 2019 Petrie-Flom Center Annual Conference: Consuming Genetics: Ethical and Legal Considerations of New Technologies, May 17, 2019, Harvard Law School




  • 2019 Koch Institute Symposium – Machine Learning and Cancer, June 14, 2019, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM  ET MIT Kresge Auditorium, 48 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA



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LIVE Day Two: 2019 MassBio Annual Meeting, State of Possible Conference, Sonesta Hotel, Cambridge, March 28, 2019


Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence (LPBI) Group

represented by Founder & Director, Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN will cover this event in REAL TIME using Social Media





Day 2 Agenda – March 28, 2019

Possible Talk – The New Role of Police: Creating Non-Arrest Pathways to Treatment and Recovery Conference Wide 3/28/2019 8:45:00 AM 3/28/2019 9:00:00 AM
Future of Human Biology: How we are Already Evolving Ourselves Conference Wide 3/28/2019 9:00:00 AM 3/28/2019 9:45:00 AM
Possible Talk – The Evolution of the Investment Landscape to Support Future Innovations in Biotech Conference Wide 3/28/2019 9:45:00 AM 3/28/2019 10:00:00 AM
CFIUS: Proposed Rules Impacting Global Investments for Biotech Breakout – Business Track 3/28/2019 10:15:00 AM 3/28/2019 11:00:00 AM
Exploring the Possibilities of Microbiome Beyond GI Diseases Breakout – Science Track 3/28/2019 10:15:00 AM 3/28/2019 11:00:00 AM
Advancing from ‘R’ to ‘D’: Various Routes to Building Successful Clinical-stage Companies Breakout – Science Track 3/28/2019 11:30:00 AM 3/28/2019 12:15:00 PM
Financing Outlook for 2019-2020: Will the Bubble Burst? Breakout – Business Track 3/28/2019 11:30:00 AM 3/28/2019 12:15:00 PM
Lunch & Henri Termeer Innovative Leadership Award Conference Wide 3/28/2019 12:15:00 PM 3/28/2019 1:15:00 PM
Enabling Digital Health in the Healthcare Value Chain Conference Wide 3/28/2019 1:15:00 PM 3/28/2019 2:00:00 PM

Day 2 Agenda – March 28, 2019

8:15am – 8:45am: Breakfast

8:45am – 9:00am: Possible Talk

Possible Talk – The New Role of Police: Creating Non-Arrest Pathways to Treatment and Recovery

  • Treatment of excellence in opiods draws patients fro all the MA state to Boston Programs and from Outside of MA
  • 94% walking on the door receive referrals to treatment centers in MA
  • Prediction of the future of persistence of the phonomenon
  • Funding partnerships for reducing time in treatment due to efficacy and patients engagement
  • 500 police personnel are involved in Treatment available on Demand referral
  • Substance abuse programs that work using institutions as problem solvers
  • Urgent and important because people die every day


9:00am – 9:45am: Future of Human Biology: How we are Already Evolving Ourselves

Megan Thielking, STAT News

  • Ethics of Human germ line
  • George M. Church PhD, Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School
  1. Multiplexing and gene editing for reverse aging
  2. Doing to much by adding new forms somatic therapies feedback loop is long from young adults to aging
  3. Small pox: Gene therapy can becaome non expensive
  • Juan Enriquez, Managing Director, Excel Venture Management, Prof. @Harvard in Genomics and Manage Start up in Genomics
  1. conception – identical twins bred 20 years apart
  2. fetus external to body and male can have children
  • Greg Verdine, President, CEO & CSO, Board Member, LifeMine
  1. Embryos IVF,, fully sequence the embroy and
  2. Democratice technologies at high school age –
  3. Educators will play a role for informed decisions public education
  4. AI harder to democratize
  5. Ethics consideration in patient selection for certification

9:45am – 10:00am: Possible Talk – 

Possible Talk – The Evolution of the Investment Landscape to Support Future Innovations in Biotech

  • communication what Biotech do, how position biotech start up and how raise fund
  • Thematic Investing: ALPHA CURRENTS: AI, Medical Technologies, communication technologies
  • Mother test – Communication of thoughts


10:15am – 11:00am: CFIUS: Proposed Rules Impacting Global Investment for Biotech [Business Track]

