CRDN brings the RARE voice to major life sciences event
Cambridge Biotech week, 25th – 28th of June 2019, was a brand new festival of events launched by the Global Innovation Forum designed to accelerate scientific ideas and support investment and growth for companies in the field of life sciences.
Events took place across Cambridge and included the Health Horizons Future Healthcare Forum, the Milner Therapeutics Symposium, Digital Disruptors, Scaling up Success in Biotech hosted by One Nucleus and the Hong Kong Biotech Roadshow. As part of the two day Health Horizons Forum, Cambridge Rare Disease Network were honoured to host ‘Rare Disease Innovation and Collaboration’ at Corpus Christi College.
From left to right – Prof Tim Cox, Dr Rick Thompson, Patricia Durao-Lewi, Dr Tim Guilliams
Health Horizons is a high calibre, two-day conference focusing on the future of the healthcare industry. Over 100 hard-hitting speakers gathered to address this challenge and share their thoughts with a global audience. The Cambridge Independent shared their “Five things we learned at Health Horizons” summing up that “it’s all about being interdisciplinary”, “research needs to be translated”, “scientific co-creation can follow from serendipity” and “open innovation can accelerate progress”. Needless to say we were delighted to bring the conversation around to the development of treatments and cures for rare diseases and promote the patient voice as essential to these interdisciplinary and collaborative approaches.
As with all of our events, it’s great to have a broad range of stakeholders in attendance. A global audience of patient groups and rare disease advocates, industry, healthcare, research and technology professionals were in attendance to benefit from the thought-provoking presentations of our four speakers who are at the heart of innovative breakthroughs in therapies and technology. Delegates were able to share in their expertise in co-creating innovative solutions to some of rare disease’s most challenging healthcare issues. Presentations and Q+A were followed by a lively panel discussion moderated by CRDN Trustee Prof. Tim Cox.
The race to introduce new medicines, provide healthcare and stimulate investment often misses the point for patients at the centre of our network… Strong, forward-looking talks from all the speakers showed what can be achieved in true partnership – and how. Put simply: different means for each party needs to be understood if the common goal is to be achieved.
THE Presentations in a Nut-Shell
Professor Tim Cox – Professor of medicine and trustee of CRDN
What is it to be rare?
From the diagnostic odyssey still faced by patients with rare diseases to the rise of drug buyers clubs, Professor Cox discussed the current climate and how his belief in human connections and collaborative and combined thoughts and effort will have the greatest potential for solving the biggest challenges in rare disease drug development. Tim spoke with a passion and empathy which comes from many years of working closely with affected patients, their families and with patient groups.
Dr Tim Gulliams – CEO and Co-Founder of Healx
Drug repurposing for rare diseases: patient group partnerships at the heart of AI
Dr Tim Guilliams spoke passionately about the importance of collaborating with patient groups and how invaluable this has been in their work in drug repurposing. Tim described some of the huge leaps forward that the Cambridge-based start up company has made using AI and big data to find drug-repurposing options for 100 rare diseases by 2025. But his message was clear, that their partnerships with patient groups who can share their lived experience are vital to their success.
Patricia Durao-Lewi – Co-Founder of CATS Foundation
Patient organisations driving research: collaboration is the key
An inspirational presentation showing the sheer power of a united patient community. From being told they would never meet another Tay-Sachs patient to hosting their sixth European family conference and the creation of the European Tay-Sachs and Sandhoff Charity Consortium Patricia demonstrated how collaboration with other Tay-Sachs patient groups globally and a firm partnership with Prof Tim Cox and his team has allowed them to create a powerful and united narrative for Tay-Sachs and Sandhoff disease. Their purposeful and focussed collaborative approach has resulted in a comprehensive patient registry, successful funding bids and a promising research pipeline with clinical trial dates set for 2019 and 2020.