MIT Cancer Research Star Tyler Jacks Takes Closing Keynote Role at Xconomy Forum

9/28/10Follow @xconomy

We like to sweeten the pot around here, adding world-class speakers to our Xconomy Forums every chance we get. And today I’m psyched to announce that Tyler Jacks, a world-renowned scientist and director of the David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, will be joining us as the closing keynote speaker at our upcoming event on October 20 titled “Boston’s War on Cancer.”

Jacks has deep connections and insight into both science and business. Since 2007, he has been spearheading the Koch Institute—a new effort to bring the scientific and engineering brainpower at MIT to bear on improving the state of the art in cancer diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment. Jacks is a leader among his peers, as a past president of the American Association for Cancer Research, and a new member of the National Academy of Sciences. And he’s no stranger to the business side of life sciences, and what it takes to make a valuable product. Jacks is on the board of Waltham, MA-based Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE: TMO), and serves as a scientific advisor to a couple of Cambridge, MA-based drug developers—Epizyme and Aveo Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AVEO).

This is just the latest stellar addition to an already loaded lineup of speakers. Deborah Dunsire of Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company will get things started with a brief overview of trends she sees in cancer drug development. We will hear from some of New England’s leading entrepreneurs taking lots of different tacks in the fight against cancer. The group includes Doug Fambrough of Dicerna Therapeutics, speaking on the field of RNA interference drugs; Mark Goldsmith of Constellation Pharmaceuticals, on epigenetics; and Dave Okrongly of Quanterix, on new diagnostics made to spot early signs of cancer in a drop of blood.

In between, we’ll hear from a distinguished panel of people who know what it takes to drive a promising drug candidate through the long and expensive journey of clinical trials. This group includes Tuan Ha-Ngoc, the CEO of Cambridge-based Aveo Pharmaceuticals; Adelene Perkins, CEO of Cambridge’s Infinity Pharmaceuticals; Alexis Borisy, the CEO of Foundation Medicine and a partner with Boston’s Third Rock Ventures; and Nancy Simonian, the chief medical officer of Millennium’s global cancer development operation. Xconomy’s national life sciences columnist, Sylvia Pagan Westphal, will moderate.

I’m personally flying in from the West Coast to be the emcee, and I’m really looking forward to seeing all these folks and a lot of our readers that I seldom get to meet in person. So mark your calendars, and register now if you haven’t already. See you on October 20.

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