  • Review committee foreign investment, purchasing entire company –
  • new regulation 8% foreign investment is the largest allowed share as equity position and
  • not to negatively affect cyber security and national security
  • In BioTech (i.e. gene editing technologies developed already overseas and all other ecosystems
  • Green Card Holder investor are not excempt of CFIUS is different that US Citizen Investors which are exempts
  • Vikas Goyal, Principal, S. R. One, GlasxoSK Limited
  • Linda Ji, Partner, McDermott Will & Emory
  1. Disclosure about the investment and investors
  2. neurotech, genetics, genomics
  3. Critical tech in Biotech: Foundational vs
  5. License needed for licensing US EXPERT CONTROLLED Technology
  6. CFIUS does not handle licensing
  • Lisa Schaefer, Director of Financial Services and Tax Policy, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)
  1. Expert controlled technology
  2. AI in Drug discovery -is emerging foundational technology
  • Johhy Hu – VC in Boston – FUND owners are Swiss & Italian citizenship

10:15am – 11:00am: Exploring the Possibilities of Microbiome Beyond GI Diseases [Science Track]

  • David Donabedian, Co-founder, CEO & Director, Axial Biotherapeutics
  • Justin Chakma, Head of BD and Strategy, Vedanta
  • Chris Howerton, Biotechnology Equity Analyst, Jeffries

11:00am – 11:30am: Networking Break 

11:30am – 12:15pm: Advancing from ‘R’ to ‘D’: Various Routes to Building Successful Clinical-stage Companies [Science Track]

  • Laura Indolfi, Founder & CEO, PanTher Therapeutics
  • Sven Karlsson, Co-Founder, CEO,& CBO, Platelet Biogenesis
  • Leslie Williams, Director, Founder, President and CEO, ImmusanT

11:30am – 12:15pm: Financing Outlook for 2019-2020: Will the Bubble Burst? [Business Track]

  • Bruce Booth, Partner, Atlas Ventures
  1. Great time of capital rich, 2018 2Q – largest M&A in Biotech
  2. staggering increase in funding
  3. capital is flowing not from VCs, bur large hedge funds and foreign investment – China related 40% and Abu Dabi invest in Biotech
  4. First IPO in 2012 was Biotech
  5. Investor more selective and descerned : Preclinical Phase 1
  6. 2009-2010 – cool off market
  7. 2019 at constructive market for growing companies


  • Kathy Bersteinsson, Morgan Stanley 
  1. $30 Billion in 2018
  2. 8 IPO, back
  3. 2019 will be constructive, capital for biotech ecosysytem 50Billion needed, @25 Billion is secured without convertibles
  4. back log of IPO for 2Q in 2019
  5. investors wish 30% returns – adjust IPO valuation some are 1.5 times and fees on top
  6. Investors willing to participate VC not participate in good markets
  7. Good IPO no VCs
  8. Oncology, Selling genes, CNS
  9. Maturing the crop takes time


  • Christine Brennan, Partner, MRL Ventures Fund, Merck US
  1. RNA landscape
  2. oncology


  • Barbara Dalton, Pfizer Ventures
  1. Neurosciences, Biogen failure, need for new drugs
  2. Newrodegeneration
  3. Venture group does invest in neuro because Pfizer left Neuro
  4. investment in IMMUNITY
  5. M&A pipeline to move the needle does not happens for small biotech
  6. Pfizer and all BIG Pharma do not but even though Tax Reform favor Big Pharma


  • Steve Wilcox, Lawyer – largest Biotech
  1. what is hot and not
  2. Option to Purchase is lousy for sellers you cap the upper bound


12:15pm – 1:15pm: Lunch and MassBio Innovation Award Presentation

  • Lita Nelson, fear of genetics lead to development of 1980s legislation ownership and Patent exploitation by institutions, Universities started to collect royalties from Tech Transfer, Gov’t supported 120 Billion in basic research since the 70s.
  • 200 Research Universities and Hospitals Tech Transfer Office research shows:
  • 6300 licenses granted
  • early investment in innovations – in MA, 30 years ago no Pharma in MA today 18 of 20 big Pharma are in Cambridge and other locations in mA
  • People: accelerate biotech faced scarce talent not scarce capital
  • networking – dense clusters in Cambridge
  • Cambridge is the envy of the World in BioTech


1:15pm – 2:00pm: Enabling Digital Health in the Healthcare Value Chain

Moderator: Hussain Mooraj, Delloitte

  • Jeff Elton, CEO, Concerto Health AI
  • Cluster of centers of excellence
  • Moderna, VP IT
  1. cross pollination =: CS + Biology form MIT
  2. Top management understand technologies in Biotech
  3. data collection
  4. blueprint to design a digital platform – from the start to do it right vs retrofits at later stage


