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What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Alphabetical order is always harder when the pressure is on.

© 2018 Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Get ya programs here.

© 2018 Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Broad Institute president Eric Lander kicked things off talking about the interconnectedness of the Boston biotech ecosystem. It’s critical that all of it---academia, venture firms, and scientific entrepreneurs---continues to thrive. Otherwise, “the whole thing shrivels up,” he said.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

This fellow (middle) wins the day’s award for most perfectly arranged pocket square.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What we all want to know is, what’s in that briefcase?

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

The all-important business card hand-off.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

A packed house settles in.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Come for the event, stay for the networking.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Thought you had a candid shot? Think again.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Insurers have been preparing for the arrival of gene therapy, but a lot of work has to be done for the U.S. healthcare system to successfully adapt. Harvard Pilgrim Health Care chief medical officer Michael Sherman (2nd from right) says we “need to solve for the budget impact” of gene therapies as more and more come to market, or risk situations in which patients who should get treated don’t get access.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Michael Sherman and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals president Barry Greene (right) getting a jump on discussing pricing models for Alnylam’s soon-to-be-approved RNA interference medicine, patisiran.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Remember to bring questions! We always leave some time for a few from the audience.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Here’s one from the back row.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

In case you’re wondering, the bathroom is that way.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) worked with Spark for two years to discuss Luxturna’s value before it was approved, but their views ultimately still differed. That speaks to ICER’s growing role as an independent drug pricing arbiter. “While it’s great that companies are recognizing there will be potentially difficult, intense value conversations, that doesn’t let them off the hook in terms of evidence generation,” said ICER's Dan Ollendorf (far left).

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

This is old school, expert notetaking right here.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Goldfinch Biopharma scientific founder Anna Greka (right) and Foghorn Therapeutics founder Cigall Kadoch having a laugh before their panel.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

From left: Anna Greka, Amy Schulman, Cigall Kadoch, and moderator Teresa Lavoie discussed the ups and downs of trying to be an academic-turned young scientific founder. These days, the pressure is on academics to translate ideas more than before. “We joke that sometimes with faculty, unless you make a startup you can’t get promoted,” Greka said.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Progress is being made in increasing the ranks of female scientific founders and executives, but there is a long way to go, said Amy Schulman. One key to improving gender equality in the life sciences: directly acknowledging and challenging unconscious bias when it rears its head.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Another new connection made.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography &; Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Dana-Farber clinicians have learned plenty of lessons about which patients might be best suited for CAR-T treatment and how they’ll respond, said oncologist Caron Jacobson. But the neurological side effects it can cause are less understood, and can be alarming to deal with. Some patients have trouble speaking, or seem like “nobody’s home.” “It’s tricky to get patients through this,” she said.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Tufts Medical Center, meanwhile, has yet to treat a commercial patient with CAR-T, said Andreas Klein. Tufts has been assembling the team and preparing doctors for the myriad issues that can arise, but it has taken time to figure out how it will absorb the costs of the pricey therapies. “Who is going to write that check?” he said.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Another top-level note taker.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Gene editing pioneer Feng Zhang noted that important work is being done to try to optimize CRISPR-based treatments so they can properly address diseases without causing unintended effects. “The FDA is working closely with drug developers to figure out the best way to bring the technology forward, but in a thoughtful way,” he said. “It’s a community effort.”

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Craig Mello (left) co-discovered RNA interference some two decades ago. With RNAi on the verge of its first approved drug and CRISPR just starting its first human clinical tests, it’s worth remembering the ups and downs RNAi had to go through. “CRISPR is where RNAi was 15 years ago,” Mello said.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

It took “about a decade and for us, about $1 billion” to figure out how to deliver large RNAi molecules safely and effectively into the liver, Alnylam's Barry Greene said. Both he and Craig Mello said the next frontier for RNAi therapeutics is delivering them to the brain. “We and academia are starting to see some positive signs” that it’s possible do that, Greene said.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Let the mingling commence.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Behold, wine.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Veggie spreads are even more nutritious in high-def.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Nobel laureate Craig Mello (right) amongst those sticking around for drinks after the show.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Boston event, Boston lager.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

What's Hot in Boston Biotech 2018

Cigall Kadoch possibly talking about the size of Foghorn’s first financing round.

Photo by: Keith Patankar Photography & Design

Xconomy Boston — 

CAR-T. Gene therapy. RNA interference. These aren’t just science experiments. They’re real, cutting-edge medicines either just on the market or soon to be. And the implications of their arrival was the focus of a few spirited discussions at Xconomy’s “What’s Hot in Boston Biotech” event last week at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA.

Today, we’re checking back with a small taste of the festivities through a slideshow and some takeaways, but first some thank-yous to everyone who made the event possible:

Thanks to our attendees and speakers. Thanks also to our event host, the Broad Institute, and our sponsors Fish & Richardson, ICON, Sanofi, and Ten Bridge Communications. And a hat tip to Keith Patankar for the pictures.

With that, hope you enjoy the photos and see you again next time!