Day 1 :
Golden Helix Inc., USA
Time : 10:00-10:45
Andreas Scherer is the CEO of Golden Helix. He is also Managing Partner of Salto Partners, a management consulting firm headquartered in the DC metro area. He has extensive experience in managing growth as well as orchestrating complex turn-around situations. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from University of Hagen, Germany and a Master of Computer Science from University of Dortmund, Germany. He is author and co-author of over 20 international publications and has written books on project management, the internet and artificial intelligence. His latest book, “Be Fast or Be Gone”, is a prize winner in the 2012 Eric Hoffer Book Awards competition and has been named as finalist in the 2012 Next Generation India Book Awards.
Almost 2500 years ago, Hippocrates captured one of the key principles underlying precision medicine. In the 21st century we take the understanding of the individual characteristics of a person to a new level. By leveraging information about an individual’s genome we are able to increase the effectiveness of medical treatments. The goal is to have more successful outcomes by providing targeted therapies. The cost of sequencing a genome has dramatically dropped since the first draft of the human genome sequence was published in 2001. This is a key enabler. Now, it is very much in reach for a wide range of patients to receive a gene panel analysis or even a whole exome/genome analysis. But there is more that is required. Through a collaborative effort between clinicians, pharma companies, scientists and regulatory agencies we are working on a new framework for standard care on a global basis. This talk will discuss the components that will facilitate the power of precision medicine. Now, the concept of Precision Medicine is not new. Medical practice has always been about treating each individual patient. Clinicians are very familiar with the fact that different patients respond differently to specific treatments. What is new is that the advances in the field of genomics offer a new ways to develop targeted therapies, diagnose patients and predict who will respond favorably from those targeted therapies. Since the approval of Kalydeco (ivacaftor) on January 31, 2012 by the FDA to help cystic fibrosis patients with G551D mutation, the FDA has approved a number of so called targeted therapies primarily in the cancer space: crizotinib, vemaurafinib, dabrafenib and treminib – each have been approved for use in patients with a particular tumor profile. Precision Medicine is well on its way. This generation experiences a paradigm shift in medicine. Clinicians, empowered by state of the art bioinformatics pipelines can make better informed and more targeted decisions. Patients benefit from individualized treatment plans and better clinical outcomes. There is still a lot to do.
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Germany
Time : 10:45-11:30
Hans Lehrach has obtained his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine and the MPI for Biophysical Chemistry in 1974. He has then moved on to Harvard University, Boston (1974-1978) and became Group Leader at EMBL, Heidelberg (1978-1987). He then moved to the Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London (1987-1994) to become Head of the Genome Analysis Department. In 1994 he has returned to Germany to become Director at the MPI for Molecular Genetics (1994-2014). He has founded several biotechnology companies such as Sequana Therapeutics, GPC Biotech, Scienion, [email protected], PSF Biotech and Atlas Biolabs. He is the Founder of the Berlin-based company Alacris Theranostics GmbH, specializing in the development of new approaches for personalized medicine for cancer patient diagnosis, treatment and drug stratification. In 2010 he founded the non-for-profit research institute Dahlem Centre for Genome Research and Medical Systems Biology.
Every patient is different. In particular, every tumor is different. Even subgroups of tumor cells can react differently to specific therapies, due to the heterogeneity of many tumors. Drug therapies therefore typically only help a fraction of patients; many patients do not respond with some suffering sometimes severe side effects of ineffective treatments. The ability to identify effects and possible side effects of different drugs on individual patients will, in our view, require highly detailed molecular analyses of every individual patient and his/her individual disease; data that is integral to generating individualized computer models, which can then be used to test the effects of drugs (or other therapies) on the individual. This will, on one hand, provide a basis for a truly personalized selection of therapies optimal for the individual patient, first in cancer patients but increasingly also in other areas of medicine and prevention. It will, however, also open the way to an increasing virtualization of the drug development process, by e.g., virtual clinical trials of drug candidates carried out throughout the development process.