  • Luba Greenwood, Google – Verily – IP was the asset in 2019 it is the DATA  not the IP – use of data to improve drug discovery
  1. Starting up a Biotech company
  2. Advice is available


  • ThermoFischer – R&D DIgital Science,
  • Pear Therapeutics, Brooke Paige, VP, Alliance ManagementBrooke Page

2:00pm – 2:30pm: Keynote Address


2:30pm – 3:00pm: Closing Networking Dessert Reception


8:15am – 8:45am: Breakfast

8:45am – 9:00am: Possible Talk

9:00am – 9:45am: Future of Human Biology: How we are Already Evolving Ourselves Humans began changing our environment early on through fire, agriculture and early medicines, and later with biopharmaceuticals and even CRISPR babies. Come hear futurists in human biology offer provocative thoughts on how we can wisely and ethically embrace next generation science to change our own DNA. – George M. Church Phd, Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School – Juan Enriquez, Managing Director, Excel Venture Management – Greg Verdine, President, CEO & CSO, Board Member, LifeMine

9:45am – 10:00am: Possible Talk

10:15am – 11:00am: CFIUS: Will New Regulatory Threats Reduce Global Investment in Biotech? [Business Track] CFIUS’ newly expanded scope and authority have the potential to severely disrupt investment in the U.S. biotech sector. A new federal law now includes biotechnology on a list of 27 “critical” industries where all foreign investment must be reviewed by the CFIUS office. With this new rule in place, questions abound about its impact on the biotech industry. Will raising money take longer? Will it deter foreign investors? Will it limit companies’ leverage during investment negotiations? Come hear legal, investor, and company experts discuss what companies and investors need to know about CFIUS’ impact on future investments in biotech companies. – Vikas Goyal, Principal, S. R. One, Limited – Linda Ji, Partner, McDermott Will & Emory – Lisa Schaefer, Director of Financial Services and Tax Policy, Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO)

10:15am – 11:00am: Exploring the Possibilities of Microbiome Beyond GI Diseases [Science Track] The specific balance of bacteria in your gut affects your digestive system, but new research also shows these bacteria affect your behavior, energy, heart, brain and other unexpected organ systems. Pioneers in microbiome expound on the possibilities. – David Donabedian, Co-founder, CEO & Director, Axial Biotherapeutics – Justin Chakma, Head of BD and Strategy, Vedanta – Chris Howerton, Biotechnology Equity Analyst, Jeffries

11:00am – 11:30am: Networking Break

11:30am – 12:15pm: Advancing from ‘R’ to ‘D’: Various Routes to Building Successful Clinical-stage Companies [Science Track] Massachusetts is the epicenter of startup creation for biotech, but it’s not always easy to go from research to commercialization. Come hear founders and industry leaders offer lessons learned on intelligently scaling your company amid rapid growth including when to partner, sell or IPO, or when to build or buy preclinical, manufacturing, and clinical development capabilities. – Laura Indolfi, Founder & CEO, PanTher Therapeutics – Sven Karlsson, Co-Founder, CEO,& CBO, Platelet Biogenesis – Leslie Williams, Director, Founder, President and CEO, ImmusanT

11:30am – 12:15pm: Financing Outlook for 2019-2020: Will the Bubble Burst? [Business Track] 2018 was a record year for biotech IPOs, the XBI hit an all-time high in August, and the FDA approved a record number of novel drugs. What will 2019 bring after late 2018’s many signals of a slowing market? Will M&A pick up? Can new IPOs continue at last year’s pace? How will public markets respond? Investment bankers, private equity, and industry leaders peer into their crystal ball to predict the financial outlook for the next few years. – Bruce Booth, Partner, Atlas Ventures

12:15pm – 1:15pm: Lunch and MassBio Innovation Award Presentation

1:15pm – 2:00pm: Enabling Digital Health in the Healthcare Value Chain At its core, digital technologies are increasingly critical in enabling the growth of biotechnology companies– from the development of better research and development insight engines, to the commercialization of next generation therapies via digital channels. This panel will explore best practices that enable the embedding of digital health technologies in the value chain for both life sciences companies, payers and providers.

