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Paying for Gene Therapy, CRISPR in People, RNAi at “What’s Hot” on May 16

Xconomy Boston — 

A new age of medicine is underway, and we’re only just beginning to grapple with the implications.

The first U.S. gene therapy, for a rare form of vision loss, is now on the market. In 2017, the FDA also approved the first two CAR-T cell therapies for cancer, the first cancer drug based on a genetic signature, and the first smartphone app to treat substance abuse. The first medicine using RNA interference is likely on the way soon, and human tests of the gene editing technology CRISPR-Cas9 are just beginning. Cancer immunotherapy continues to progress, with more than 1,000 combinations of various treatments advancing through clinical testing.

All of this change presents new challenges for both the biopharma industry and the U.S. healthcare system: How will payers handle these newer, longer-lasting treatments, and possibly numerous expensive cancer drug combinations? Will there finally be a drug price reckoning as new therapies push costs higher, and will biopharma adapt with innovative payment models? How will the biotech community deal will the inevitable bumps in the road that emerge for CRISPR-Cas9 as trials progress?

These issues—and some of the industry’s other hot-button topics—are at the heart of this year’s version of Xconomy’s annual event, “What’s Hot in Boston Biotech,” at The Broad Institute on May 16. We’re bringing together a diverse group of speakers, from Nobel Laureate Craig Mello to famed geneticist Eric Lander, to hold a series of interactive chats, in a variety of different formats, on many issues affecting the life sciences in Boston and beyond.

You can grab your tickets here, and check out the speaker lineup thus far here—be sure to check back for updates. See you all in May at the Broad.