On Nov. 20-21, 2019, STAT (www.statnews.com), a national news organization focused on finding and telling compelling stories from the frontiers of health and medicine, hosted its inaugural summit with 250 of the leading minds in the life sciences.
The two-day event featured panels on drug development, innovation in health care, scientific research, and other issues. The event was underwritten by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), with additional support from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Pfizer, Allogene Therapeutics, Amgen, Alkermes, Astellas, Sanofi, Bayer, Stealth BioTherapeutics, Vertex, and the National Pharmaceutical Council.
"We're proud that our summit produced so many thought-provoking conversations," said Matthew Herper, STAT's senior medicine writer and editorial director of events. "It was a fantastic day and a half, full of dramatic stories, trenchant insights, and memorable exchanges. It was amazing to get so many of medicine's most important players in one room, and to have a chance to talk about so many crucially important issues."
"We were excited to sponsor the first-ever STAT Summit convening biopharmaceutical researchers, policymakers, and patients to discuss the future of medical innovation," said Robert Zirkelbach, PhRMA's executive vice president of public affairs. "What we are seeing in biopharmaceutical laboratories across the country was considered science fiction just years ago. We need to advance practical policy reforms to make sure that the patients of today and tomorrow are able to access and afford these breakthroughs."
Dr. Al Sandrock, Biogen's executive vice president of research and development and chief medical officer, told the audience he believes the company's resurrected Alzheimer's therapy not only is effective but will mark the start of a new chapter for research. "This is the time for neuroscience," he said. "I know a lot of other companies may not feel that way."
Sandrock also said he was surprised that Biogen's decision to seek FDA approval for its therapy, aducanumab, had generated so much skepticism. "I do believe that the drug works," he said.
Other speakers included: Dr. Amy Abernethy, principal deputy commissioner and acting CIO of the Food and Drug Administration, who joined for a discussion about embracing technology, the promise (and limitations) of real-world data, CBD, and more; Dr. Giovanni Caforio, chairman and CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb, who spoke about his strategic plans for the company; Daniel O'Day, chairman and CEO of Gilead Sciences, who addressed the drug maker's moves into oncology; and Dr. Jeffrey Leiden, CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, who outlined his company's development of new cystic fibrosis drugs and newly released data on a CRISPR treatment for blood diseases.
Founded in 2015, STAT is a national digital media brand that focuses on delivering fast, deep, and tough-minded journalism about the life sciences industries to over 2 million readers each month. STAT takes you inside academic labs, biotech boardrooms, and political backrooms, casting a critical eye on scientific discoveries, scrutinizing corporate strategies, and chronicling the roiling battles for talent, money, and market share. With an award-winning newsroom, STAT provides indispensable insights and exclusive stories on the technologies, personalities, power brokers, and political forces driving massive changes in the life sciences industry ? and a revolution in human health.
STAT's main newsroom is located in Boston, with bureaus in Washington, New York, New Jersey, Cleveland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.