2:00pm – 2:30pm: Keynote Address

2:30pm – 3:00pm: Closing Networking Dessert Reception

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The Blavatnik Institute at Harvard Medical School’s 11 basic and social science departments launched in recognition of the transformative $200 million Blavatnik Family Foundation’s committed for scientific research 

Reporter: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

“This momentous gift will enable us to accelerate the pace of therapeutic discovery at HMS and advance initiatives aimed at solving some of humanity’s most acute biomedical challenges,” said Daley at the ceremony. “It will help empower our work in service to the world through research that stimulates the development of new knowledge, new therapies and new tools to diagnose and prevent disease.”

Blavatnik, a 1989 graduate of Harvard Business School, said his Harvard education contributed to his success in business and he was happy to give back to the School—not only because of the personal attachment he has to Harvard but also because he sees the commitment as a wise investment in the future.

“One of the lessons from business I acquired is that if you invest in the best people, you will probably get better than average results. You might get the best results,” Blavatnik said. “I am making a bet, which actually I think is a safe bet, that by helping the most talented academics, researchers and scientists that are here, the results will not only be above average but hopefully outstanding.”

Blavatnik added that investing in education is especially important to him because of his own upbringing in a family of academics. His father was a chemistry professor and his mother taught electrical engineering, he said; his first degree was in computer science.

“So, I always felt that science is really what moves this society forward. The technology, the progress of technology, is what really changes people’s lives,” he said. “Now, obviously, medical technology is the frontier of science today.”

Bacow said the Blavatnik gift enables the future discoveries that promise to improve the world for all humanity.

“Harvard did not build itself. It exists because our predecessors were willing to invest their time and their resources to create the institution that we see today,” Bacow said. “I want to thank Len and his foundation because they are very tangibly contributing to a long tradition … of each generation supporting the next, each generation working to enable the next generation to have the same kind of opportunity to make the world a better place.” 

Wilson, who was in the first class of recipients of the Blavatnik National Award for Young Scientists in the Life Sciences, said she felt the gift is a recognition of “the excellence of the science that goes on here every day,” and that with this recognition comes a heightened sense of responsibility. She added that support of this magnitude affords HMS scientists greater freedom to take risks.

“I think it’s really important to realize that excellence in science requires thoughtful, intelligent risk taking, but risky projects are often difficult to fund. You can’t get a federal grant to do a risky project and that creates a kind of perverse incentive to work on small problems rather than big problems,” Wilson said.

She added that Blavatnik’s support has given her lab the freedom to take those risks and, as a result, her team has made discoveries that wouldn’t have been possible without it. Those new discoveries, she said, have led to new federal funding which, in turn, has made new projects and new questions possible. 

“That’s the kind of virtuous cycle that really gives us enthusiasm and optimism about our ability to do science in the future,” she said.

Summers said the new discoveries made at HMS are what is making this “the century of the biomedical and life sciences,” and he said the work enabled by the Blavatnik Family Foundation’s generosity will be transformative.




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NIH SBIR Funding Early Ventures: September 26, 2018 sponsored by Pennovation

Stephen J. Williams PhD, Reporter

Penn Center for Innovation (Pennovation) sponsored a “Meet with NCI SBIR” program directors at University of Pennsylvania Medicine Smilow Center for Translational Research with a presentation on advice on preparing a successful SBIR/STTR application to the NCI as well as discussion of NCI SBIR current funding opportunities.   Time was allotted in the afternoon for one-on-one discussions with NCI SBIR program directors.

To find similar presentations and one-on-one discussions with NCI/SBIR program directors in an area nearest to you please go to their page at:


For more complete information on the NCI SBIR and STTR programs please go to their web page at: https://sbir.cancer.gov/about

A few notes from the meeting are given below:

  • In 2016 the SBIR/STTR 2016 funded $2.5 billion (US) of early stage companies; this is compared to the $6.6 billion invested in early  stage ventures by venture capital firms so the NCI program is very competitive with alternate sources of funding
  • It was stressed that the SBIR programs are flexible as far as ownership of a company; SBIR allows now that >50% of the sponsoring company can be owned by other ventures;  In addition they are looking more favorably on using outside contractors and giving leeway on budgetary constraints so AS THEY SUGGEST ALWAYS talk to the program director about any questions you may have well before (at least 1 month) you submit. More on eligibility criteria is found at: https://sbir.cancer.gov/about/eligibilitycriteria
  • STTR should have strong preliminary data since more competitive; if don’t have enough go for  an R21 emerging technologies grant which usually does not require preliminary data
  • For entities outside the US need a STRONG reason for needing to do work outside the US

