MIT Biomedical Innovation Forum to address the future of vaccines and central nervous system disorders through the lens of personalized medicine

Unveiling of 2006 biotechnology cluster map to follow during 5th Annual Celebration of Biotechnology in Kendall Square

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 27, 2006 — Vaccine development and personalized medicine promise numerous medical innovations. But the pathways to progress are marked by a need to identify and address a range of public policy, value chain, investment, and research-related issues.

On Thursday, Aug. 17, Collaborative Innovation in Action, a free, two-part Biomedical Innovation Forum at MIT, will highlight new trends and the resulting challenges facing these two areas. The afternoon program on personalized medicine focuses on emerging research relating to the central nervous system (CNS), which, until now, has largely been absent in discussions of and research activities around personalized medicine. This program will include:

  • Perspectives on CNS drug discovery and development
  • The FDA's “critical path” and the future regulation of CNS drugs
  • The role of a standardized brain database in personalized medicine
  • The clinical practice of personalized neurology and psychiatry

The morning program on vaccines offers in-depth case studies with important implications for society's ability to respond to potential global pandemics such as avian bird flu and HIV, as well as bioterrorist attacks. Highlights will include:

  • Case studies — ROTARIX® and Malaria: The Ancora Story
  • Vaccines: opportunities and barriers across the value chain
  • Relevant considerations in planning for potential global pandemics and bioterrorism

Hosted by the MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation, the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology, and in collaboration with the Personalized Medicine Coalition and the New England Healthcare Institute, the Forum will allow diverse biopharma players from industry, academia, and government to share their individual perspectives and concerns along with case studies presented by noted researchers and practitioners.

Slated presenters include:

  • Frank Douglas, PhD, MD, executive director of the MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation
  • Una Ryan, PhD, CEO of Avant Immunotherapeutics, Inc.
  • John Pena, PhD, president of Ancora Pharmaceuticals

Also participating is William Egan, PhD, who, until his retirement last year, spent 28 years as acting director of the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Vaccines Research and Review. Thought-leaders from various biotechnology sectors will take part in additional panel discussions.

The unveiling of the 2006 map of the Great Kendall Square biotechnology cluster follows these sessions during the 5th Annual Celebration of Biotechnology in Kendall Square. The cluster map charts the growth and concentration of biotechnology enterprises in the MIT/Kendall Square area with a focus on, and celebration of, the strong academic/business relationships between MIT and the biotech community.

Hosted by the organizers of the Forum, this “bio bash” will provide an opportunity for the region's biotechnology community to meet, network and celebrate accomplishments during the past year. Refreshments and hot hors d'oeuvres will be served.

“This year we celebrate biotechnology by focusing on vaccines and personalized medicine, which epitomize the scientific and public policy challenges in healthcare,” says Frank Douglas, PhD, MD, executive director of the MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation. “The good news is that collaboration amongst the experts in academia, industry and government, not only in the Cambridge/Boston area, but globally, will realize the promise of the science we celebrate today.”

There is no cost to attend either event, but online reservations are required. Forum attendees will automatically be able to take part in the evening Biotechnology Celebration.

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