Cancer Moonshot and Genomics – San Francisco, Jan. 24

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Cancer Moonshot and Genomics – San Francisco, Jan. 24

The first event of 2017 for San Francisco’s Health Technology Forum Chapter was Cancer Moonshot and Genomics. This event was hosted graciously by Hogan Lovells, at their beautiful complex in the Menlo Park, CA. The idea of this event was to explore genomics in relation to the Cancer Moonshot set out by President Obama. The goal of the Moonshot was to accelerate Cancer research, so our goal was to get some prominent and influential minds in genomics together to discuss the reality of this moonshot, to strategize about cancer and genomics, and to explore movement at the forefront of genomics in today’s precision medicine. With full stomachs and curious minds, we dove into the night’s topics.

Hogan Lovell’s staff provided great service and a beautiful setup for the night’s panel
and what’s a Meetup without some fantastic food?

The panel was moderated by Sunil Maulik:

Sunil is an investor and advisor and has over twenty years of experience in Silicon Valley. He has co-founded three companies. He facilitated the time given for each presentation and helped direct and facilitate the Q & A session at the conclusion of the panel.

The panel consisted of 5 speakers:

[1] Michael Snyder was our first speaker. Michael is the Director of the Center of Genomics and Personalized Medicine at Stanford. He gave us a glimpse into the genomics and the rest of the “-omics” technologies. He explained that two key approaches are becoming particularly important in cancer omics, immunotherapy and vaccination. Those along with data-sharing, can have vastly positive influences on where medicine stands in relation to the Cancer Moonshot. There is a massive amount of potential within the omics, and we certainly look forward to seeing the waves Snyder and the rest of Stanford makes as we move onwards into the bright future of medicine.

On the web: Snyder Lab

[2] Next, we had Darren Leva, a Senior Account Manager at Seven Bridges Genomics. He enjoys the dichotomy of an entrepreneur and corporate cubical dweller. He dove into Seven Bridges’ role in Genomics, as a platform that strives to gather a massive amount of genomics and cancer-related data, in order to provide that data to researchers and medical professionals globally. The generation of this data lies at the foundation of a data-driven approach to tackling the Cancer Moonshot.

On the web: Seven Bridges

[3] Our third speaker, Emma Huang, is Associate Scientific Director of Janssen R&D, a Johnson & Johnson company. She talked about the difficulties of biological statistics that can stand in the way of accomplishing the larger moonshot goals. We are now good at grabbing large amounts of data, but the real question is, how to derive value from that data. Her organization is hammering out the details and diving into the data in order to answer that important question.

On the web: Janssen

[4] Next up was Gabriel Otte, the CEO and Co-Founder of Freenome. He told us about the strange problem in biotech: that not a lot of biotech engineers are actually good at developing software. But an even bigger problem is that Cancer treatments give roughly a 30%–40% success rate. Freenome looks to improve this through markedly better tests (and test results). The data Gabriel showed us seems to posit that Freenome is headed in exactly that direction.

On the web: Freenome

[5] Finally, we had Mark Jacobstein, who is the Chief User Engagement Officer for Guardant Health. Mark enlightened us on the progress being made in liquid biopsies by Guardant, liquid biopsies being particularly underestimated in their utility, as Mark says. As genomics expands, as useful data blossoms and as we all find a way to turn a way to turn numbers into real-world change, we look forward to seeing the dent liquid biopsies might make in the Cancer Moonshot.

On the web: Guardant Health

This event was particularly informative and we were lucky to be enlightened in the field of genomics by this fantastic group of speakers. We will be keeping a close eye on the progress in this field as it develops and look to continue facilitating discussions like this regularly.

We look forward to seeing everyone at our next event!

The Health Technology Forum Team

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