Budget levels were discussed as well as  the waiver program, which allows for additional funds to be requested based on criteria set by NCI (usually for work that is deemed high priority or of a specialized nature which could not be covered sufficiently under the standard funding limits) as below:

Phase I: 150K standard but you can get waivers for certain work up to 300K

Phase II: 1M with waiver up to 2M

Phase IIB waiver up to 4M

You don’t need to apply for the waiver but grant offices may suggest citing a statement requesting a waiver as review panels will ask for this information

Fast Track was not discussed in the presentation but for more information of the Fast Track program please visit the website  

NCI is working hard to cut review times to 7 months between initial review to funding however at beginning of the year they set pay lines and hope to fund 50% of the well scored grants

NCI SBIR is a Centralized system with center director and then program director with specific areas of expertise: Reach out to them

IMAT Program and Low-Resource Setting new programs more suitable for initial studies and also can have non US entities

Phase IIB Bridge funding to cross “valley of death” providing up to 4M for 2-3 years: most were for drug/biological but good amount for device and diagnostics


Also they have announced administrative supplements for promoting diversity within a project: can add to the budget

FY18 Contracts Areas

3 on biotherapies

2 imaging related

2 on health IT

4 on radiation therapy related: NOTE They spent alot of time discussing the contracts centered on radiation therapy and seems to be an area of emphasis of the NCI SBIR program this year

4 other varied topics


Breakdown of funding

>70% of NCI SBIR budget went to grants (for instance Omnibus grants); about 20-30% for contracts; 16% for phase I and 34 % for phase II ;

ALSO the success rate considerably higher for companies that talk to the program director BEFORE applying than not talking to them; also contracts more successful than Omnibus applications

Take Advantage of these useful Assistance Programs through the NIH SBIR Program (Available to all SBIR grantees)


From the NCI SBIR website:

The Niche Assessment Program is designed to help small businesses “jump start” their commercialization efforts. All active HHS (NIH, CDC, FDA) SBIR/STTR Phase I awardees and Phase I Fast-Track awardees (by grant or contract) are eligible to apply. Registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis!

The Niche Assessment Program provides market insight and data that can be used to help small businesses strategically position their technology in the marketplace. The results of this program can help small businesses develop their commercialization plans for their Phase II application, and be exposed to potential partners. Services are provided by Foresight Science & Technology of Providence, RI.

Technology Niche Analyses® (TNA®) are provided by Foresight, for one hundred and seventy-five (175), HHS SBIR/STTR Phase I awardees. These analyses assess potential applications for a technology and then for one viable application, it provides an assessment of the:

  1. Needs and concerns of end-users;
  2. Competing technologies and competing products;
  3. Competitive advantage of the SBIR/STTR-developed technology;
  4. Market size and potential market share (may include national and/or global markets);
  5. Barriers to market entry (may include but is not limited to pricing, competition, government regulations, manufacturing challenges, capital requirements, etc.);
  6. Market drivers;
  7. Status of market and industry trends;
  8. Potential customers, licensees, investors, or other commercialization partners; and,
  9. The price customers are likely to pay.

Commercialization Acceleration Program  (CAP)

From the NIH SBIR website:

NIH CAP is a 9-month program that is well-regarded for its combination of deep domain expertise and access to industry connections, which have resulted in measurable gains and accomplishments by participating companies. Offered since 2004 to address the commercialization objectives of companies across the spectrum of experience and stage, 1000+ companies have participated in the CAP. It is open only to HHS/NIH SBIR/STTR Phase II awardees, and 80 slots are available each year. The program enables participants to establish market and customer relevance, build commercial relationships, and focus on revenue opportunities available to them.

I-Corps Program

The I-Corps program provides funding, mentoring, and networking opportunities to help commercialize your promising biomedical technology. During this 8-week, hands-on program, you’ll learn how to focus your business plan and get the tools to bring your treatment to the patients who need it most.

Program benefits include:

  • Funding up to $50,000 to cover direct program costs
  • Training from biotech sector experts
  • Expanding your professional network
  • Building the confidence and skills to create a comprehensive business model
  • Gaining years of entrepreneurial skills in only weeks.


ICORPS is an Entrepreneurial Program (8 week course) to go out talk to customers, get assistance with business models, useful resource which can guide the new company where they should focus on for the commercialization aspect

THE NCI Applicant Assistance Program (AAP)

The SBIR/STTR Applicant Assistance Program (AAP) is aimed at helping eligible small R&D businesses and individuals successfully apply for Phase I SBIR/STTR funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Participation in the AAP will be funded by the NCI, NINDS, and NHLBI with NO COST TO PARTICIPANTS. The program will include the following services:

  • Needs Assessment/Small Business Mentoring
  • Phase I Application Preparation Support
  • Application Review
  • Team/Facilities Development
  • Market Research
  • Intellectual Property Consultation

For more details about the program, please refer to NIH Notice NOT-CA-18-072.


These programs are free for first time grant applicants and must not have been awarded previous SBIR

Peer Learning Webinar Series goal to improve peer learning .Also they are starting to provide Regulatory Assistance (see below)

NIH also provides Mentoring programs for CEOS and C level

Application tips

  1. Start early: and obtain letters of collaboration
  2. Build a great team: PI multi PI, consider other partners to fill gaps (academic, consultants, seasoned entrepreneurs (don’t need to be paid)
  3. They will pre review 1 month before due date, use NIH Project Reporter to view previous funded grants
  4. Specify study section in SF to specify areas of expertise for review
  5. Specific aims are very important; some of the 20 reviewers focus on this page (describes goals and milestones as well; spend as much time on this page as the rest of the application
  6. Letters of support from KOLs are important to have; necessary from consultants and collaborators; helpful from clinicians
  7. Have a phase II commercialization plan
  8. Note for non US clinical trials:  They will not fund nonUS clinical trials; the company must have a FWA
  9. SBIR budgets defined by direct costs; can request a 7% fee as an indirect cost; and they have a 5,000 $ technical assistance program like regulatory consultants but if requested can’t participate in NIH technical assistance programs so most people don’t apply for TAP


  • They are trying to change the definition of innovation as also using innovative methods (previously reviewers liked tried and true methodology)

10.  before you submit solicit independent readers

NCI SBIR can be found on Twitter @NCIsbir ‏

Discussion with Monique Pond, Ph.D. on Establishment of a Regulatory Assistance Program for NCI SBIR

I was able to sit down with Dr. Monique Pond,  AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow, Health Scientist within the NCI SBIR Development Center to discuss the new assistance program in regulatory affairs she is developing for the NCI SBIR program.  Dr Pond had received her PhD in chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University, completed a postdoctoral fellow at NIST and then spent many years as a regulatory writer and consultant in the private sector.  She applied through the AAAS for this fellowship and will bring her experience and expertise in regulatory affairs from the private sector to the SBIR program. Dr. Pond discussed the difficulties that new ventures have in formulating regulatory procedures for their companies, the difficulties in getting face time with FDA regulators and helping young companies start thinking about regulatory issues such as pharmacovigilence, oversight, compliance, and navigating the complex regulatory landscape.

In addition Dr. Pond discussed the AAAS fellowship program and alternative career paths for PhD scientists.


A formal interview will follow on this same post.


Other articles on this OPEN ACCESS JOURNAL on Funding for Startups and Early Ventures are given below:


Mapping Medical Device Startups Across The Globe per Funding Criteria

Funding Oncorus’s Immunotherapy Platform: Next-generation Oncolytic Herpes Simplex Virus (oHSV) for Brain Cancer, Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM)


Funding Opportunities for Cancer Research


Team Profile: DrugDiscovery @LPBI Group – A BioTech Start Up submitted for Funding Competition to MassChallenge Boston 2016 Accelerator


A Message from Faculty Director Lee Fleming on Latest Issue of Crowdfunding; From the Fung Institute at Berkeley


PROTOCOL for Drug Screening of 3rd Party Intellectual Property Presented for Funding Representation


Foundations as a Funding Source


The Bioscience Crowdfunding Environment: The Bigger Better VC?


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Tales from the Translational Frontier – Four Unique Approaches to Turning Novel Biology into Investable Innovations @BIOConvention #BIO2018


The translational pipeline of medical innovation that flows from academic research centers is at the heart of modern society’s ability to turn the explosion of biological discovery into transformative new medicines. A variety of different models have emerged to overcome the inherent challenges in identifying and advancing biological discoveries to a point where they become investable and can attract private sector partners capable of completing their development, regulatory approval and commercialization. However, most of these models involve academic medical centers, pharma companies and venture investors in the established biotech hubs.
This panel will explore how four distinctive programs that lie outside the flourishing ecosystems of the major biotech centers have been navigating the translational landscape and turning inventions into investable innovations.

Ability Level: All

Session ID: 21200


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